An action-research exploration of digital services for migrant workers in Taiwan

A presentation at Master’s Thesis Defense in in Tainan City, Taiwan by Craig Bossley

 Echoing a global trend, for every 33 persons in Taiwan, there is one contracted guest worker from Southeast Asia. These residents seek to build a better future by working abroad to send money back home, but their stay is dependent on continuous labor in strenuous, less-desirable occupations, and compliance with varying levels of exploitation. In parallel, industry actors, nonprofits, governments, and individuals alike across the globe are employing digital technologies in services aimed at supporting migrant workers. From judicial case databases to compliance reporting to work shift trackers to strategic messaging, there is a broad range of digital services.   To understand the potential of digital services for migrant workers in Taiwan, this study used an action research approach. In the first actions, knowledge of Filipino migrant worker (OFW) needs and service providers in Taiwan was gathered through interviews and observations. Driven by financial and cultural pressures, many OFWs take on tiring extra work and are dissatisfied with conditions. Meanwhile, social media and an up-and-coming vlogging scene reveal a thriving community making the best of their little free time. Later, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the fragile contexts of OFW support systems and reiterated the urgent need for digital services and quality information systems.   In the second grouping of actions, digital services for migrant workers in Taiwan were considered. The Taiwanese government’s Information Site of Foreign Worker Rights Defence (Portal) was selected for further analysis through heuristic markup. The issues of the Portal and its integration in the service journey provided targets for following actions.   During the final phase, a user interface (UI) prototype of the Portal was created in response to selected issues. A usability testing session with OFW participants provided feedback: the homepage feed was intuitive, navigation was worse, and the FAQ section most exciting. However, more importantly, the results verified the need for fixing the other untargeted points in the service journey.


The following resources were mentioned during the presentation or are useful additional information.


The following code examples from the presentation can be tried out live.