@0 About 5% of computer users have "advanced" literacy, defined as "Some navigation across pages and applications is required to solve the problem. The use of tools (e.g. a sort function) is required to make progress towards the solution. The task may involve multiple steps and operators. The goal of the problem may have to be defined by the respondent, and the criteria to be met may or may not be explicit"

Scheduling a meeting room, or determining "what percentage of the emails sent by John Smith last month were about sustainability" are examples of level-3 tasks.

A quarter of the adult population cannot use computers at all, 14% are at "below level-1" skills, and 30% can only perform very basic level-1 tasks, for a total of 70% of the population which has only very basic skills ... or less.

It's easy to over-estimate the general literacy and numeracy of the population, especially if you yourself are college-educated and work in and/or with information technology.

The United States performs one of the most comprehensive assessments of adult literacy. The key lesson for me is just how limited it is.


The findings correspond highly to a study of adult computer literacy amongst 20 countries by the OECD:

"Skills Matter: Further Results from the Survey of Adult Skills"

Computer usability expert Jacob Nielsen has a discussion of this as well: nngroup.com/articles/computer-

I've discussed this as "The Tyranny of the Minimum Viable User", which both notes that much of the population has very basic skills, and that this also hampers the very small minority who do.


@ajroach42 @alrs @mdhughes

#TyrannyOfTheMinimumViableUser #literacy #AdultLiteracy #ComputerLiteracy #JacobNielsen #UseIT #usability

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