Information Communication Technologies (ICT) have significantly reshaped the we way we live, communicate, learn, interact with each other, move and consume information.
The rise and importance of digital communication is not restricted to users from Western countries. For migrants and refugees, access to communication, together with food and shelter, is one of the most important services while in transit or in diaspora (Hannides, Bailey and Kaoukji, 2016). Not surprisingly, the increase on the use of technology globally has encouraged the study of human-computer interaction (HCI) worldwide. Nevertheless, the majority of the existing technology is influenced by Western culture (Hill et al, 1998; Leidner and Kayworth, 2006) and there are few studies in this field which are cross-cultural (Strite and Karahanna 2006). Given the nature of communication, which is deeply rooted in local cultures (Wall, 2011), considering the cultural specificities when developing ICT tools could positively influence their adoption.
The paper investigates the role of culture in the use of ICT among migrant and refugee communities in Europe. It presents a state-of-the art of the current ICT tools available for migrant communities and the results of focus groups carried out with refugee and migrant communities in Greece, Italy and Spain. The purpose of these research actions is to investigate the use that these communities are making of technologies as well as to document their preferences and perceptions of existing ICT tools. The study will take into consideration situational and demographic variables such as age, gender, level of education and country of residence.
The results of this research will inform the subsequent phases of REBUILD, a project funded by the European Commission (Grant number 82215). The aim of REBUILD is the creation of an ICT-tool to promote refugees and migrants’ integration in Europe.