Results from the DIGNITY exclusion audit

To make digital mobility services more inclusive, it is important to first understand who is excluded from using them, and how many people this represents in total.

As part of DIGNITY, the team at the University of Cambridge conducted an exclusion audit to estimate how many people are currently excluded from using digital mobility services due to technology access requirements.

For example, the audit examines how many people do not own a smartphone or do not have access to mobile internet. The team also considered whether people have the ability to install an app on a smartphone, as this is often required to use a service.

The audit uses data from the DIGNITY surveys carried out earlier in the project, which gathered information on users’ technology access, use and competence.

Ability to access digital mobility services in Germany

The chart below shows some of the key results for Germany. These figures only cover exclusion caused by issues of access to the interface, and do not include exclusion caused by difficulty in using the interface itself. Nevertheless, these figures provide a useful baseline for understanding this digital exclusion.

What is the main barrier?

The biggest barrier for all groups comes from the requirement for installation of smartphone apps. These apps are commonly used for digital mobility services, but can exclude nearly half of the general population and over 85% of older people (those aged 65 and over). This suggests that big gains could be made by supporting potential users in downloading and installing apps offline, such as via helpers or community ambassadors. The results also underline the importance of offering services through non-digital means, especially for older people.

This University of Cambridge exclusion audit process provides valuable data on how many people are likely to be excluded from using digital mobility services, and these insights will be used later to help service providers make important enhancements to their offerings. Keep following us to stay up to date with the project’s progress!

The information in this article is taken from:  M. Bradley, J. Goodman-Deane, J. Kluge, P.J. Clarkson (2021). Predicting population exclusion for services dependent on mobile digital interfaces. In: Proceedings of Mobile HCI 2021. Toulouse, France. 27 Sep – 1 Oct 2021. Published by the ACM.