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Dimensioning cultural diversity in eServices architectures

Mamello Thinyane (Computer Science Department, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa)
Alfredo Terzoli (Computer Science Department, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 16 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the development of a culturally sensitive and end‐user‐centric software architectural framework for the development of eService applications in information and communication technologies for development (ICTD) contexts. The research is undertaken within the Siyakhula Living Lab (SLL) in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

Action research is the approach undertaken in this research with an extensive literature review to inform the development of the architecture, which is later qualitatively and quantitavely validated.

Findings

Various factors have to be taken into consideration for technology solutions to be effective in their context of deployment. The authors have provided an architecture that intrinsically enables software solutions to be developed from the ground up with concern for flexibility for context sensitivity. The PIASK architecture separates the presentation, interaction, access, social networking and knowledge base components into five distinct functional layers. This architecture is validated for: technical viability through a development of a knowledge portal in SLL; cultural sensitivity through Dooyeweerd's theory of modal aspects; and user centricity using a SALUTA‐based evaluation.

Practical implications

The successful evolution of any society towards a knowledge society is predicated on technology solutions that embrace and that are sensitive to the socio‐cultural diversity of that society. The PIASK architecture developed in this research is a tool that can be used in the realization of services and applications for ICTD contexts in South Africa and other third‐world countries.

Originality/value

The software architecture developed specifically for ICTD contexts to encapsulate context sensitivity and user centricity is the primary and novel contribution of this research.

Keywords

Citation

Thinyane, M. and Terzoli, A. (2011), "Dimensioning cultural diversity in eServices architectures", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 322-339. https://doi.org/10.1108/13287261111164880

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited