“I never thought I could get health information from the Internet!”: Unexpected uses of an Internet website designed to enable Ethiopian immigrants with low/no literacy skills to browse health information

Nurit Guttman, Eimi Lev, Elad Segev, Seffefe Ayecheh, Limor Ziv, Fekado Gadamo, Nivi Dayan, Gal Yavetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Internet is a major source for health information but contributes to the digital divide and health disparities. Minorities with low literacy skills are at a particular disadvantage in obtaining online information. A website was created with health information presented through videos in Amharic and an interface that does not require reading skills to enable users with low/no literacy to navigate among topics. In all, 225 Israeli Ethiopian immigrants were asked to use the website, most with low/no literacy skills. Participants were excited about it, but those with low/no literacy felt they needed support and training for future use. Some felt it was too difficult. The findings point to unexpected potential sociocultural uses for the website for immigrants with different levels of literacy skills. The analysis yielded two user typologies that can help identify user needs and segmentation, a culture-centered adaptation of the technology acceptance model, and implications for communication infrastructure theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2272-2295
Number of pages24
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume20
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Communication infrastructure theory
  • Internet
  • computer use
  • culture-centered approach
  • digital divide
  • generation gap
  • health information
  • immigrants
  • low literacy
  • minorities
  • technology acceptance model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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