Abstract

With the wide penetration of mobile internet, social networking (SN) systems are becoming increasingly popular in the developing world. However, most SN sites are text heavy, and are therefore unusable by low-literate populations. Here we ask what would an SN application for low-literate users look like and how would it be used? We designed and deployed KrishiPustak, an audio-visual SN mobile application for low-literate farming populations in rural India. Over a four month deployment, 306 farmers registered through the phones of eight agricultural mediators making 514 posts and 180 replies. We conducted interviews with farmers and mediators and analyzed the content to understand system usage and to drive iterative design. The context of mediated use and agricultural framing had a powerful impact on system understanding (what it was for) and usage. Overall, KrishiPustak was useful and usable, but none-the-less we identify a number of design recommendations for similar SN systems.