Microsoft Research:How do people engage with PCs, the first time?

Microsoft Research India’s, Technology for Emerging Markets Group have identified particular patterns of use, content choice, and learning that accompany the adoption of the Internet connected PC by novice users at the workplace for low-income office workers.

Given that most of us have encountered PCs from the time we were in school or college, it may be difficult to think of what it was like to discover the PC for the first time! But most adults in countries like India are new to PCs, and usually view it as a rather intimidating device.

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Inspired by the premise of the Hole-in-the-Wall experiments for children, he Technology for Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research India, have been running a project called Kelsa+ that allows unrestricted and unmediated access to a shared Internet-connected PC at the workplace for low-income office workers.

For instance, many users actively prefer to use the PC in a group, either because they consider a peer to be the informal instructor as he demonstrates how an application is used, or because the content accessed is meant for group consumption.

Or that, Users most often call on various operations using the right-click menu, rather than double-clicking on a particular application or using the menu options in the toolbar.

These workers have an average class 10 education in the local language often from a rural government school, are aged approximately 26 years, and are male. In the process of observing their usage of the PC, they have discovered that there are particular patterns of usage, content choice, and learning that accompany the adoption of the PC by novice users from this demographic.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. He enjoys following and reporting Microsoft news and developments in the world of Personal Computing & Social Media.

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