What do public access venue users use computers for?

by , June 18, 2012

Category: Data analysis, Featured, News, Survey

The last few posts, as well as the User Profile paper, have looked at the characteristics of public access venue users and their access to computers and the Internet. As the survey data analysis continues, we’re beginning to look more at the uses of public access venues, and of course, the impacts. The Global Impact Study is mainly looking at six development domains: communications & leisure, culture & language, education, employment & income, government, and health.

If you have one, think about how you use your personal computer. If you had to categorize your computer use into the six domains above, what do you spend the most time doing?

Communications & leisure is the domain most used

Domain uses by venue - user & user plus someone else combined

For many of us, keeping in touch with our friends and family over email and social networking likely makes up a significant portion of our personal computer use. Unsurprisingly, this is also the trend with public access venue users. As displayed above, users in all types of public access venues use the computer and Internet for communications & leisure purposes.

Routine versus episodic uses

Communicating with friends and family and pursuing hobbies are routine activity, that is, people are likely to engage in these activities more frequently than more episodic uses, like employment & income and health. Who wants to have to look for a job every day or have a health condition that constantly requires attention? When asked why they do not use public access venues for each domain, the number one reason was because they didn’t have the need or didn’t think about it. This is a good thing!

Over 40% of all users use public access venues for employment & income

Education is the second domain most used. Given that many public access venue users are young and students, this is not surprising either. However, given this fact that many public access venue users are young and students, it is surprising that over 40% of all public access venue users have used these venues for employment & income activities! With the student population taken out of the survey data, almost 60% of all non-student public access venue users perform employment & income activities.

In following posts, we’ll dive deeper into each domain, including the other three domains not discussed here. We’ll also look at comparisons across venues, and of course, impacts!


, , , , , , , , ,

About the author

These are project updates made by members of the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School. TASCHA is responsible for the implementation for the Global Impact Study.

Contact the author

4 Responses to “What do public access venue users use computers for?”

  1. Christine Prefontaine Says:

    I recently went to Georgia and was asking a lot of questions about sources of information. I learned that Facebook is an alternate Internet. About 50% of Georgians online are on Facebook (roughly 800,000 users). People get their news from it, by “liking” news agency pages so that their content shows up in their streams. And there are estimates that roughly 20-30% of discussions are about news and politics. An example: A recent wall posting on one user’s page — pointing to a blog on “the utopia of equality” — drew 284 comments in 24 hours.

    So how can we put responses into buckets like “communication and leisure” or “culture and language”? And how can we categorize “contacting friends”? And what happens when we ask users if they are going to a venue to “Email”, “Chat using IM and/or VOIP”, “Blog” or “Use social network sites” when they may be doing all of these things on Facebook?

    My learning was that “social networking” is much more complex and nuanced, and it may cover several domains. I suppose this is obvious given the use of social media by digital activists. Apparently I just had to learn it again :)

    For me this highlights the limits of surveys and the importance of making instruments public (like the Global Impact Study has done). It also re-affirms that the Global Impact Study designers were really smart to combine surveys with other types of methods.

    More questions than anything here. But I think an important discussion as we figure out how to use and interpret the study’s findings.

  2. Melody Clark Says:

    Thank you for your comments, Christine! We’re definitely finding out that social networking and other “fun” activities are very nuanced. Some examples can be found at this post:

  3. printable coupons for teeth whitening products Says:

    I love looking through a post that will make men and women think.

    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!


  1. […] by Beth Patin, Maria Garrido and Melody Clark on June 27, 2012 As discussed in a previous post, communications & leisure tops the list of uses for public access ICT. While this is not […]

Leave a Reply