Of course we need many more questions answered in this area. Also, for now, the questions are framed in that way because they need to take into account cultural differences. That is a very difficult thing, which you have to handle very carefully. For example, how do you factor in that gambling is illegal in some countries? Framing the questions was actually one of the most difficult parts of designing the survey.
Will you try to fill these gaps in subsequent years?
One of the things I would like to do is for sure add more countries and add more survey questions to cover more of the areas, as well as the negative effects. We also want to work with other organisations that produce data that cover some of the dimensions of the web index and ask them to help us cover more countries. For example, Reporters without Borders produce something called Enemies of the Internet. It is totally descriptive and it covers a relatively small number of countries, meaning we can’t use it. So we need to work with organisations like them to expand the country coverage and try to quantify their results.
Finally, you openly admit you are not a “techie”. Was that a problem?
When I was first asked to construct and produce the index I told the Web Foundation that I wasn’t sure that I was the right person, as I had no clue about the back end of a computer. But they said that was not a problem and, in fact, it was my other skills they needed. I could see things from the point of view of the average user, and the index is targeted at a far wider audience than just techies. I would love to know how to write code and programme, and one day I might learn, but for now, I’m just about managing to keep up with their “special language”.