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Strategies for a digitally inclusive South Africa

As part of the South Africa in the Digital Age (SADA) initiative, the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and the Pathways for Prosperity Commission hosted a series of workshops to develop a strategy for a digitally inclusive South Africa.

Every1Mobile’s Business Development Director, Soraiya Verjee, was invited to participate due to our involvement in and specialised knowledge of the sector – particularly within developing countries. 

The conversations provided direct input to the initiative’s strategy primer by addressing digital infrastructure, ICT usage, affordability, competition and regulatory aspects of digital access in South Africa.

Verjee’s unique insights helped formulate a strategy that is truly inclusive and considerate of the digitally and economically disenfranchised. 

4 considerations for a digitally inclusive South Africa

Design for a data-conscious audience

According to recent studies, South African data prices are not the highest within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), but users of the most popular providers, Vodacom and MTN, still pay a steep price. Data costs aren’t going to change any time soon and we need to make sure we are designing our sites to take data costs and poor bandwidth into account.

Design for all devices

While recent reports suggest that more than half of South Africans report owning a smartphone, many still use feature phones and these users should not be left behind, we need to design for both feature phone and smartphone users.

Design for the most vulnerable

Digital technology presents a unique opportunity to include people with disabilities in the economy and set them up for success. Every1Mobile is able to implement accessibility features and educates mobile users on how to navigate accessibility settings on their phones.

Design to be locally relevant

Content must be consumable not just in terms of length but also in terms of relevance and language. So, using localisation to speak to all South Africa’s people, across cultures and languages, is key to success. Human-centred design is the only possible way to successfully enable inclusivity in the digital age.

We need to engage people in the way they want and on the device they already own, says Verjee. This is the only way to ensure meaningful interactions and engagement, and ultimately, meaningful change.

Read the full article here.