We identify important areas that are still unexplored, and highlight concerns that design researchers ought to have about this field.
As such, the paper contributes towards a better understanding of ways in which design research in this field can be undertaken and reported.
The concept of using design to improve life circumstances of marginalised people in developing countries can be traced back at least to ‘Design for the Real World’ and ‘Appropriate Technology’ movements, initiated and popularised by Victor Papanek and E. Schumacher, respectively, in the 1970s (Papanek and Fuller ).
In his book ‘Design for the Real World’, Papanek, an industrial designer, urged designers to address problems faced by the people in the Third World.
presents concluding thoughts and offers recommendations for further research avenues, while employing a variety of methods with more consistent and thorough reporting of the studies.
As such, the paper will be useful to those who are new to this field as well as to those who are experts in this field.
Failures in transferring technologies from Western countries to developing countries in the 1950s and 1960s motivated the AT movement.
The technologies, originally designed for the Western contexts, were not appropriate for contexts in developing countries due to large differences in cultural, political, social and other conditions (Nieusma and Riley ).
Our purpose is to support the field to explain some of its present issues and to suggest further areas for continuation of scholarly exploration of this field.
Following this introduction, the rest of this paper is organised as follows: Sect.