Digital Inclusion is a term that is rarely explicitly defined. One definition (originally from Washington State University) that matches the 20/20 Trust’s usage is:

Digital Inclusion is social inclusion in the 21st century that ensures individuals and disadvantaged groups have access to, and skills to use, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and are therefore able to participate in and benefit from today’s growing knowledge and information society.

The NZ Government refers to the UK Government’s Digital Inclusion Strategy which states:

“Digital inclusion is often defined in terms of:

  • Digital skills – being able to use computers and the internet. This is important, but a lack of digital skills is not necessarily the only, or the biggest, barrier people face.
  • Connectivity – and access to the internet. People need the right infrastructure but that is only the start.
  • Accessibility – services should be designed to meet all users’ needs, including those dependent on assistive technology to access digital services. Accessibility is a barrier for many people, but digital inclusion is broader.

Each of these definitions addresses a single specific barrier that some, but not all, people and organisations face. There is seldom just one reason why people are digitally excluded, and there is no single approach to solving it.

Digital inclusion is about overcoming all of these challenges, not just one.


Everybody has their own reasons for not being online. We’ve been working with users, support organisations, government departments, local councils and partners from across the public, private and voluntary sector to understand what these might be.

There are 4 main kinds of challenge people face:

  • access – the ability to actually go online and connect to the internet
  • skills – to be able to use the internet
  • motivation – knowing the reasons why using the internet is a good thing
  • trust – the risk of crime, or not knowing where to start to go online

Looking at each in more detail, we can see that digital exclusion involves some significant and wide ranging challenges. When someone has the access, skills, motivation and trust to go online to do things that benefit them day to day, they are digitally capable.”

The map aims to list initiatives and resources that address these barriers and challenges.