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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

A Human Factors View of the Digital Divide

A Human Factors View of the Digital Divide
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Author(s): Kayenda T. Johnson (Virginia Tech, USA) and Tonya L. Smith-Jackson (Virginia Tech, USA)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 24
Source title: Handbook of Research on Overcoming Digital Divides: Constructing an Equitable and Competitive Information Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Enrico Ferro (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Italy), Yogesh K. Dwivedi (Swansea University, UK), J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico) and Michael D. Williams (Swansea University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-699-0.ch033


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This chapter addresses a problem that centers on the persistent disparities in computer use and access among citizens of varying cultural backgrounds. The chapter begins with discussion about the digital divide among ethnic minorities, particularly African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans (Latinos), in the United States. This chapter defines “access” as having a computer interface that facilitates user learning. One proposed human factors intervention for this problem of access is in recognizing and accounting for culture’s influence on cognition. This discussion is grounded in the development and employment of computer interface metaphor designs that are culturally valid for target user groups. We also provide examples of challenges that users may encounter when inappropriate interface metaphor are built into a computer interface design. Finally, the chapter highlights various human factors interventions and considerations that will provide a pathway to achieving greater levels of e-inclusivity and for providing citizens with equitable access to information.

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