Digital Inclusion Strategy for Detroit
Service Design Project
Design Research | UX Design
Team Project-College for Creative Studies
January- April 2020
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
Dept of Innovation and Technology, City of Detroit
The Service: Click Forward
Promoting Digital Awareness and Literacy in Detroit
Understanding the Problem
Before diving into the process, it was imperative that we spoke the same language as that of Connect 313 to understand the situation better.
The active process of equitably including residents and organizations into the technological ecosystem. -Connect 313
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.
"The active process of equitably including residents and organizations into the technological ecosystem."
Why Digital Inclusion?
For Access to Fundamental Services
students in the U.S. have trouble finishing homework due to a lack of internet at home
(Associated Press, 2019)
of students conduct research online rather than visit the library
Adults and Continuing education
Accredited Online Degree and Certificate Programs in the U.S.
jobs created and supported by internet sector
(Internet Association, 2018)
of Americans utilized online resources in their job search
(Pew Research Center, 2017)
Americans work remotely at least half of the time
HEALTHCARE AND TELEMEDICINE
of Americans seek health information online
Virtual health visits grew from
from 2016-2019 (AMA)
E-GOVT AND BANKING
Pay property taxes
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
of social media users express opinions on political & social issues compared to 34% of all Americans (Pew Research Center 2018)
of Americans think social media gives a voice to underrepresented groups
(Pew Research Center 2018)
African-Americans think internet helps shed light on rarely discussed issues
(Pew Research Center 2018)
- Quello Study, 2018
(Quello Center, MSU)
Homes with a broadband connection in Detroit
Broadband coverage in the city of Detroit
- Data Driven Detroit (2017)
State of Detroiters
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.
do not adopt
Perception about ISP
Lack of Digital Literacy
Cost of Subscription
"Phone fulfills the purpose"
Qualitative Interviews+ Quello Study, 2018 (Quello Center, MSU)
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
Promote digital awareness and literacy to increase adoption.
"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
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.