ofcom bridging the gap

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Presented by Julia Rulf at the Social Digital Research Symposium (4th July 2012)

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  • 1. Bridging the Gap:Sustaining online engagement July 4th 2012Julia RulfOfcom

2. Ofcom and the CCP The CCP was established under the Communications Act 2003 asthe independent, policy advisory body on consumer interests intelecommunications, broadcasting and spectrum markets. The Panel advises Ofcom, Government, the EU and others on howto achieve a communications marketplace in which thecommunications interests of consumers and citizens are protectedand promotedThe Panel is independent of Ofcom. Ofcom has an agreedMemorandum of Understanding with the Consumer Panel. Thisincludes a commitment to shared undertaking of research whereappropriate The Panel has a budget to commission its own research. 3. Bridging the Gap:Sustaining online engagement July 4th 2012Julia RulfOfcom 4. Ofcom and the CCP The CCP was established under the Communications Act 2003 asthe independent, policy advisory body on consumer interests intelecommunications, broadcasting and spectrum markets. The Panel advises Ofcom, Government, the EU and others on howto achieve a communications marketplace in which thecommunications interests of consumers and citizens are protectedand promotedThe Panel is independent of Ofcom. Ofcom has an agreedMemorandum of Understanding with the Consumer Panel. Thisincludes a commitment to shared undertaking of research whereappropriate The Panel has a budget to commission its own research. 5. The challenge 22% of the UK adult population eleven million people still do not use the internet at home.In the Panels view: the challenge to increase participation is underestimated; meeting the challenge is underfunded; and people who remain unable to access online services will suffer increasing detriment. 6. The Framework? 7. Who did we speak to? Consumers who are less digitally engaged lapsed,proxy, narrow and new users - 48 Stakeholders and frontline staff in training deliveryroles - 44 People who are currently not online living in anarea of extreme deprivation - 14 8. What did we want to understand? What works to get and keep people online? How can people get the most out of being online? What works best in encouraging peoples breadth ofparticipation? What factors lie behind low levels of digitalparticipation? What barriers to digital participation exist amongpeople who are offline in an area of extremedeprivation? 9. The two biggest barriersThe status quo: the gravitational hold of the offline worldFear of technology and its complexity 10. Pull of the status quo offline world is seen as easier, faster, familiar, moreaccessible and user-friendly strong adherence and loyalty to traditional methods fear of offline exclusion Choice determined by availability 11. The status QuoIts easier and quicker to dothings the normal way. I likeYou know, by the time youve to see and touch things, got the computer turned on andespecially before I buy them. up and running, I could have The internets good fordone it all on the phone in halfinformation the time. . . but thats about all (Narrow user, female, 22) (Narrow user, female, 62) I like going down to the post office. It gets me out and about and meeting people. I dont want to stay indoors and stare at a computer screen (Lapsed user, female, 77) 12. Fear of technology and itscomplexity Complexity of technology and language offline/onlinedivide. Current technology (particularly PC-based) is seen to bedifficult and too complex The image, not just language of technology is offputting for others, for younger people, for people who are better educated Worries about pressing the wrong button or typing inany form of personal information inhibits engagement 13. Fear of technology and itscomplexityIt is so easy to get lost. Im never going to put myYou spend ages on it andpersonal details in. Once end up with nothing by youve done that, its all pressing one wrong out there and you canbutton never get it back (Lapsed user, male, 54)(Male, Lapsed user, 54)Its for a younger Ive only just learned whichgeneration. Theyve grownbutton to press to put a capitalup with it. Its too late forletter at the beginning of ame sentence. I found that out a(Male, Proxy user, 67) couple of weeks ago(New user, female, 69) 14. Other important barriers Lack of confidence Lack of ongoing support Low affordability and priority Social isolation Poor family dynamics Presence of a dominant proxy Lack of time Low awareness of community-based sources of help Misconception with regard to community-based sourcesof help 15. Drivers Tenacity / determination Ready access to informal, ongoing, one-to-onesupport Benefits of being online Relevance to interests Fear of being left behind Peer pressure 16. The consumer types in detail Lapsed users These people have used the internet but have stopped Proxy users These people are not able or willing to access the internet themselves. Instead, they are reliant on someone else to go online for them a proxy. Narrow users Narrow users of the internet are those who have not progressed beyond narrow/basic usage. Developing users These people have overcome many of the barriers to participation. 17. Video 18. Lapsed Users :Issues and OpportunitiesIssues Multiple barriers and weak drivers Poor/weak introduction to the internet Many now very unlikely to go back online Lack of supportOpportunities Need for better signposting to formal, communitybased sources of help Incidental exposure 19. Proxy Users:Issues and OpportunitiesIssues The power of the proxy limits the opportunity for theproxy user to learn Tendency not to personally identify with using theinternet With someone else available its easier to let go. Limited belief about the benefits of the internet.Opportunities Need for better, more immediate access to outsidesupport. Possible opportunity to target the people who go onlineas proxies, rather than the non-users themselves. 20. Narrow Users:Issues and OpportunitiesIssues Participation remains very limited, either by choice, orbecause of their lack of skill. Technological complexity is a particularly strong barrierOpportunities Many narrow users need help to use the internet moreefficiently, so that they can see the technology as anenabler. There is also a need to address the misconceptionssurrounding outside help. 21. Developing Users:Issues and OpportunitiesIssues What works well is a combination of sustained, ongoingsupport, a predisposition to want to learn, and aconviction of the importance of being online. Many respond well to the offer of outside help but, likeother people, have misconceptions about the suitabilityof such help.Opportunities Address misconceptions of outside help Developing users can act as strong, positive rolemodels. 22. Offline in an area ofextreme deprivation - Glasgow strong polarisation between those who wouldconsider going online and those who would not. Key barriers: Attractions of offline Lack of support Low affordability Very few had considered using any formal sources ofsupport 23. Opportunities:Areas for strategic focus Strengthen coordination Work under a single, recognisable badge Raise peoples awareness of resources and address misconceptionsabout community-based centres and libraries Widen the scope to developing and sustaining engagement Mirror offline attractions in the online offer Encourage user-friendly forms of technology Introduce stronger evaluation and accountability 24. Opportunities:On the ground delivery The need for a focus on informal, incidental learning Making better use of existing offline resources Creating informal partnerships and collaboration Joining up resources more formally Addressing misconceptions about libraries and community centres The importance of the role of Corporate Social Responsibility The support that can be offered by Digital Champions 25. The recommendations 26. Thank you