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Digital Illiteracy among Puerto Rican Middle Class Smartphone Users

Mara de Mater ONeill Arthur L. Asseo


2013 SME Digital Forum, San Juan, Puerto Rico May 16, 2013 Mobile Telephony in the Developing World, University of Jyvskyl, Jyvskyl, Finland, May 24 - 25, 2013 LASA 2013 XXXI INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS, Towards a New Social Contract? Washington, D.C., United States, May 29 June 1, 2013 Session: Aspects of Poverty and Income Distribution

THE TRIGGER
Apparent digital illiteracy among our design firms clients and their users that could not be explained by the digital divide concept.

(Martinez, 2011, Pineda, 2012)

PUERTO RICO

2.7

from

(Estudios Tcnicos de Puerto Rico and Brand Science, cite in Grafa, 2012, Asociacin de Ejecutivos de Ventas y Mercadeo de Puerto Rico 2013)

3.1

million mobile phones

Population of

78%

3.7

million

(United States Census Bureau of 2010)

Smartphones
(Asociacin de Ejecutivos de Ventas y Mercadeo de Puerto Rico, 2013)

Puerto Ricans paid for long distance, text messaging and phone insurance.

40% 57% 70%


from

Accessed the Internet via mobile broadband


(Connect Puerto Rico, 2012)

Accessed the Web by their mobile phone


(Asociacin de Ejecutivos de Ventas y Mercadeo de Puerto Rico, 2012, 2013)

28%

Connect to the Internet by their mobile phone daily


(Connect Puerto Rico, 2012)

LATIN AMERICA

37% 32%

Smartphone use is for Mobile Web browsing


(Zokem and the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association, 2011)

Of the new phones will be Smartphones [by 2014]


(Estadsticas del uso de los mviles en Amrica Latina, 2010)

UNITED STATES

65% 55%

Of Web searches were initiated from a Smartphone


(Think with Google, 2012)

Connect to the Internet by their mobile phone every day


(Connect Puerto Rico, 2012)

New questions: How do we define the problem?

DIGITAL DIVIDE
Exclusion and inclusion in the realm of technology by: Gender Economy And other social factors

LEVELS OF THE DIGITAL DIVIDE


Access to technology: affordability, accessibility and availability Use and appropriation: depth and quality of use of new technologies

(Pineda, 2012)

(Martinez, 2011)

OTHER FEATURES OF THE DIGITAL DIVIDE


Countrys Infrastructure Cost of Service Comprehension of Technology

PUERTO RICO

50% 38% 90%

Of households do not have a computer Of rural population have no broadband or do not know where it is available Of households' speed connectivity is lower than the US national standard

(Communications Workers of America and Connect Puerto Rico cited in Ruiz Morales, 2011)

New questions: What is the role of comprehension in a meaning-making practice?

ON DIGITAL LITERACY & WE CONNECT DIGITAL LITERACY EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS TO EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS
How the user: Comprehends [content] Organizes [content] Executes [content] Generates [content] Accesses [content]

WE CONNECT DIGITAL LITERACY TO EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS


How the user carries out Executive Functions in the digital realm by digital artifacts that allow sharing, networking and interaction in co-location communities.

Literacy is understood in situated contexts, in how users process and negotiate meanings.

How comprehension of technology depends on how designers and the mobile market have standardized mobile interfaces.

New questions: How do we learn to be digital?

(Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004) (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004)

LITERACY AND TECHNOLOGY


New Literacies Perspective: framework of social principles related to educational issues

Always changing because of the constant negotiation and influence between user and context All literacies (multiliteracies, business interact with each other
literacy, social networking literacy, software literacy)

(Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004)

LITERACY AND TECHNOLOGY


New Literacies Perspective: framework of social principles related to educational issues

Ability to understand encoded messages Understanding of different modes of communication (visual, acoustic &
spatial)

Speed counts for connectivity and intelligibility Learning collectively

OUR DEFINITION OF DIGITAL LITERACY:

A. The ability to read the design


elements (i.e., interface) in order to do a given task

B. The comprehension of actions


a digital citizen)

done through digital communication technology (consequences and responsibilities of

Digital literacy in this inquiry is the metalanguage of multiliteracies, which is having the skills of a meaning-making practice that can be critically transferred to other social domains through digital communication technology.

We are analysing the digital language. This is the way a user has the capacity to understand different literacies like business, software, social networking and their possible

In other words

interactions between them in order to generate critical content.

New questions: ...and in other places?

(AN)OTHER PERSPECTIVE

Cultural Aspect: The case of Iran and India

Usability problems are not necessarily caused by digital illiteracy but due to cultural differences that translate into different activities in the use of mobile devices.

CULTURAL USE
Puerto Rico Calls Text messaging

India Multiple mobile phones Iran (most used): Calls Text messaging
gender based system

social networking tool

WE CONNECT DIGITAL LITERACY TO CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE


The design of the mobile devices that rule the global market are made from a central viewpoint and do not consider the perspective of peripheral nations.

OUR RESEARCH
Limited inquiry: 49 participants July, 2012 - January, 2013

METHODOLOGY
Online questionnaire Semi structured interviews to local UX designers Scenario (storytelling) test

OUR TWO MAIN QUESTIONS


Are educated middle-class users, because of undefined factors, on the road to social exclusion because of their lack of digital interaction comprehension? If such is true, what does this imply in the social contract?

Lack of digital literacy can become a problem because:


The relationship between citizen rights and digital literacy. The impact it might have with 21st century skills (e.g., co-location team working, rapid information access and content generation).

The importance of this matter to the User Experience (UX) designers and his/her awareness of this possible occurrence, especially if they are value-driven and concerned with issues of democracy.

Online Questionnaire Survey

100% SMS text messaging Email, making calls & 96% browsing the Web 92% Taking Photos 75% Social Networks 25% Skype

Online Questionnaire Survey

8% 54% 58%

Use all the mobile applications Are aware of the applications on the device Asked for assistance in the use of their Smartphone (indicator of Functional Digital Illiteracy)

Online Questionnaire Survey


CONCLUSION No connection between education level, gender, age and Functional Digital Literacy levels. Neither the operating system, data plans or types of network connection seem to affect the users level of understanding of the design elements in a given task.

Semi structured Interviews to 3 Local UX Designers


Freelance In-house UXD for Bank Startup Tech Company The criteria - designers that applied user-centered methods

Semi structured Interviews to 3 Local UX Designers


FINDINGS They use limited qualitative, user experience studies (limited budget) and no contextual research methodologies. They are missing important information concerning user behavior and experience.

New question: UX designers role?

Semi structured Interviews to 3 Local UX Designers


Are there gaps between local UX designers and the users of mobile communication devices that might prompt more interference in the users digital literacy? If so, what are the particular factors (if any) that occur in the social-political landscape because of this interference?

Semi structured Interviews to 3 Local UX Designers


Lesson learned: The importance of a crosscultural approach that consists in making the necessary design adjustments to technology so that products have the ability to work in different cultures and economic levels.

Scenario (storytelling) test


To highlight the participants digital literacy, their beliefs, perceptions and motivations regarding the role of technological communication throught a fictitious conflict, its resolution and privacy in work related to interpersonal relationships.

Scenario (storytelling) test: Essential Components for Critical Transferring


The three benchmarks were: Functional Digital Literacy- Did
the participant understand all the technological actions that took place in the scenario? Can he or she offer solutions that may lead to different outcomes?
(Poore, 2010)

Scenario (storytelling) test

Network Digital LiteracyIssues concerning replicability, collapsed distinct social context and invisible audiences. Questions to participants were: Did the participant recognize Meyrowitz issues? Did the participant narrate similar stories? Did the participant recognize how his or her behavior in network communities can expose his or her beliefs, values and ethical positions?
(Meyrowitz, 1985)

(Poore, 2010)

Scenario (storytelling) test


Critical Digital LiteracyDid the participant understand the different levels of meaningmaking when there is a lack of spatial content and how online behavior is perceived in asynchronous communication?
(Poore, 2010)

Scenario (storytelling) test

45%

FINDINGS Understood all the technological actions. Aware of the lack of spatial content.

77% Disapprove the supervisor firing 95% through digital communication. 73%
Concerned with how the supervisor dealt with the conflict

Scenario (storytelling) test


All participants were suspicious about digital communication. The only strategy would be not to use digital communication and content oriented systems. They were not surprised of the employees outcome- she should have known better .

Scenario (storytelling) test: High Context and Face-Negotiation Theory


High Context- A society that has a collective mindset and non verbal communication between members of a group that share the same inexplicit rules of engagements
..

(Hall, 1976)

All the participants Face Negotiation strategies were not of digital engagement.

(Ting-Toomey, 1998)

RESEARCH CONCLUSIONS: Lack of trust might be strengthened by cultural dissonance on interface & HCI design
The participants might be on the road to social exclusion due to Functional Digital Illiteracy.

CAUSED BY:
The participants resist to acquire new knowledge concerning no leisure activities because of:
Lack of trust and cultural habits and values. Local designers are not taking into consideration cultural habits & digital gaps concerning technology. The lack of contextual research - local industry or Government only uses quantitative research, they might be wrongly led to believe that access is = to comprehension.

POSIBLE REASON OF THIS BEHAVIOR


Cultural habits and values can make some aspects of digital literacy optional (not being perceived as required skills to be part of the community). UX & HCI Design can be dissonant to local users cultural habits, beliefs and motivations.

POSIBLE EFFECT OF THIS BEHAVIOR


The participants behavior can compromise their multiliteracy skills needed to navigate critically to other social domains through digital communication technology, both as workers and citizens. Therefore, they might be more vulnerable to coercion and manipulation by unethical business and dubious political ventures. This in turn, makes them more distrustful of technology.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS: For Further Contextual Research in the Caribbean

Cross and intercultural design and its impact on digital literacy.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS Further Contextual Research

UX designers role in digital literacy (their beliefs, motivations, cultural habits and how it interferes in their methodologies).

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS Further Contextual Research

Correlations between digital literacy and social inclusion as of way to strengthen the social contract in post-capitalism (Drucker, 1993) societies.

New questions: Competitive Glocally?

BALANCE & NEGOTIATION


We have found in our practice that there is a need for a balance between international standards and inter/cross cultural approaches. To be competitive in todays global market, not incorporating successfully the Mobile Web Best Practices can be detrimental to an Apps success. Successfully negotiating glocally can be a challenge by itself.

New questions:

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DIGITAL LITERACY?


The role of value driven designers is very important when establishing the scaffolding of a network society that may strengthen liberties and rights. The responsibility of digital literacy education that takes into account cultural behaviors is not exclusively the designers, but one to be shared with clients, users and all members of the community.

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