The role of the WHO ICF as a framework to interpret barriers and to inclusion: visually impaired people’s views and experiences of personal computers
AbstractThis article describes how the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF), 2001, was used as a framework for the design of the interview schedule used in the Network 1000 project. It is argued that the ICF offers a vocabulary to enable visually impaired participants to describe their lives in terms of participation and potential barriers to social inclusion. The article presents interview data from 960 visually impaired people who were surveyed about their use of computers (amongst other things). Results show that computer use is clearly linked with age, with older visually impaired people far less likely to use computers. It is argued that, while technology may offer many benefits (including access to information and a route into employment), many visually impaired people do not see the relevance of ICT, perceive individually based barriers to the use of ICT (e.g. their visual impairment), and perceive socially based barriers to the use of ICT (e.g. cost, availability and accessibility of technology, and issues related to training). Importantly, it appears that different barriers may be more common amongst different groups.