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2012 Publications


Published Journal Papers


Winschiers-Theophilus, H., Bidwell, NJ., Blake, E., (2012). Altering Participation through inter-actions and reflections in design. Co Design: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts Vol. 8, Nos. 2–3, June–September 2012, 163–182.

In this paper, we illustrate through a set of examples how our own conceptualisation of participatory design (PD) and associated tools and techniques transforms within the design process itself. Co-designing with African rural communities has brought to light our many assumptions and intentions underlying commonly used methods and principles of PD. While genuinely striving for user involvement these same methods can hinder a truly participatory approach to design. We have learned much through our encounters and continuous reflections in various projects with southern African rural communities and seek to share our experiences in one particular, current project which led us to interrogate and revise our existing conceptions of PD. We also aim to infuse the evolution of PD with insights from Africa and cross-cultural design so that PD can better serve diversity globally.



Funmi Adebesin and Paula Kotzé. 2012. The Design of Application-Specific Heuristics for the Usability Evaluation of the Digital Doorway. South African Computer Journal, Vol 48, June 2012, p.9-30.

The Digital Doorway (DD) is a joint initiative between the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The DD is a non-standard computer system deployed amongst underprivileged communities in South Africa with the objective to promote computer literacy. Since its inception, there has been no usability or accessibility evaluation of the software installed on the DD, mainly due to lack of usability engineering or interaction design expertise within the development team. The goal of the research presented in this paper was to design a solution to this problem by developing a suitable instrument that could guide DD application developers in the design and development of more usable DD software and interfaces. Design research was used as a research methodology. We first investigated the applicability of the standard usability and accessibility evaluation methods for evaluating the software installed on the DD. During the first cycle of design research, we established that a heuristic-like evaluation method would be an appropriate method for evaluating the usability and direct accessibility support provided by the DD. During a second cycle of design research, embedded in the first, we also developed a set of multi-category heuristics as the ‘instrument’ that could guide the developers during design of applications as well as in the first-level (formative) evaluation thereof. To verify the heuristics, we conducted a usability evaluation of the DD and triangulated the results with a direct field observation at a natural environment of DD use, together with user-administered questionnaires. Another version of teh paper is available here.

Winschiers-Theophilus, H., Bidwell, NJ., Blake, E., Koch Kapuire, G. (2012). Community Consensus: Design Beyond Participation. Design Issues, Vol. 28, Number 3, Summer 2012, p.89-100, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Published Conference Papers


Peters, A.N, Oren, M.A, Bidwell, NJ. (2012) Namibian and American Cultural Orientations Toward Facebook. In: Proc. CHI’12 (30th Int. Conf. on Human Factors in Computing Systems). Austin, Tx, US. ACM Press.

Nadkarni and Hofman’s meta-review of literature on Facebook usage recommends examining differences in Facebook use between collectivistic and individualistic cultures. We discuss early findings of an exploratory study to compare use between participants in America, Namibia, and expatriate Namibians. From this, we identified five key areas of difference: 1) Motivations for joining Facebook; 2) Attitude toward Facebook connections; 3) Self presentation and photo sharing; 4) Communication about death, religion, and politics; 5) General privacy definitions. However, our findings showed no statistical difference in the Collectivism Scale administered among the three groups, despite Namibia being considered a highly collectivistic county and the US being a highly individualistic country.



Reitmaier, T, Bidwell, NJ., Siya, M., Marsden, G., Tucker, B., (2012). Designing an Asynchronous Oral Repository for Rural African Communities. IST-Africa 2012 Conference Proceedings (IST-Africa, May 2012 Dar es Salem, Tanzania), edited by PCunningham and M Cunningham. IIMC International Information Management Corporation, ISBN: 978-1-905824-34-2, p 1-9. 

We describe designing an asynchronous, oral repository and sharing system that we intend to suit the needs and practices of rural residents in South Africa. We aim to enable users without access to personal computers to record, store, and share information within their Xhosa community using cellphones and a tablet PC combined with their existing face-to-face oral practices. Our approach recognises that systems are more likely to be effective if the design concept and process build on existing local communication practices as well as addressing local constraints, e.g. cost. Thus, we show how the objectives for the system emerged from prolonged research locally and how we communicated insights, situated in the community, into the process of design and development in a city-based lab. We discuss how we integrated understandings about communication between situated- and localresearchers and designers and developers and note the importance of recognising and centralising subtle differences in our perception of acts of oral communication. We go on to show how the materiality of the software, the tablet form factor, and touch interaction style played into our collaborative effort in conceiving the design.



Paula Kotzé, Motse Tsogang, Alta van der Merwe. 2012. A Framework for Creating Pattern Languages for Enterprise Architecture.  IN: Trends in Enterprise Architecture Research and Practice-Driven Research on Enterprise Transformation (Proceeding of (7th Workshop, TEAR 2012 and 5th Working Conference, PRET 2012) edited by Stephan Aier, Mathias Ekstedt, Florian Matthes, Erik Proper and Jorge L. Sanz, LNBIP 131, pp. 1–20, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, ISBN: 978-3-642-34162-5. 

The use of patterns and pattern languages in enterprise architecture (EA) is a relatively novel concept. Although both the concepts of patterns and EA are over 30 years old, the notion of design patterns is hardly applied to EA. There is a lack of pattern collections specifically devoted to EA: only a small number of patterns and pattern collections specifically aimed at enterprise architecture can be found in the public domain. Furthermore no framework or method exist that would assist enterprise architects in creating patterns and pat- tern languages for EA. This paper aims to bridge this gap by proposing a pattern framework for enterprise architecture (PF4EA), which can guide the development of well-grounded patterns and pattern languages for the EA domain. The components of the frameworks are described as well as a method for its use. Another version of the paper is available here.



Jan Mentz, Paula Kotze, Alta van der Merwe. 2012. A Comparison of Practitioner and Researcher Definitions of Enterprise Architecture using an Interpretation Method. In: Advances in Enterprise Information Systems II, edited by Charles Møller and Sohail Chaudhry, CRC Press, Print ISBN: 978-0-415-63131-0; eBook ISBN: 978-0-203-09678-9, DOI: 10.1201/b12295-1, p. 11-26.

 This paper was originally presented at the CONFENIS 2011 Conference and appeared in the Pre-proceedings of that Conference.

The term enterprise architecture has been in use for almost thirty years if the seminal paper (published in 1987) by Zachman is taken as its starting point. As a scientific area of study this time span is relatively short but for the practitioner it could be a time long enough for the original interest to wane. Gartner’s research reflects that the practitioner interest is growing and the development of enterprise architecture frameworks such as the 2009 update of The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) shows the active development of enterprise architecture frameworks. In this paper two enterprise architecture definitions that is representative of the practitioner and the researcher position are compared to the definitions of the Zachman Framework and TOGAF to determine the agreement between practitioner and researcher thought on enterprise architecture. The comparison is conducted via an interpretation method that is based on hermeneutic phenomenology. The results indicate a correspondence between practitioner and researcher views that opens the way for co-operative research. A draft version of the paper is available here.



Nicola J Bidwell and Heike Winschiers-Theophilus. 2012. Audio Pacemaker: Walking, Talking Indigenous Knowledge. In: SAICSIT 2012 Proceedings, edited by Helene Gelderblom and Hugo Lotriet, ACM, ISBN: 978-1-4503-1308-7,  p. 149 - 158.

There are mismatches between indigenous knowledge (IK) and the media, representations and abstractions used to gather and depict IK in an increasing number of projects in Africa. We describe new studies that continue our efforts to digitally extend local IK pedagogy in healing with plants in Namibia. We used two novel, technological tools to explore narrative construction and provoke reflection by IK holders and researchers on their interactions with technology. Our tools and methods sought to reduce emphasizing vision and elicit ‘ongoing’ qualities in making and sharing knowledge. Our analyses show the importance of activity, kinetic relationships and rhythms in walking and talking in knowledge practices. Thus, we advocate mixing modalities in gathering and depicting IK, increasing focus on oral and multi-sensory interfaces and walking in design processes. We also present a design concept that supports links between talking and walking. 



Published Book Chapters


Pelser, André; Van der Merwe, Alta; Kotzé, Paula. 2012. Rethinking Sustainability of Small Towns: Towards a Socio-technical Approach (Chapter 4). In: Small Town Geographies in Africa: Experiences from South Africa and Elsewhere, edited by Ronnie Donaldson & Lochner Marais, Nova Science Publishers, inc., ISBN: 978-1-62100-001-3, p. 45 - 63. 

Over the past few decades stagnating and even declining local economies, out-migration of the young, skilled and highly educated segments of the community and also high levels of unemployment and poverty have taken their toll on the populations and sustainability of small rural towns in Africa and elsewhere in the world. Declining economic functions in such towns, often triggered by the demise of the core or dominant economic industry, inevitably result in the so-called “ghost town” outcome, with numerous negative socio-economic and environmental consequences. In this chapter the authors suggest a socio-technical approach (STA) to support decision making within small single-resource towns in order to enhance economic diversity and meet the conditions of sustainable economic development at the small-town level. 



Bidwell, NJ., Winschiers-Theophilus, H. (2012). Extending Connections Between Land and People: Designing Digital Media with Rural Herero Communities in Namibia. In: Heritage and Social Media- Understanding and Experiencing Heritage in a Participatory Culture. (E Giaccardi, ed.). Routledge. 



Mariana Carroll, Paula Kotzé, Alta van der Merwe. 2012. Securing Virtual and Cloud Environments. In: Cloud Computing and Services Science, edited by I. Ivanov, M van Sinderen and B Shishkov, ISBN: 978-1-4614-2325-6, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-2326-3,  Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012 New York.

Organizations have to adapt quickly to changes, continuously investigate innovations and be flexible in order to remain competitive. The IT landscape has evolved to enable organizations competitive advantage and to meet targets such as reduced costs, scalability, flexibility, capacity utilization, higher efficiencies and mobility. Many of these benefits are achieved through the utilization of technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization. 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 and virtualization provide significant benefits and cost-effective options for IT hosting and expansion, cloud and virtual IT systems are not risk-free. Risks must be understood to ensure adequate security not only for cloud computing, but also for the underlying technologies enabling cloud computing. The focus of this paper is on mitigation for virtualization and cloud computing security risks as a fundamental step towards ensuring secure cloud computing environments.





T.1 Doctoral thesis

Mariana Carroll. 2012. A Risk and Control Framework for Cloud Computing and Virtualization. PhD Thesis, Computer Science, University of South Africa.

The thesis was completed whilst Mariana Carroll was on a PhD studentship at the CSIR Meraka Institute.

Supervisor: Paula Kotzé

Co-supervisor: Alta van der Merwe



This thesis focuses on the governance of cloud computing and virtualization and resides within the information systems discipline, more specifically information system governance.


The information technology (IT) landscape continuously evolves, enabling organisations to adapt quickly to change, to be flexible, and to meet business demands. Through the utilisation of technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization, an organisation could become more competitive and meet targets such as reduced costs, scalability, flexibility, capacity utilisation, higher efficiencies and mobility. Adequate and effective governance of systems and data are parallel to successful operation of an organisation. To ensure effective governance, organisations need to obtain a proper understanding of the benefits, risks and controls related to their IT systems and data (in this thesis specifically cloud computing and virtualization).  Even though cloud computing and virtualization provide significant benefits and cost-effective options for IT hosting and expansion, cloud and virtualized IT systems are not risk-free. An integrated approach that considers counterbalances for the risks is required, so that the full benefits of cloud computing and virtualization technologies can be exploited. This thesis proposes an integrated governance framework for cloud computing and virtualization, called the Cloud-V Framework. The Framework provides a governance structure and guidelines to identify and evaluate cloud computing and virtualization benefits, risks and controls. This thesis addresses three research objectives, namely 1) to determine the need and requirement for the proposed Cloud-V Framework, 2) to develop the Framework, and 3) to determine the applicability of the Framework. The design research paradigm was followed, implicating that the development of the proposed Cloud-V Framework went through cyclic iterations of the design research phases (problem awareness, suggestion, development, evaluation and conclusion). The data collection methods included literature analysis, a survey and a case study. The construction research method provided a means for the integration of the data and the development of the proposed Cloud-V Framework.


T.2 Doctoral thesis

Johanna Louisa (Hanlie) Smuts. 2012. A Knowledge Management Framework for Information Systems Outsourcing. PhD Thesis, Information Systems, University of South Africa.

Supervisor: Alta van der Merwe

Co-supervisors: Paula Kotzé and Marianne Loock.


Organisations do not have unlimited resources, but through an outsourcing relationship an organisation may gain access to knowledge and capabilities it does not own. At the same time, organisations may risk losing key skills unless the outsourcing arrangement is managed strategically and knowledge transferred appropriately. The outsourcing of information systems (IS) has grown as an accepted business trend, with several reasons being cited for considering IS outsourcing. However, there is evidence that the challenges of IS outsourcing may impact negatively on the initial intent to outsource. Accordingly, proper knowledge management is important in preventing a loss of knowledge when an organisation outsources its IS activities. There is, however, a lack of research on the influence of knowledge-sharing practices on shared knowledge and outsourcing performance in general, and theoretical frameworks for guiding a knowledge-based understanding of IS outsourcing in particular. This thesis considers IS outsourcing and knowledge management and the relationship between the two. The study was initiated through a review of the literature, followed by a survey among communication technology sector organisations in South Africa in order to establish key concerns and the current status of IS outsourcing. Data for key considerations of IS outsourcing, critical success factors, knowledge requirements and knowledge flows were collected through six design research cycles. The data was then collated according to the design, engage, manage and integrate phases of IS outsourcing. Further information was collected by administering surveys among project team members, business owners and outsource partners working on IS outsourced projects. Based on the findings of this study, a knowledge management framework for IS outsourcing (KFISO) was developed. The framework consists of a conceptual outline supported by a data model reflecting the relationship among components, a questionnaire and an assessment results and recommendations report. The measurement instrument was developed to enable the application of the framework to an organisational context in support of IS outsourcing arrangements. Although the data collection for KFISO was done mainly in the telecommunication sector, the framework was found to be more widely applicable during the evaluation phase, where its suitability was confirmed by managers in both the mining industry and a global management consulting organisation.

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