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2011 Publications


Published Journal Papers


Bidwell, Nicola J, Winschiers-Theophilus, H, Koch Kapuire, G, Chivuno-Kuria, S. Situated Interactions Between Audiovisual Media & African Herbal LorePersonal & Ubiquitous Computing. Personal Ubiquitous Computing (2011) 15(6):609–627. 

We describe an African rural community’s interactions in recording and interpreting video on herb lore in our endeavours to design digital systems that extend sharing knowledge in a system of Traditional Medicine (TM). Designing for such a system involves reflecting on own narratives about medicine and media and recognising that narratives reflect “cultural logics” and media transforms narratives. We used video as sites to: explore meaning-making in herb lore; anchor our dialogic with, and about users; and, elicit design ideas. Participants’ prioritize speech, gesture and bodily interaction, above visual context, and recordings can embody nuances in social relations and depict temporal patterns that are integral to TM pedagogy. However such embodiments, depictions and patterns are disrupted by affordances of, and associations with, media; by abstracting; and, by non-local ontologies, such as chronologic or geographic point-based representation. Our insights can produce new design patterns by orienting us towards representing herb lore within the social-relational spaces that contextualise knowing, doing and moving, linked to corporeal and felt-experiences. More generally, uncovering transformations when media and narrative interact can improve analysis and designing for logics and literacies that profoundly differ from those typifying ubicomp.



Bidwell, Nicola J, Winschiers-Theophilus, H.,; Koch Kapuire, G.;  Rehm, M. 2011. Pushing Personhood into Place: Situating Media in Rural Knowledge in AfricaInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 69, 10 (2011) 618–631, ISSN: 1071-5819.

Designing interactions with technologies that are compatible with rural wisdom and skills can help to digitally enfranchise rural people and, thus, contribute to community cohesion in the face of Africa’s urbanization. Oral information has been integral to rural identity and livelihood in Africa for generations. However, the use of technology can inadvertently displace the knowledge of communities with practices that differ from the knowledge traditions in which technology is designed. We propose that devices that are sensitive to users’ locations, combined with platforms for social networking and user-generated content, offer intriguing opportunities for rural communities to extend their knowledge practices digitally. In this paper we present insights on the way rural people of the Herero tribe manage information spatially and temporally during some of our design activities in Namibia. We generated these insights from ethnography and detailed analysis of interactions with media in our ongoing Ethnographic Action Research. Rural participants had not depicted their wisdom graphically by photography or video before, rarely use writing materials and some cannot read. Thus, we gathered 30 h of observer-and participant-recorded video and participants’ interpretations and interactions with thumbnail photos from video, photography and paper. We describe insights into verbal and bodily interactions and relationships between bodies, movements, settings, knowledge and identity. These findings have made us more sensitive to local experiences of locations and more aware of assumptions about space and time embedded in locative media. As a result, we have started to adopt an approach that emphasizes connectors rather than points and social–relational and topokinetic rather than topographic spaces. In the final section of the paper we discuss applying this approach in design by responding to the ways that participants use social relationships to orient information and use voice, gesture and movement to incorporate locations into this ‘‘dialogic’’. In conclusion we outline why we hope our reflections will inspire others to examine the spatial, temporal and social affordances of technologies within the bonds of rural, and other, communities. 



Reitmaier, T,  Bidwell, Nicola J,  Marsden, G.   Situating digital storytelling within African communities . International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 69, 10 (2011) 658–668, ISSN: 1071-5819, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2010.12.008.

We reflect on the methods, activities and perspectives we used to situate digital storytelling in two rural African communities in South Africa and Kenya. We demonstrate how in-depth ethnography in a village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and a design workshop involving participants from that village allowed us to design a prototype mobile digital storytelling system suited to the needs of rural, oral users. By leveraging our prototype as a probe and observing villagers using it in two villages in South Africa and Kenya, we uncovered implications for situating digital storytelling within those communities. Finally, we distil observations relevant to localizing storytelling and their implications for transferring design into a different community.


Indira Padyachee, Paula Kotze, Alta van der Merwe. 2011. Course Management Systems from a Usability Perspective. Alternation, Vol 18, No 1, 2011, 297-317.

The advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web has revolutionised practices in business, government, health, and education amongst others. In education, the Internet and World Wide Web opened new doors for teaching and learning, thereby affording educators an opportunity to deploy new teaching, learning and administration strategies and affording learners a rich learning experience. In South African higher education institutions, course management systems (CMSs) have been adopted, and are becoming increasingly popular among academics. However, much attention has been focused on the technology, namely the functionalities and tools offered by CMSs. Very little effort has been directed at understanding the usability properties of this class of software and the impact it may have on adoption of this type of software. This paper focuses on the evaluation of selected CMSs used in higher education by using specific usability criteria and principles as the basis for the evaluation. This usability inspection method is termed heuristic evaluation, which is performed ‘as a systematic inspection of a user interface design for usability’ (Nielsen, 2005). Results pertaining to the heuristic evaluation of the selected CMSs will be discussed. This paper is part of a larger study that aims at generating knowledge about the interactive properties of CMSs.


Published Peer-reviewed Conference Papers



Mariana Carroll, Paula Kotzé, Alta van der Merwe. 2011. Secure Virtualization: Benefits, Risks and Controls. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science, edited by Frank Leymann, Ivan Ivanov, Marten van Sinderen and Boris Shishkov, SciTePress, ISBN: 978-989-8425-52-2,  p. 15 – 23.

Cloud computing is changing the IT delivery model to provide on-demand self-service access to a shared pool of computing resources (physical and virtual) via broad network access to offer reduced costs, scalability, flexibility, capacity utilization, higher efficiencies, and mobility. In many instances cloud computing builds on the capabilities of a virtualized computing infrastructure enabling multi-tenancy, scalability and a highly abstracted cloud model. Even though cloud computing provides compelling benefits and cost effective options for IT hosting and expansion, security of applications and data remains a number one business objective. It is therefore essential to not only ensure adequate security for cloud computing but also for the underlying technologies enabling cloud computing.  Management should understand and analyse risks in order to safeguard systems and data. The focus of this paper is on mitigation for virtualization security risks as a fundamental step towards secure cloud computing environments. A draft version of the paper is available here.



Dina Jacobs, Paula Kotze, Alta van der Merwe, Aurona Gerber. 2011. Enterprise Architecture for Small and Medium Enterprise Growth. In: Advances in Enterprise Engineering V - First Enterprise Engineering Working Conference (EEWC 2011), edited by Antonia Albani, Jan L G Dietz, and Jan Verelst, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, ISBN: 978-3-642-21057-0, P 61 -75.

 A key constraint for growing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is the business skills required to grow the enterprises through the stages of transformation. Criticism against growth stage models for SMEs is of concern, since these models contain the typical knowledge that appeals to managers of small enterprises as guidance in how to manage growth. In this article we propose the SMEAG model to explore the relevance of enterprise architecture (EA) for enhancing existing growth stage models in order to counteract some of this criticism. EA is well-known as a field that claims to manage change and complexity. The rationale to combine the concepts of growth stage models and EA is based on the level of change and complexity associated with the growth of small enterprises into medium enterprises. SMEAG combines the existing growth stage model of Scott and Bruce, the Enterprise Architecture Framework by Hoogervorst, and the EA as Foundation for Business Execution Model by Ross, Weill and Robertson. A draft version of the paper is available here.



Rubina Adam, Paula Kotze, Alta van der Merwe. 2011. Acceptance of enterprise resource planning systems by small manufacturing Enterprises. In: In: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems, Vol.1, edited by Runtong Zhang, José Cordeiro, Xuewei Li, Zhenji Zhang and Juliang Zhang,  SciTePress. , p. 229 - 238 ISBN 978-989-8425-53-9.

ERP systems are widely used by large enterprises for managing functional areas of the enterprise. However, recently ERP systems have also been introduced to the small enterprise market. ERP systems are now considered an important small enterprise management aid that may contribute to the sustainability and growth of the small enterprise. Although there are several acceptance factors that may impact on the acceptance of ERP systems, limited research has been done to understand the acceptance of ERP systems by small enterprises. This paper addresses this gap by considering the strategic, business, technical and human factors that influence the acceptance of ERP systems in small manufacturing enterprises in South Africa. The consultative list of acceptance factors flowing from this research may guide future initiatives aiming to ensure the acceptance of ERP systems by small manufacturing enterprises. A draft version of the paper is available here.  



Bidwell Nicola J., Lalmas, N., Marsden, G., Dlutu, B., Ntlangano, S., Manjingolo, A.,Tucker, W.D.,  Jones, R.  Robinson, S., EVartiainen E., and Klampanos, I.  2011. Please call ME.N.U4EVER: Designing for ‘Callback’ in Rural Africa. In: Designing for Global Markets 10. IWIPS 2011. Xth International Workshop on Internationalisation of Products and Systems. 117 – 138.

Designers and developers are naïve about the ways impoverished people in rural Africa innovate new uses of mobile technology to circumvent access difficulties. Here, we report on the local appropriation of an USSD ‘Callback’ service in a rural community in South Africa’s Eastern Cape which enables people to send free text messages and includes strategies that respond to severe constraints on message length and local communication protocols. This report shows that a participative approach, in which community members co-generate methods and interpret data, elicits major and formerly unreported findings. We describe the results of two sets of interviews about the use of cell-phones and Callback locally and the implications of this use for designing and realizing a media-sharing system. Our findings indicate that the community needs: a system to charge phones and share media without consuming airtime; and, functionality for the 70-80% of people who do not own phones or high-end phones. Use of Callback suggests people will manage a system to create, store and share content at a local ‘station’ but notify others about content using separate networks. Callback-use reveals priorities that shape: the meaning of usability and utility locally; the ways people manage sequences of communication; and, the ‘rules’ that enable people to use Callback appropriately for multiple purposes and make sense of Callbacks despite ambiguity. These priorities inform introducing a prototype system and contribute to exploring the communication patterns that might subsequently evolve.



Mariana Carroll, Paula Kotze, Alta van der Merwe. 2011. Secure Cloud Computing: Benefits, Risks and Controls. Proceedings of the 2011 Information Security for South Africa (ISSA 2011) Conference, IEEE, ISBN 978-1-4577-1482-5 (electronic paper - no page numbers).

Cloud computing presents a new model for IT service delivery and it typically involves over-a-network, on-demand, self-service access, which is dynamically scalable and elastic, utilising pools of often virtualized resources. Through these features, cloud computing has the potential to improve the way businesses and IT operate by offering fast start-up, flexibility, scalability and cost efficiency. Even though cloud computing provides compelling benefits and cost-effective options for IT hosting and expansion, new risks and opportunities for security exploits are introduced. Standards, policies and controls are therefore of the essence to assist management in protecting and safeguarding systems and data. Management should understand and analyse cloud computing risks in order to protect systems and data from security exploits. The focus of this paper is on mitigation for cloud computing security risks as a fundamental step towards ensuring secure cloud computing environments. A draft version of the paper is available here.



Rodil, K.,  Winschiers-Theophilus, H., Bidwell Nicola J.,  Eskildsen S, Rehm M,  Koch Kapuire G., 2011. A New Visualization Approach to Re-Contextualize Indigenous Knowledge in Rural Africa. Proceedings of Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2011: 13th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, September 5-9, 2011, Proceedings, Part I; edited by Pedro Campos, Nicholas Graham, Joaquim Jorge, Nuno Nunes, Philippe Palanque, and Marco Winckler,  Springer  LNCS 6947, p. 297 ff, ISBN 978-3-642-23773-7.

Current views of sustainable development recognize the importance of accepting the Indigenous Knowledge (IK) of rural people. However, there is an increasing technological gap between Elder IK holders and the younger generation and a persistent incompatibility between IK and the values, logics and literacies embedded, and supported by ICT. Here, we present an evaluation of new technology that might bridge generations and preserve key elements of local IK in Namibia. We describe how we applied insights, generated by ethnographic, dialogical and participatory action research, in designing a structure in which users can store, organize and retrieve user-generated videos in ways that are compatible with their knowledge system. The structure embeds videos in a scenario-based 3D visualization of a rural village. It accounts for some of the ways this rural community manages information, socially, spatially and temporally and provides users with a recognizable 3D simulated environment in which to re-contextualize de-contextualized video clips. Our formative in situ evaluation of a prototype suggests the visualization is legible to community members, provokes participation in design discussions, offers opportunities for local appropriation and may facilitate knowledge sharing between IK holders and more youthful IK assimilators. Simultaneously differing interpretations of scenarios and modeled objects reveal the limitations of our modeling decisions and raises various questions regarding graphic design details and regional transferability.



Andrew Smith, Lizette Reitsma, Elise van der Hoven, Paula Kotzé. 2011. Towards Preserving Indigenous Oral Stories using Tangible Objects. Proceedings Second International Conference on Culture and Computing - Culture and Computing 2011 Conference, IEEE Computer Soceity Press, ISBN 978-0-7695-4546-2.

Handcrafted beadwork produced by the BaNtwane people of South Africa is loaded with meaning. Communicating indigenous oral stories is important for passing on culturespecific traditions and community memory, such as the meaning of the handcrafted beadwork. Oral stories are told within the physical confines of the community. The community we focus on in this paper suffers from younger generations moving away physically, start preferring the English language over their mother tongue and digital over oral communication, and therefore this co-located storytelling process is interrupted. Aspart of the StoryBeads project we have created an interactive system that incorporates a combination of physical objects and modern technology for recording and replaying oral stories that can help preserve the meaning of the handcrafted beadwork of the BaNtwane people. A draft version of the paper is available here.



Marne de Vries, Alta van der Merwe, Paula Kotze and Aurona Gerber. 2011. A Method for Identifying Process Reuse Opportunities to Enhance the Operating Model.   In: The IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management IEEM 2011, ISBN: 978-1-4577-0739-1, p. 1005 - 1009.

 Staying competitive in the 21st century requires enterprise unity and integration, allowing for agility to accommodate swift changes in strategy as markets evolve and new opportunities emerge. The foundation for execution approach acknowledges the volatility of strategy and suggests the use of an operating model (OM), which is a commitment to a way of doing business. The OM creates a company-wide vision for process standardization and data centralization and guides decisions about how a company implements processes and IT infrastructure. Although the OM provides senior management with a powerful decision-making tool in evolving the current IT landscape, the selection of an appropriate OM requires additional guidance. This article elaborates on current OM deficiencies, requirements for enhancement and a new method, mechanisms and practices to enable an enterprise architecture practitioner to identify the required process reuse opportunities for a specific OM. Another version of the paper is available here.



Marne de Vries, Alta van der Merwe, Paula Kotze and Aurona Gerber. 2011. Using the interaction model to identify replication potential between business units. In: 1st International Conference on Industrial Engineering,Systems Engineering and Engineering Management for Sustainable Global Development (ISEM)- ISEM 2011 Conference Proceedings, edited by l Pretorius and CSL Schutte, SAIIE, ISBN 978-0-620-50712-7, p. 134-1 - 134-14.

Enterprise engineering is an enterprise design methodology that uses a process to create an organised whole, while mastering complexity. Dietz proposes an organisation theorem that reduces complexity by representing the heterogeneous enterprise system as a layered integration of three homogeneous aspect systems: the ontological, infological and datalogical. The ontological aspect system represents the essence of enterprise operation and a starting point for engineering a complex enterprise. This paper applies one of the key ontological models, namely the interaction model (IAM), to assess its ability to indentify replication potential due to ontological similarity. The case study environment for application of the IAM model was four departments at a tertiary education institution.



Funmi Adebesin, Paula Kotze, Helene Gelderblom. 2011. Design research as a framework to evaluate the usability and accessibility of the Digital Doorway. In: Proceedings of Design, Development and Research 2011, edited by Eddie Appiah, Nhlanhla Mlitwa and Dzigbordi Anyomi. CPUT, ISBN: 978-0-620-52128-4, p. 306 - 323.

The usability and accessibility of interactive system interfaces, as well as their evaluation, constitute important focus areas of human-computer interaction (HCI). One of the families of evaluation methods that can be used to assess the usability and accessibility of a given interface is the heuristic evaluation method. Heuristic evaluation can be conducted by applying general purpose heuristics or through heuristics that are specifically developed for the given interface. Developing specific heuristics hardly ever involves the use of a sound and recognised research methodology. Design research is increasingly being used as a theoretical and methodological framework for information systems research, in general, and HCI research in particular. Design research is a problem-solving approach, involving the creation of artefacts through a rigorous process of design-evaluate-redesign. In a novel approach, we first utilized the design research paradigm in the development of application-specific heuristics, and then also to evaluate the usability and direct accessibility support provided by the Digital Doorway, a non-standard computer system deployed amongst underprivileged communities in South Africa with the aim of promoting computer literacy. This paper discusses the approach we followed.  



Smith, A C Kotze, P and Gelderblom H. 2011. The general design methodology applied to the research domain of physical programming for computer illiterates. In: Proceedings of Design, Development and Research 2011, edited by Eddie Appiah, Nhlanhla Mlitwa and Dzigbordi Anyomi. CPUT, ISBN: 978-0-620-52128-4, p. 25 - 33.

Here we discuss the application of the ‘general design methodology’ in the context of a physical computing project. The aim of the project was to design and develop physical objects that could serve as metaphors for computer programming elements. These physical objects would then be used by computer illiterates to construct the logic of a computer program.



Abdelnour-Nocera, J, Kurosu, M, Clemmensen, M, Bidwell, NJ, Vatrapu, R, Winschiers-Theophilus, H, Evers, V, Heimgärtner, R, Yeo, A. 2011. Re-framing HCI through local and indigenous perspectives In: INTERACT'11 Proceedings of the 13th IFIP TC 13 international conference on Human-computer interaction - Volume Part IV. Springer-Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg.  ISBN: 978-3-642-23767-6

This one-day workshop aims to present different local and indigenous perspectives from all over the world in order to lead into an international dialogue on re-framing concepts and models in HCI/Interaction Design. The target audience is HCI researchers and practitioners who have experience with working with culture and HCI. The expected outcome of the workshop is a) network building among the participants, b) a shortlist of papers that can be basis for a proposal for a special issue of the UAIS journal, and c) identify opportunities to develop a funded network or research proposal.



Paula Kotze. 2011. Towards Integrative Human Work Analysis in National Health Information Systems: An Enterprise Engineering Approach. In: Workshop Proceedings - Human Work Interaction Design for e-Government and Public Information Systems, edited by Dinesh Katre, Pedro Campos, Torkil Clemmensen, Rikke Orngreen, Annelise Mark Pejtersen. IFIP.

The position paper proposes the use of an enterprise engineering methodology for human work analysis in the context of governmental sectors. The introduction of the National Health Insurance in South Africa is used as example to illustrate the foundational aspects of such a approach. The approach is based on an enterprise engineering approach (GERAM) that makes use of generic modelling concepts, for example the Zachman Ontology.


Published Book Chapters


Hanlie Smuts, Alta van der Merwe and Marianne Loock. 2011. Lessons Learned in Fostering Knowledge  Management Deployment and Knowledge Exploration in R&D Workspaces. In:Innovative Knowledge Management: Concepts for Organizational Creativity and Collaborative Design edited by Drs. Alan Eardley and Lorna Uden, IGI Global. 

The shift to innovation and knowledge as the primary source of value results in the new economy being led by those who manage knowledge effectively.  Today’s organisations are creating and leveraging knowledge, data and information at an unprecedented pace – a phenomenon that makes the use of technology not an option, but a necessity.   Software tools in knowledge management are a collection of technologies and are not necessarily acquired as a single software solution.  Furthermore, these knowledge management software tools have the advantage of using the organisation’s existing information technology infrastructure.  Organisations and business decision makers spend a great deal of resources and make significant investments in the latest technology, systems and infrastructure to support knowledge management.  It is imperative that these investments are validated properly, made wisely and that the most appropriate technologies and software tools are selected or combined to facilitate knowledge management.  In this chapter, a set of characteristics are proposed that should support decision makers in the selection of software tools for knowledge management. These characteristics were derived from both in-depth interviews and existing theory in publications.



T.1 Masters Dissertation

Funmi Adebesin. 2011. Usability and Accessibility Evaluation of the Digital Doorway. MSc. in Information Systems, School of Computing, University of South Africa.

Supervisor: Paula Kotzé

Co-supervisor: Helene Gelderblom (UNISA)

The masters degree was completed while Funmi Adebesin was on a masters studentship at the CSIR Meraka Institute.


The Digital Doorway (DD) is a non-standard computer system deployed to promote computer literacy amongst underprivileged communities in South Africa. Since its inception there has been no usability evaluation of the software installed on the DD. This study investigated the applicability of standard usability and accessibility evaluation methods to evaluate the software installed on the DD. It involved two cycles of design research phases to develop a set of multi-category heuristics for evaluating a selection of interfaces and applications installed on the DD. The heuristic evaluation method was found to be an appropriate method for evaluating the usability of the software as well as the direct accessibility support provided on the DD. As a triangulation exercise the heuristic evaluation was complemented with direct field observation and questionnaires. The study also confirmed the complementary role of using a combination of evaluation methods. The dissertation is available here.


 T.2 Masters Dissertation

Rubina Adam. 2011. Exploring the acceptance of enterprise resource planning systems by small manufacturing enterprises. MSc in Information Systems, School of Computing, University of South Africa.

Supervisor: Paula Kotzé

Co-supervisor: Alta van der Merwe


 The use of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems by small enterprises is proliferating. Traditionally used by large enterprises, ERP systems are now considered important enterprise management aids, which may contribute to the sustainability and growth of small enterprises. Although varying acceptance factors may impact on the acceptance of ERP systems, there is no consolidated list of ERP system acceptance factors specific to small enterprises. In this study, the strategic, business, technical and human factors that influence the acceptance of ERP systems in small manufacturing enterprises in South Africa is presented. These influencing factors may guide future initiatives aiming to ensure the acceptance of ERP systems by small manufacturing enterprise. A combined quantitative and qualitative data analysis approach was used as an analytical lens to interpret responses gathered from small manufacturing enterprises. Recommendations are made for future research on ERP system acceptance and adoption within the broader spectrum of small enterprises.

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