Substantial public and academic interest remains focused on using Information and Communication Technology (ICT)—in particular mobile phones and the Internet—to address longstanding socioeconomic problems among marginalized populations in the “developing world.” However, an incomplete—and sometimes inaccurate—understanding of the realities underlying these populations’ interactions with technology may undermine the hopes that are invested in mobile phone applications and online services. The goals of my research program are: 1) to improve technology design, 2) to question whether ICTs can actually support socioeconomic development, 3) to increase African participation in the design/research of ICTs, and 4) to provide technologists in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) with an understanding of ICT use in sub-Saharan Africa that is grounded in people’s experiences.

To achieve these goals, I conduct fieldwork in sub-Saharan Africa, in (primarily Kenyan) sites that I have been visiting since 2010. I use methods that are generally considered useful for allowing the voices of marginalized individuals to be foregrounded.

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Wyche, S., Simiyu, N. and Othieno, M.E. (to appear). "Understanding Women’s Mobile Phone Use in Rural Kenya: An Affordance-Based Approach," Mobile Media & Communication.

Chidzwisano, G.H. and Wyche, S. (to appear). "M-Kulinda: Using a Sensor-Based Technology Probe to Explore Domestic Security in Rural Kenya," ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2018), Montreal, Canada.

Wyche, S. and Olson, J. (2018). “Kenyan Women’s Rural Realities, Mobile Internet Access, and “Africa Rising,” Information Technologies & International Development (ITID), 14, 15. [PDF]

Wyche, S. (2016). “Exploring Women's Everyday Mobile Phone Experiences in Nairobi, Kenya,” Interacting with Computers. doi: 10.1093/iwc/iww028. [PDF]

Wyche, S., Simiyu, N. and Othieno, M.E. (2016). “Mobile Phones as Amplifiers of Social Inequality among Rural Kenyan Women,” ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI). [PDF]

Wyche, S., Steinfield,C., Cai, T., Simiyu, N., and Othieno, M.E. (2016). "Reflecting on Video: Exploring the Efficacy of Video for Teaching Device Literacy in Rural Kenya," Proceedings of the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD2016), Ann Arbor, MI. [PDF]

Wyche, S. and Baumer, E.P.S. (2016). “Imagined Facebook: An Exploratory Study of Non-Users’ Perceptions of Social Media in Rural Zambia," New Media & Society. (e-mail for copy or see pre-print version). [Pre-Publication PDF]

Wyche, S. and Steinfield, C. (2015). “Why Don't Farmers Use Cell Phones to Access Market Prices? Technology Affordances and Barriers to Market Information Services Adoption in Rural Kenya.” Information Technology for Development. [Pre-Publication PDF]

Wyche, S.P. Dillahunt, T.R., Simiyu, N. and Alaka, S. (2015). “’If God Gives Me the Chance I will Design My Own Phone’: Exploring Mobile Phone Repair and Postcolonial Approaches to Design in Rural Kenya,” Proc. of the 2015 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp’15), Osaka, Japan, Pgs. 463-473. (Awarded Best Paper Honorable Mention, Nomination Rate: 5%). [PDF]

Talks and News

May: Fieldwork in Kenya

April 21-25: CHI'18, Montreal, Canada

January 12: Invited Talk at U.C. Irvine


Susan Wyche is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University and has a courtesy appointment in MSU's African Studies Center. Her research focuses on human computer interaction (HCI) and information and communication technologies and development (ICTD). Her work has been supported by Google, USAID, and the National Science Foundation. Wyche is a 2015 recipient of an NSF CAREER Award and was the Papers Co-Chair for the ICTD 2016 Conference. Wyche received her Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech, an MS from Cornell University and an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University.


Michigan State University
Department of Media and Information
Communication Arts & Sciences
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212