RTD2015 19 RootIO - Platform Design for Civic Media

RootIO is a civic media platform and research project in the context of rural farming communities in Uganda. The RootIO project draws from prior work in Civic Media, the design of public goods and information services for communities rather than individuals. This project presents the additional challenge of designing a participatory community information platform in a relatively low literacy, low income area with little access to ICTs. Unlike many “development” projects, it focuses on local peer production rather than top-down “behavior change” messaging. RootIO is in active development and prototype FM stations will go on air in 2015: what follows is a prospective exploration and report of current and future work. RootIO is being developed with an open-ended and iterative method, where use and failure can be tracked and analyzed in real-time.

We begin the paper by defining the context and background of the RootIO project, then present our research goals in building the system. We then discuss some of the methodological techniques that inform our design, including civic media and platform design. Finally, we will introduce the RootIO project. Our submission to the exhibition is a functioning FM “microstation” design of the sort deployed in rural Uganda.