SMS based Disaster Alert System in Developing Countries: a Usability Analysis
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Floods, cyclone, tsunami are natural phenomena that profoundly affect the development of human society. Modern technologies can predict the occurring of these natural disasters with which dissemination of cautionary instructions can be ensured to the people of possibly affected areas. But most of the developing countries are facing difficulties to broadcast the warning signals of imminent disasters by the concerned officials, agencies and mass communication media at apt time in proper way due to lack of information technologies. Some flash disaster visits giving very dearth time for warning, so steps should be taken to alert all through within shortage possible time according to needs. Now-a-days a great deal of attention is recently being paid to the potential of mobile communication technologies to redefine and enlarge the world of traditional alert system by rendering its applications available to mobile users in developing countries. Mobile technology especially Short Message Service (SMS) has huge impact in the communication system of modern civilization. This paper proposed a usability analysis of SMS for disaster management alert system. Both qualitative and quantitative method was applied to conduct this research. Questionnaire was conducted and required data was collected from some primary and secondary sources. In this paper, usability has been analytically investigated throughout existing policies and technologies and against a prototype of SMS based alert system and several provoking conclusions in terms of “rethinking usability” applied to disaster management operations and decision making have been derived. It is expected that many stakeholders from within the whole sector (the “Disaster Management” industry) can leverage this study as a first step to challenge existing cultural, political, economical and even ethical biases and constraints acting against the full exploitation of usability potential.
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