Below are the ideas that came out of our Design Jam with IxDA Louisville. If you are interested to learn more about the Design Jam process or our Digital Inclusion work in Louisville, check out Part 1 of this series.
Future posts will document how we have taken these ideas and turned them into results for Louisville and the digital inclusion community nationally.
How to read this post
The ideas are presented in a uniform format. Here is a quick rundown of the format:
- The research identified four major opportunity areas to address: Barriers, Awareness, Sign Up Process, and Stigma
Project Idea Title
- Brief Description of the project
- Initiatives inside the project
- How success should be measured
Design Jam Project Ideas
Note: the ideas are grouped by their “opportunity”
Community Connection Initiative
Create a fund that would cover the cost of low-cost internet for eligible residents. It would provide subsidies to eligible families to get them connected the internet for a set period to increase adoption in low income communities. It would be funded through grants, government funds, and by Internet Service Providers. Also, community members could make donations much like they do with the local winter heat funds in many communities
- Fund to subsidize internet for low-income families
- Supported by philanthropic donations including individual households
- Increased broadband adoption in low-income communities
School Based LCI Reps
Families with children in local public schools are one of the most likely populations to be eligible for low-cost internet plans, but many of them do not know that they exist. This program would create a knowledge resources about the low-cost programs in select schools so people would know who to go to in order to learn more about the plans. Also, this person would spread awareness about the programs with school staff.
- Volunteers, not staff, from select schools
- Training sessions for teachers and administrators
- Increased low-cost internet sign ups for families with school aged children
McDonald’s Sign Up
Meet people where they are. McDonald’s is one of the most commonly mentioned places where people go for free internet access, so there should be information about locally available low-cost plans there. The idea is to work with McDonald’s franchises to spread awareness about the low-cost plans including hosting events with local ISPs or community organizations
- Public/Private partnership
- Events at restaurants
- Increased adoption of low-cost internet
Free Wifi Access Campaign
People that lack access to the internet use Public Wi-Fi to get connected. So, there should be information about low-cost internet plans promoted on Public Wi-Fi splash pages. There should also be an option for interested residents to submit their email address to learn more about the programs.
- Work with public wifi hosts to implement splash page
- Increased awareness of low-cost internet plans
SIGN UP PROCESS
Support the Sherpas
For a resident, the sign-up process can be daunting and confusing. Trusted community workers are in a unique position to help people through the process. Companies need to make it easier for community workers supporting residents s by making it easier to monitor where they are in the process, make re-qualification easier, and work to eliminate pitfalls in general.
- More transparency during the sign-up process for residents that community workers could help them tap into
- Eliminating common pitfalls with the program (i.e. re-qualification)
- Increased home broadband adoption
- Higher rates of retainment for people in the program
Low Cost Sign Up e-wizard
It is too hard for eligible residents to find information about low-cost plans, determine eligibility, and sign up for options. There should be one place to learn about all the available options for low-cost plans and submit for qualification. Ideally, interested parties would submit their information through an e-wizard that would determine their eligibility and submit their information to the ISP, who would then follow up with them to complete the process.
- E-wizard to help take people through the qualification process for all available low-cost plans
- Use plain language and inclusive design to make it easier to understand details of plans
· Increased completion rate for eligible residents that start the sign up process
EDUCATION AND STIGMA
Connecting the Connectors
Create a professional network to support community workers on the front line of digital inclusion. Network would provide training and professional development opportunities as well as provide resources for them to use in their daily work. Along with professional development, it would also provide a place for recognition of best practices and champions and provide hyper local data resources and analysis for practitioners to understand the digital divide in their specific community
- Professional Development network
- Ambassador Toolkit
- Best Practice documentation
- Hyper-local data
- A network of digital inclusion advocates and ambassadors with knowledge and tools necessary to bridge the digital divide
Check back for Part 3 and beyond, where we will follow these ideas as the germinate into action and results.