Access Barriers - from a user´s point of view

University dissertation from Sundsvall : Mittuniversitetet

Abstract: Abstract The aim of this thesis is to suggest a model to assist in the ability to judge access by private persons to Information Technology, IT, and to Public Information Sys-tems, PIS. It has its starting point in the Swedish Government´s endeavour to turn Sweden into the first information society for all. When the available statistics con-cerning the access to a PC and the Internet in Swedish homes are studied it is easy to think that this vision may soon be realised. Of course, access to the technical equipment is a fundamental condition in order to be able to use the Public Informa-tion Systems, but unfortunately, is not the only one. A number of studies have shown that it is not possible to equate possession and use. A number of access models or frameworks designed to judge whether or not a person has access to the ICTs do exist. However, it is my opinion that there is a de-ficiency in these models; they do not start out from the individual user´s prerequi-sites, but rather judge the external conditions available for possible access. Assisted by four empirical studies, interviews and questionnaires, a number of ac-cess barriers experienced by the users have been identified. The studies show that in addition to the technological hindrances, a series of more elusive ones also exist originating from prevailing norms and values in the environment the user lives in. The barriers are categorised into five groups; to have, to be able, to will, to may and to dare. Together these notions form the User Centred Access Model, UCAM, which is suggested for use in charting and communicating the necessary considera-tions that must be taken into account in the development of Public Information Sys-tems. Keywords Language