Defining Functional Illiteracy to Empower Inclusive Technology Design


Limited literacy presents a significant challenge in HCI research, yet the field lacks consistent definitions and measurement criteria. Researchers often interchange terms such as 'functional illiterates,' 'low literates,' and 'semi-literates,' further complicating the field. This paper conducts a systematic literature review (SLR) of 33 HCI studies, revealing concerns about the absence of a definition in 41% of the studies and the lack of measurement technique in 74%. Based on the results from our SLR and relevant research beyond HCI, we propose the following work-in-progress definition. 'Functional illiterates are motivated adults with some familiarity with text but insufficient to fully comprehend meanings and low skills in the measured digital skill, with enough language proficiency in the study language if they are literate in their native language. This understanding, coupled with addressing the identified issues, will empower the HCI4D community to design more inclusive technology solutions for functionally illiterate users in developing countries.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Event Title: 4th African Human Computer Interaction Conference
Event Type: Other
Event Location: South Africa
Event Dates: 2023-11-27 - 2023-12-01
Last Modified: 27 Dec 2023 10:14
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2023 09:23
PURE Output Type: Poster
Published Date: 2023
Authors: Mohammed, Khadijah Danjuma
Uren, Victoria (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1303-5574)
Joel-Edgar, Sian
Omonedo, Priscilla (ORCID Profile 0009-0006-4729-1492)



Version: Accepted Version

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