Identifying Cultural Design Requirements for an Australian Indigenous Website

George, R., Nesbitt, K., Gillard, P. and Donovan, M.

    This paper examines literature concerning the design of culture into websites and in particular indigenous websites. The intention is to identify design requirements as the first phase of building an indigenous website for the Wollotuka Institute located in the Awabakal nation and situated at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. The aim of the project is to produce a website that best reflects the identity, needs and culture of the local Wollotuka community. Wollotuka supports a broad range of indigenous programs incorporating administrative, academic and research activities and provides support and development services for indigenous staff and students. Unfortunately many existing frameworks and indeed Western conceptions about what knowledge is and how it should be captured, organised and presented do not necessarily meet the culture of the intended indigenous users. The work described in this paper focuses on the many issues of concern when attempting to design a website that is specific for a local cultural community such as Wollotuka. We review previous work in cultural design and discuss some generic issues related to the representation and capture of indigenous knowledge. This review provides us with some general considerations and more specific guidelines for culture-specific design. Of particular interest is that narrative and object are conceptualised as a duality in knowledge representations found in Australian Indigenous culture. We also examine issues of design process and use our findings to support the choice of a user-centric design method, where we localise. the design, through an iterative, prototyping process.
Cite as: George, R., Nesbitt, K., Gillard, P. and Donovan, M. (2010). Identifying Cultural Design Requirements for an Australian Indigenous Website. In Proc. Eleventh Australasian User Interface Conference (AUIC 2010) Brisbane, Australia. CRPIT, 106. Boyd, C. and Susilo, W. Eds., ACS. 89-97
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