A hybrid multi-modal system for conducting virtual workshops using interactive voice response and the WhatsApp business API

Vishnu Prasad, Richard Shallam, Alok Sharma, Delvin Varghese, Devansh Mehta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther

1 Citation (Scopus)


Interactive voice response (IVR) forums such as CGNet Swara and Avaaj Otalo have played a pivotal role in empowering marginalised communities by providing an avenue to make their voice heard through simple phone calls. At the same time, growing internet penetration and affordable data plans are altering the ways in which rural Indian communities access and consume information. Within the context of a shift from voice to richer content environments, we present the design of a multi-modal awareness generation and data collection platform built around IVR and the WhatsApp Business API. This model was deployed for delivering virtual training modules to cotton farmers in rural Maharashtra. During the 27 day deployment, 176 people participated in the intervention, out of which 122 and 54 attempted the modules on IVR and WhatsApp, respectively. In this paper, we highlight some of the interesting findings and lessons learnt during the intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2021 - Extended Abstracts of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsYoshifumi Kitamura, Aaron Quigley, Katherine Isbister, Takeo Igarashi
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450380959
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2021 - Online, Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 8 May 202113 May 2021
Conference number: 39th
https://dl.acm.org/doi/book/10.1145/3411763 (Proceedings)
https://dl.acm.org/doi/proceedings/10.1145/3411764 (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2021
Abbreviated titleCHI 2021
Internet address


  • digital innovation
  • HCI4D
  • ICT4D
  • Interactive Voice Response
  • WhatsApp Business API

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