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Digital Inclusion

Updated: Dec 2, 2022


What is digital inclusion?

On the GOV.UK website the definition of digital inclusion is – ‘Digital inclusion is about having the access, skills and motivation to confidently go online to access the opportunities of the internet’.

So, what does this mean?

The term digital inclusion is often used to describe the benefits of individuals and communities being included in the digital society. It can also be understood as “the full range of ways in which people are able to access, use, or contribute to digital technology”.

Digital inclusion can be broken down into 3 steps – Digital skills, accessibility and connectivity.

The first area we will cover is digital skills. We need to ensure both staff and external users have the skills to support the transformation and use of digital. Consideration to the use of devices and how the platform works should be part of digital inclusion in any project. Staff should feel empowered to promote the digital change and comfortable with the procedures in place. Training for external users should be in place whether this is virtual, face to face or through written manuals and guides will depend on each piece of work.

All of your digital channels (websites, apps and software) should consider accessibility and ensure they meet the accessibility standards set out. Considering these accessibility standards means considering people who might access your digital channels who are visually impaired, have motor difficulties, cognitively impaired or have learning difficulties, or deafness or impaired hearing.

Accessibility is a topic in its own right but from a very broad level consideration should be given to clean and simple design. Consider people who use screen readers, speech recognition software or on-screen keyboards and how your website might react with these.

The GOV.UK website has further information on how to make your website accessible (click here to read more) and you might want to read the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines on the W3C website (click here to read more).

Connectivity of your users should be considered as part of digital inclusion. Consider who your users will be and what access do they have to devices, internet access and your platform. There are often common assumptions made around access - that everyone has access to the internet or a device and that only certain age groups will use digital. Ensure full research is done into this and you understand where support may be needed or how you will cater to those who don’t have access or want digital.

Why is digital inclusion important?

When we are going through a digital transformation process its important to ensure the success of this piece of work. One element that can ensure success is clear communication and training. This can be done through digital champions in your business.

Including digital champions in your business can help to educate people and enable staff to have someone to turn to if they are unsure. These people need to be well adverse with digital and included in the rollout of future digital platforms to assist. Their roles may be voluntary to this objective so its essential they have a passion for digital and ability to teach others.

Having digital champions can be a real benefit to a business by:

· Educating staff

· Increasing productivity

· Reducing time taken to complete tasks

· Empowering users to utilize your platforms

· Increasing sign up to digital services you offer

· Increased rate of customer satisfaction

Digital inclusion can have benefits for the consumer by providing them more information, a wider access to products and the ability to compare prices saving them money and ensuring the best value. For the business it can widen your audience and provide efficiency through online systems and services saving time and cost.

So what is digital exclusion?

When conducting your digital transformation process consider those you will be excluding. This is where you will need to know your audience to understand aspects such as connectivity, those who just don’t want to use digital or others who may need assistance and increased confidence.

There is always the potential of having a group of people you will exclude so consideration needs to be taken as to how you deal with this group. It may be offering alternative methods or access to information and services.

On the Good Things Foundation website they have a infographic showing the digital nation and who is included and excluded from digital. Some of the biggest factors of digital exclusion include:

· Lack of skills

· Low income

· Lack of equipment and connectivity

· Lack of confidence / motivation

The infographic also says that on the other hand those who have digital inclusion benefit from some of the following points:

· Digital helps manage and improve their health

· Happier due to connectivity with friends and family

· Pay less on their bills per year

· Digital skills can help to increase your salary


Digital inclusion is about considering your audience and employees as you look to introduce new technology and digital channels into your business. Consider the level of skills and access to digital channels and how you can help people to feel more comfortable, have accessibility and be trained on the new channels you provide.


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