该"digital divide" refers to the fact that certain parts of the population have substantially更好的机会，可以从新经济中受益than other parts of the population. Most commentators view this in purely economic terms. However, two other types of divide will have much greater impact in the years to come.
Stage 1: Economic Divide
在其最简单的形式中，数字鸿沟表现在某些人不能买到电脑的事实中。虽然政治家总是谈论这一点，但与每周过往的日子相比，它不关会 - 至少在工业化世界中。我们应该认识到，对于真正贫穷的发展中国家，计算机将仍将持续到20年或更长时间的平均公民覆盖范围。
在北美，欧洲，澳大利亚和亚洲的先进国家等地区，计算机成本不再是一个问题。戴尔cheapest computer costs $379（带有监视器），与Macintosh加上我曾经写过我的博士学位大约500倍。论文。虽然有几个人甚至不能买379美元，但在另外五年中，电脑将是其当前价格的四分之一。如果我们只等待五年，所有社会问题会消失。
Stage 2: Usability Divide
几乎40% of the population has lower literacy skills然而，很少有网站遵循指南写作低扫盲用户。即使是目标较贫穷的公民的政府网站通常是在一个需要大学学位理解的水平上写的。英国政府在简化其直接的大部分直接网站信息方面做了一些良好的工作，但即使它至少需要高中教育就可以轻易阅读。
较低的扫盲是网络的biggest accessibility problem, but nobody cares about this massive user group.
Senior citizens face thesecond-biggest accessibility problem，但再次对该指南几乎没有兴趣为旧用户制作网站。公司甚至没有借口能源部sn't pay to cater to this audience, because retirees are rich these days. Even though seniors are the main remaining source of growth in Internet use, companies are still endlessly fascinated by young users and ignore older, richer users who would be much more loyal customers -- if only someone bothered to sell to them.
Whereas the economic divide is closing rapidly, I see little progress on the usability divide. Usability is improving for higher-end users. For this group, websites get easier every year, generating vast profits for site owners. Because they now follow moree-commerce user experienceguidelines, companies that sell online typically have转换率of around 2%, which is twice the conversion rate of the bubble years. That's all great news for high-end users, but the less-skilled 40% of users have seen little in the way of usability improvement. We know how to help these users — we're simply not doing it.
Stage 3: Empowerment Divide
We have the knowledge needed to close the usability divide, and I remain hopeful that we'll get the job done. The empowerment divide, however, is the hard one: even if computers and the Internet were extraordinarily easy to use, not everybody would make full use of the opportunities that such technology affords.
在研究人们如何为我的研讨会使用搜索引擎最佳Web UX Design Guidelines，我们发现很多用户不知道如何使用搜索to truly master the Web. People don't understand advanced search features, they rarely employ query reformulation, and manyuncritically select the first search results。Also, many users don't understand how search engines prioritize their listings, and some users don't even know that the euphemistic label "sponsored links" refers to paid advertisements. (For more info, see消费者报告的研究of what users know about search ads.)
因为他们缺乏对自己手中的事实和技巧，所以有些用户仍然是彼此决定的怜悯。例如，人们有时接受由计算机供应商或ISP选择的默认主页，而不是选择更适合其需求的默认主页。同样，这意味着用户的注意力可以像羊一样销售以屠宰，如折扣所示搜索引擎付费电脑供应商millions of dollars to be the default setting on shipping PCs.
Similarly, some users limit themselves to "free" Web applications that display ads. What such users don't realize is that better applications (more appropriate, powerful, and liberating ones) are available at a cost that's far less than他们浪费的时间的价值努力不要看广告。
Prospects for Bridge Building
该Internet can be an empowering tool that lets people find good deals, manage vendors, and control their finances and investments. But it can just as easily be an alienating environment where people are cheated. Members of the Internet elite don't realize the extent to which less-skilled users are left out of many of the advancements they cheer and enjoy.
Ultimately, I'm extremely optimistic about theeconomic divide，在工业化国家迅速消失。该usability dividewill take longer to close, but at least we know how to handle it — it's simply a matter of deciding to do so. I'm very pessimistic about theempowerment divide, however, which I expect will only grow more severe in the future.