About the Web Index

About the Web Index

The Web Index is designed and produced by the World Wide Web Foundation. It is the world’s first measure of the World Wide Web’s contribution to social, economic and political progress in countries across the world.

By compiling data across many different dimensions of Web health and making it freely available, the Web Index helps to deepen and broaden our understanding of how countries can maximize the impact of the Web. Taking the format of a annual country ranking, it will eventually allow for comparisons of trends over time and the benchmarking of performance across countries, continuously improving our understanding of the Web’s value for humanity.

First released in 2012, It provides an objective and robust evidence base to inform public dialogue on the steps needed for societies to leverage greater value from the Web. The Index combines existing secondary data with new primary data derived from an evidence-based expert researcher assessment survey. It covers 86 countries and scores are given in the areas of access; freedom and openness; relevant content; and empowerment.

Why Create an Index?

Much of the Web research that exists measures quantifiable metrics, such as the number of Web users, speed of access to the Web, the number of broadband subscribers, or covers particular single-dimensions such as economic impact or censorship. Sir Tim Berners-Lee recognised that in order to measure progress to developing a more open and meaningful Web better, and for the Web to attain its full potential as a transformative tool that can improve living standards, reduce conflict and improve governance and well-being, it is important to understand how the Web impacts social, developmental, economic and political dimensions as well.

The results can be utilized by decision makers across the public and private sectors, as well as academia, NGOs, the technology industry, and ordinary members of the public.

What Issues does the Web Index Cover?

The Web Index assesses the Web’s contribution to social, economic and political progress in countries around the world.

The Index measures and ranks:

  • Universal Access: This sub-Index measures whether countries have invested in affordable access to high quality internet infrastructure, as well as investing in the education and skills citizens need to use the Web well.
  • Freedom and Openness: This sub-Index assesses the extent to which citizens enjoy rights to information, opinion, expression, safety and privacy online.
  • Relevant Content and use: This sub-Index maps both Web use by citizens and the content available to citizens in each country, with an emphasis on the extent to which different stakeholders can access information that is relevant to them, in the language that they are most comfortable using and via platforms and channels that are widely available.
  • Empowerment: This sub-Index aims to assess the difference that the Web is making to people, and the extent to which use of the Web by stakeholders is fostering positive change in four key areas: society, economy, politics and environment.

by World Wide Web Foundation