What do public access venue users use computers for?

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!