Mobile application framework for collaborative creation and sharing of Jua Kali product designs: a case study of Kamukunji Enterprise Jua Kali Cluster
Gikera, James Njihia
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The Informal jua kali sector is a vibrant entity that has created employment and innovative products in Kenya. Many homes in Kenya have at least one or more jua kali products. Over time, some products have evolved through incremental improvements to become award winning products. The jiko for instance has evolved into a number of fuel-conserving variants, some of which have garnered more merit than others. For instance, the Jikokoa and Jiko poa are highly polished ceramic types that have gained local and international acclaim. Both are patented trademarks produced by Burn Design Laboratories. However, not all jua kali products gain this kind of traction. The result is that many product designs are phased out naturally by demand and supply. The manual storage of product designs and sketches on paper is not reliable as they wear out, get lost or are stolen over time. Some artisans even prefer not to have any physical records of their designs for fear of duplication by others. This study therefore sought to propose the creation of a mobile application framework for collaborative creation and sharing of jua kali product designs to be used among artisans. The application allows direct sketches to be made on a smart device’s touch screen and upload of images while helping track and attribute each contribution to the relevant artisan. This, the researcher hopes, helps in creating more customer-centric and uniform products with higher quality and less competing variations. The application has a user-interface and was designed as a web application to run on any internet enabled device with a web browser. The study utilized a mixed research methodology with both qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques. This enabled the researcher to understand the challenges and methods used and to analyze collected data in order to come up with the framework based on the results. 72% of the respondents indicated they would use the application to manage and store designs and sketches but only 36% would use it for collaborative creation citing lack of trust and exposure to risk as the main hindrance. This informed the researcher to create functionality for either doing private deigns or collaborating and sharing designs in a public domain. The objectives of this study were to identify the challenges associated with the current methods, review the existing online platforms, to develop a mobile application framework and to validate the mobile application framework for collaborative creation and sharing of jua kali products.