Digital Inclusion Strategy for Detroit

Service Design Project

Design Research | UX Design

Team Project-College for Creative Studies

January- April 2020

Why?

COVID pandemic laid bare the reality of the digital divide in Michigan, and across the country.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, even though 79.4% of Detroit households have a computer, only 59.3% have a broadband subscription. The project brief was to design digital inclusion strategies to increase broadband adoption in Detroit

 

"The issue is not a lack of internet access, but the lack of broadband adoption."

- Joshua Edmonds
  Director of Digital Inclusion, Detroit

Partners

Dept of Innovation and Technology, City of Detroit  

Comcast 

 

The Service: Click Forward

Promoting Digital Awareness and Literacy in Detroit

Understanding the Problem

Inquiry

Before diving into the process, it was imperative that we spoke the same language as that of Connect 313 to understand the situation better.

 

Digital Inclusion:

The active process of equitably including residents and organizations into the technological ecosystem. -Connect 313

Digital Equity: 

The condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy. Digital Equity is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential service. -National Digital Inclusion Alliance 

Adoption: the action or fact of choosing to take up, follow, or use something.

Most Detroit residents are online and use the internet for various purposes ranging from information seeking to work-related activities through mobile phones. 

The actual divide exists in subscription to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to equitably access the technological ecosystem. 

Digital Inclusion

"The active process of equitably including residents and organizations into the technological ecosystem." 

Why Digital Inclusion?

For Access to Fundamental Services

EDUCATION

K-12 students

3+ million 

students in the U.S. have trouble finishing homework due to a lack of internet at home

(Associated Press, 2019)

93%

of students conduct research online rather than visit the library

(SEO.com)

Adults and Continuing education

33,053

Accredited Online Degree and Certificate Programs in the U.S.

(guidetoonlineschools.com)

EMPLOYMENT

19 million 

jobs created and supported by internet sector

(Internet Association, 2018)

79%

of Americans utilized online resources in their job search

(Pew Research Center, 2017)

4.7 million

Americans work remotely at least half of the time

(Fastcompany, 2019)

HEALTHCARE AND TELEMEDICINE

80%

of Americans seek health information online 

(JMED, 2010)

Virtual health visits grew from

14%- 28%

from 2016-2019 (AMA)

E-GOVT AND BANKING

City/Govt 

Websites

62%

Pay property taxes
Water bill

Get discount on parking ticket

Find local information about trash/recycling

 

Get information on your home and your neighborhood


Know your city council member and your closest police officer

of Americans cited digital
banking as their primary
method of banking
(creditcards.com)

SOCIAL AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

60%

of social media users express opinions on political & social issues compared to 34% of all Americans (Pew Research Center 2018)

2/3

of Americans think social media gives a voice to underrepresented groups
(Pew Research Center 2018)

8/10

African-Americans think internet helps shed light on rarely discussed issues
(Pew Research Center  2018)

- Quello Study, 2018
  (Quello Center, MSU)

Inquiry

IN DETROIT

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670,031

Population

260,383

Households

36.41%

$29,481

Median Income

Poverty

ADOPTION

48.5%

Homes with a broadband connection in Detroit

ACCESS

99.2%

Broadband coverage in the city of Detroit

- Data Driven Detroit (2017)

  Census.gov

State of Detroiters

Households

Elderly

Children under 18

47.4% of families with children live below poverty.

40.7% do not have broadband at home.

21.8% own a smartphone with no other computing device.

13,760 do not have broadband at home.

20,878 do not own a computer.

25,071 do not have broadband at home.

8552 do not own a computer.

Why NON-ADOPTERS 

do not adopt

Perception about ISP

Lack of Digital Literacy

Cost of Subscription

Device Shortcomings

"Phone fulfills the purpose"

Qualitative Interviews+ Quello Study, 2018 (Quello Center, MSU)

Qualitative Research

With Community Ambassadors at COMCAST

Interview with the Community Ambassadors for the Internet Essentials helped us understand the process of signing up, their outreach program, and their understanding of adopters and non-adopters. They also shed light on why people do not adopt.

With Non-Adopters in Detroit*

In an attempt to understand non-adopters, visits to the Parkman Public Library and some public spaces were made. This helped us understand the needs for which visits to the library were made. Some of these needs included skill training, job search, resume building, research for school work. 

*Our attempt to conduct a co-creation session with some non-adopters in Detroit failed as the nation went into lockdown due to the COVID pandemic. 

Ideation and Service Design

The Approach

Promote digital awareness and literacy to increase adoption.

The Concept

"Gaining from learning something".

People willing to adopt can log in, learn, and earn rewards. Volunteers and successful users of the service promote it by becoming advocates.

Key Elements of the Service

Community Hotspots

These are the locations in the community where the non-adopter engages with the advocates. A hotspot can be school, shops, markets, neighborhoods, and community events where they can see the service in action.

Broadband Advocates

They are the users who have enjoyed the benefits of broadband. They help to promote the service in the community.

The Digital Link Portal

This helps new users to sign up, use services tailored for them, and reap the benefits of completing training or hitting milestones of digital literacy.

Service Design Tools

User Journey

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