Nothing much by way of explanation, but just a fantastic visualization of Kiva lending and repayment over the last five years (taken from this blog). This was recommended to me by the same friend who took me to the Tenement Museum (the subject of the previous post) the other day, so he is proving himself to be awesome all the way around.

If you know me, you know I support Kiva in a big way so seeing visualizations like this actually reminds me, in a visceral way, that the money changing hands is significant and transformative. Kiva is a relatively simple concept in terms of providing a mechanism for matching philanthropic lenders to borrowers; it is just executed very well visually. Also, it is a good case study (and I would like to see some academic research done on this) in the execution of social network. Essentially, it is engaging lenders and borrowers socially and exhibits all the hallmarks of online social interaction. It establishes transparency and trust visibly, lowers the cost of participation (in terms of time, attention, and process) to a minimum, and navigates about as well as any site I know of. Interactions are color-coded, mapped, made accessible. The narrative of the borrower is thrust to the forefront, images scattered throughout. It just understands that the experience of lending, that association with the borrower, is a human, highly social process. It designs accordingly.

Now that I think of it, there is some real research that could be done on the Kiva experience. A very good example of a social network built around a philanthropic affinity. Anyone?

[vimeo 28413747]

The images below are just to illustrate how good design can establish or reinforce trust, consistent navigation frees up cognitive space best left to the actual lending. Ultimately, what it is doing is telling a highly personal narrative of work, ambition, and opportunity. Who wouldn’t support that? In terms of the images, I enjoy the homepage as mosaic of people, the group lending page pitting the Atheists against the Christians (obviously they are competing), and the repayment rate. All the loans have been repaid to date and 0% default makes more an especially comforting lending experience.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.