The inaugural African Human Computer Interaction Conference (AfriCHI) is being held in Nairobi. The idea for an Africa-wide Human Computer interaction (HCI) was conceived with an aim of developing a sustainable forum for local expertise in Human Computer Interaction and Interaction Design in Africa. For this conference, AfriCHI has brought together participants from Africa and others from 7 countries outside Africa.

Representing the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of ICT at the Conference, Permanent Secretary for Broadcasting and Telecommunication Sammy Itemere noted that the diverse representation in AfriCHI and urged those present to use that opportunity to expand their research networks to ensure that Africa remains in the realm of the cutting edge of technology.

“It is important to note that the next frontier in development will be in the field of Technological applications and so this being a Computer-Human interaction conference, it is imperative that attendees continue to ensure that the research and development take cognizance of the user requirements especially those still left out of the digital revolution Majority of Africans still have inadequate technological and general infrastructure such as electricity. Therefore, there is need to provide solutions that are usable and useful in these contexts” he said.

Through AfriCHI, African researchers, practitioners, students and teachers should be inspired to deepen and extend interaction design and HCI research on/about/ in Africa. Kenya was chosen as the inaugural center for AfriCHI due to its great interest in digital development. The conference is being hosted by the University of Nairobi.

To reflect the location and ethos of AfriCHI, the Kiswahili conference theme ‘Kujenga madaraja, Kubomoa vizuizi’ means ‘Building bridges, Breaking barriers’ in English. Some of these bridges are also about making research, design, methods, tools and pedagogies already being seen in Africa, more visible within Africa and to the international HCI community.
By: Carol Sakwa, November 24th, 2016.