Oral Information Management Tools: Lighting the Path to Financial Inclusion

Guide / Handbook
Date Published: 
Oct 2014
Author: 
Matthews, B.H.
Publisher: 

Designing products to increase access to financial services among illiterate people

This toolkit aims to design financial products that illiterate and neo-literate people can use effectively and comfortably. It refers to the tools required to design such products as Oral Information Management (OIM) tools. OIM tools or solutions are designed to address the information needs of people who prefer to avoid dealing with text. The toolkit suggests that since a large number of oral clients cannot decode multi-digit numbers, personal and real-time validation of financial records is impossible for such clients. Hence, this segment of the population is more likely to be cheated or financially excluded. Using examples from Cambodia, Bangladesh, and the Solomon Islands, it proposes a set of core principles for OIM development and design. The toolkit covers the following sections in detail:

  • Definitions of key terms including orality, ROSCA, and ASCA;
  • Discussion on the theory of OIM based on four disciplines: studies of oral culture, behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, and human-centered design;
  • Guidelines for the development of OIM tools with a focus on usability, client focused designing, and creating seamless interfaces;
  • Discussion on the OIM approach;
  • Objections to the OIM approach and recommendations for donors and practitioners on its implementation.