Benefits of community voice: A framework for understanding inclusion of community voice in HCI4D

Manika Saha, Stephen Lindsay, Delvin Varghese, Tom Bartindale, Patrick Olivier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Community voice is widely used in computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and human-computer interaction (HCI) work with underserved communities. However, the term is unresolved, denoting disparate activities, methods, and phenomena that are at their most useful when combined. We argue for a rethink by setting out a more nuanced understanding of "community"and "voice". Building on our own experiences of HCI for development (HCI4D) work and the existing literature, we propose a framework for the benefits it can bring to those who actively engage with communities as part of their work. This framework can be understood in terms of its four constituent benefits for CSCW and HCI4D practitioners: (i) understanding context, (ii) creating empathy, (iii) leveraging local skills and knowledge, and (iv) building trust and buy-in. We reflect on how an improved understanding of these benefits applies to three prior projects with women living in Bangladesh and discuss the issues and need for more work on community voice. Finally, we discuss how this more detailed perspective on community voice helps us understand power dynamics and polyvocal communities in development contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3610174
Number of pages26
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2023


  • community development
  • community voice
  • conceptual framework
  • HCI for development
  • ICT for development
  • sustainable development
  • voice

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