water hyacinth

Designing in a Cross-Cultural Context: Lessons Learned

Kara Pecknold at VanUE PresentationHave you ever been asked to do something only to discover it's not the best way to deal with the situation? Throw in a language barrier and you have the situation Kara Pecknold found herself in in early 2008. As part of her thesis project she took an internship to develop a website for a Rwandan weavers cooperative. After observing the situation firsthand she experienced a mind shift. In her presentation: Designing in a Cross-Cultural Context: Lessons Learned, given to the Vancouver User Experience (VanUE) group on March 16, 2010, Pecknold told the story.

The Covaga is a women's weaving cooperative in Rwanda that extracts weaving fibre from the water hyacinth and turns it into a product. The water hyacinth is an invasive species, so its harvesting and subsequent use as weaving fibre serves a dual useful purpose. The goal of Pecknold's internship was to design a website to facilitate the sales of these woven goods to the world.

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