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Abstract

Introduction

Health Websites have been used to improve the health and wellbeing of people since the internet was widely available to the world’s populations. The development of websites by health practitioners, hospitals, and governments has continued to grow over the past 20 years. Due to the restriction of movement and gatherings for populations globally caused by Covid-19, there has been a reliance on health information being disseminated via health websites. However, there has been little investigation into the appropriateness of health websites for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Aim

Review literature on digital resources and evaluate health websites based on functionality, navigation, and usability. Assess the cultrability of the website design from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective and develop some evidence-based principles that can be used when designing and developing health websites for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Method

The literature review explores essential website evaluation criteria and frameworks for assessing design, functionality, navigation, and usability. In addition, literature search for website evaluations of global Indigenous cultural appropriate design and content. The literature search accessed several databases i.e., Emerald, EBSCOhost, Medline Ovid, CINHAL and Google Scholar. Additional searches using Clinical Knowledge Networks Federation accessed through the Townsville Hospital Health Library. The search produced a total of 534 articles, and 14 were deemed relevant for inclusion.

Discussion

The thematic analysis identified that Indigenous global presence on the Internet has been extensive, and the most successful examples were developed in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples. A comprehensive evaluation of website content is paramount in validating the appropriateness of communication and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. A customer/end user model of evaluation is the recommended type of evaluation for websites intending to target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. There are significant challenges for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People navigating digital technology and websites, especially families living in rural and remote areas. These difficulties are not being addressed by services or governments to alleviate these barriers.

Conclusion

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are actively involved in digital technology and websites, however their experience on the internet has been challenging and disempowering. The evidence provided alluded to negative experiences and constant challenges to have a growing presence in the digital space. The studies showed no evidence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s experience of website design, or development, which demonstrated positive outcomes or future developments in this area. Improving health, health literacy and health services will take a collaborative effort across all areas of health and education. Indigenous knowledges in all its forms must be protected and respected through intellectual property and reciprocity with websites and digital resources.

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