Avaaj Otalo – A Field Study of an Interactive Voice Forum for Small Farmers in Rural India


Anupam Jain, Dave Paresh, Deepti Chittamuru, Neil Patel, Tapan Parikh


agriculture, forum, ICTD, India, literacy, rural development, social media, voice user interface


Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Year Published:


Policy Summary

This paper presents the results of a field study of Avaaj Otalo (“voice stoop”), an interactive voice application for small-scale farmers in India. The most popular feature was a voice forum to ask and respond to questions, and to browse other questions and responses to a range of agricultural topics. Not only did the forum provide access to timely and relevant agricultural advice, but it became a lively social space with the emergence of norms, persistent, moderation, and a desire for structured interaction with accredited experts and open discussion with peers. This work shows that online communities can be a suitable medium in the rural developing world, and has indirect policy implications for how to support and expand this type of technology and infrastructure.

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