The underpinning research was carried out between 2006 and 2012 in a series of related projects concerning the digital divide, beginning with the StoryBank project, reported in , an international peer-reviewed long paper in ACM CHI. From the outset, our research was conducted with representative end-user communities (e.g., Budikote, India, population 3,000) and partner organisations (NGOs, local offices of Nokia, IBM and others).
Research findings showed that mainstream, user-generated content services were inappropriate for communities with any of the following characteristics: lack of a digital network or bandwidth capacity; relatively low access to standard computing facilities; low amounts of locally-relevant digital content; low computer literacy; or low textual literacy. Such communities, which we worked alongside, are found across developing world regions (e.g., rural India, Africa, Central America) as well as in some areas of developed countries (e.g., rural Wales).
We established that, while the mobile phone is available to many people, regardless of region, mainstream media production and sharing features do not provide usable and useful ways for these communities to interact.
Similarly, while mainstream users can upload content to remote providers such as Facebook, our target communities need alternative methods to collectively produce and access equivalent content due, for example, to poor bandwidth or lack of literacy
We also found that bandwidth connection limitations and lack of affordable data plans mean that many users do not have the sorts of mobile information access that affluent users take for granted. We identified the value of local networking and providing sophisticated interactions over a basic telephone line, and researched how to overcome these barriers through cheaper transmission methods, including content caching, Bluetooth, and the telephone network, combined with our improved, more accessible, user interfaces.
 David M. Frohlich, Dorothy Rachovides, Kiriaki Riga, Ramnath Bhat, Maxine Frank, Eran Edirisinghe, Dhammike Wickramanayaka, Matt Jones, and Will Harwood. 2009. StoryBank: mobile digital storytelling in a development context. In Proceedings of the 27th international conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI’09). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1761-1770. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1518701.1518972