Mobile Accessibility in Disaster Environments : Assessing the role of Mobile Technology in Crisis Management in Ghana

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Karlstads universitet/Avdelningen för informatik och projektledning

Sammanfattning:

In the age of the risk society, when several actors at an international, national, and local level converge in order to find solutions that help mitigate the global effects of natural disasters, there is a need to study the patterns for communicating and interacting with the public that eventually feel the impact of crises.

In the richer parts of the world ICTs have facilitated a framework for having instant information regarding threats that make crisis management a discipline that is centered more in preparing and planning, rather than mitigating actual crises.  In developing countries, the contextual idiosyncrasies of each nation provide a fragmented array of settings that prevents a rapid flow of information in the event of natural disasters. The phenomenal growth of mobile telephony use and its rapid diffusion in developing countries offers a game changing scenario where crisis managers could benefit from new applications and functionalities of mobile devices.

In a confluence of multidisciplinary nature, this study aims to explore the role of mobile technology and internet in crisis management, as well as the state of accessibility of mobile technology when addressing the general public in Ghana.

This study follows a three-pronged approach with the aim of answering its research questions. First, a qualitative study of the communication processes between crisis managers and the public and the role of mobile technologies during those processes. Second, a quantitative study of the uses of mobile internet and the current mobile internet infrastructure. Finally, a study on the accessibility level of Ghana’s national crisis management organization’s website.

Several conclusions can be drawn from this study. Mobile technologies have an important role in the communication process of crisis managers and the public, however the use of internet still has no part in the flows of communication due to deficits in infrastructure and socio-economic factors, leading to a disconnection between international risk policy requirements and local needs. The lack of resources is seen as the biggest challenge for crisis managers; a challenge that leads to issues of trust in the public and non-compliance. Finally, while there have been improvements in accessibility efforts, there is still a wide gap between international web accessibility best practices and the one provided by authorities in Ghana.

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