A study entitled ‘Digital By Default? Online public services and digital inclusion in Wales‘ was published by the Bevan Foundation in July 2011. The research being done by James Radcliffe and the paper written by himself and Victoria Winckler.
As well as some home-grown research the paper reflects upon some of the existing reported penalties of being offline such as the financial ones, the effect upon employment opportunities and education, along with the social impact. It reports that about a third of the Welsh population does not have access to the Internet.
Knowledge-related issues account for over 30% of the of the non-users not using the Internet and apparent ‘bad experiences’ being a part of that. The researchers give some examples of real government services that have varying degrees of ease of use, and thus potentially contributing to the ‘bad experience’, even down the use of varied terms such as ‘waste’, ‘refuse’ and ‘bins’ causing confusion.
The report argues that mediated services will always be a necessity, whilst coming up with a list of six suggestions of what needs to happen to improve digital take-up. Again, its years on since this started and we’re still looking at issues that should have been resolved then. Is this the benefit of hindsight or the absence of foresight?