Greetings! Caitlyn A. Bukaty here sharing some exciting insights with you during Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations Topical Interest Group week.
Today I want to offer a few ideas my fellow evaluators might find helpful in making their evaluations more accessible to a wide range of stakeholders. This information comes from my experience collecting feedback from young adults with intellectual disabilities who participated in a workplace problem-solving intervention, but one of my favorite features of these techniques is how helpful they are to a wide range of stakeholders! This concept is known as Universal Design, and the premise is that an option you might offer to one groups of stakeholders, for example those who have difficulty reading, actually makes accessing your evaluation materials easier for other groups, such as stakeholders for whom English is not their first language, or those with visual impairments.
Without further ado, let’s explore some ideas to help your evaluations reach for the stars in terms of accessibility!
- Add pictures – A well-connected photo can help stakeholders link a question to a certain event, or clarify a response.
In this example, a series of question are linked to a certain part of the intervention using a picture of the person with whom participants interacted:
Here responses are clarified with “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” symbols
- Go digital – Offering traditionally “print” materials in digital format opens up a universe of accessibility for stakeholders. Users can access screen reader software, text-to-speech features, and even translation applications to better understand the material. This is even more effective if materials are offered on a mobile friendly platform, mobile web access is widely reported as overtaking desktop computer use.
- Be all ears – Prepare to accept responses from your stakeholders in a variety of creative ways. Offering stakeholders multiple options for response may mean gathering responses from those who would not have been able to participate via a single mode of response. Written or typed responses to forced choice and open ended questions may be traditional, but what if someone wants to dictate a response…can you make a scribe available in person or via telephone to support his or her participation? How about a participant wishing to record a response? This can be achieved via a voice or video recorder on many mobile devices. Depending on the question a pictorial response, such as indicating time spent on a circle graph, might even encourage respondents to participate.
- Creative Commons Zero (CC0) Imagery – This is the name given to images free from copyrighting. In addition to taking or requesting photos specific to the topic of your evaluation there are resources linking you directly to CCO images such as Pixabay and Unsplash. Web search platforms, such as Google Images also allow you to specify reuse policies during an imae search.
- Web-based Survey Platforms – These are useful for creating digital surveys or questionaires. Many are mobile friendly, and several platform offer free features or use. Try SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, QuestionPro, or Google Forms.
- The idea behind today’s post is to maximize stakeholder participation by inviting them to take part in an evaluation in whatever way is most convenient and effective. To learn more about universal design geared towards materials development and response check out the Universal Design for Learning materials offered through CAST.
The American Evaluation Association is hosting the Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations TIG (DUP) Week. The contributions all week are focused on engaging DUP in your evaluation efforts. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.