City Research Online

Disabled people and the Internet: experiences, barriers and opportunities

Pilling, D., Barrett, P. & Floyd, M. (2004). Disabled people and the Internet: experiences, barriers and opportunities. York, UK: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


The UK government aims to make all its information and transactions available electronically by 2005. General use of the Internet also continues to grow. This report investigates the Internet's barriers and benefits for disabled people, and considers whether it acts as a means to reduce their social exclusion.

The study surveys the views and experiences of disabled people, both Internet users and non-users. Topics covered include: what the Internet is used for; use of and difficulties with assistive devices (special equipment and adaptations needed by some disabled people in order to use computers); how people learn to use the Internet; views of website accessibility; advantages and disadvantages of Internet usage.

It also explores participants' restrictions on using the Internet, and people's reasons for not using it. There has been little previous research in this area, but the authors review the existing literature. The report finds that many practical problems - such as the cost of training, finding appropriate assistive devices, website accessibility - all inhibit Internet opportunities for many disabled people.

Publication Type: Report
Additional Information: © 2004 City University London
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
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