Information is now, arguably, in more abundant supply than in any other time in history. This is particularly true of local, state and federal government websites, which provide many essential services we all rely on. There is a growing movement to make all the tools necessary to access information more readily available to more people. In other words, the design of these sites are not-user-friendly.
If you know where to look, you can pay a traffic ticket, learn about job openings, or access city services for the poor or indigent. If you know here to start and how to search, you can seed and apply for help for many day-to-day needs. But too many of us find it difficult to locate the information we need, when we need it.
Urban civic activists are calling attention to the inequities in information access. They argue that where information is or isn’t accessible can reinforce privilege (knows how to access info) and limit opportunities for individuals in underserved and marginalized communities (doesn’t know how to access info).
Media coverage of the “digital divide” and issues of digital equity center on issues of physical access to the Internet. Some researchers now suggest that equality of access be replaced with equity of access, which focuses on information availability, online, to people from all walks of life and especially the poor and disadvantaged.
Where equality orientation might be satisfied with the presence of computers in public libraries & schools. An equity orientation would focus on how to navigate computer systems, locate information and use said information. Thereby increasing users’ skills and going beyond a one-time how-to experience to deep and continuing opportunities for people.
In an ideal world over the next few years, local, state and federal government websites would make information easier to find: Website design will be more intuitive and responsive; sites will be regularly checked for inactive links; language should conveyed on “plain speak,” and easily red by someone with a 6th grade education or beyond; information will be available in multiple languages; and information in the form of videos and images will be available to increase understanding.
In the meantime, while we encourage agencies to make information easier to find, we must ensure that citizens know that any information that they man need is available, where to find it, and most important, give them the skills they need to undertake the “search and acquire” process.
Read Article (Kim Gomez | huffingtonpost.com | 02/18/2015)
This article reflect much of the foundation our service is based on and give support to a growing crisis that needs your support to address.
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