Policymaking 2.0—Using New Technologies to Inform Disability Policy Michael Reardon, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Dept. of Labor Hope Adler, Concepts, Inc. Katia Albanese, Concepts, Inc. Lee Crank, Devis March 21, 2014 ODEP & Its Partners in Policy ODEP’s policymaking efforts don’t take place in a vacuum Constantly engaging partners and stakeholders from other federal agencies, nonprofits and NGOs to address barriers to the employment of people with disabilities – including inaccessible technology New approaches to employment & accessible technology: Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) ePolicyWorks Initiative Social Media Accessibility Working Group Online National Dialogues Changing the Way We Do Business The New Federal Government: Open, Transparent and Participatory Expanding Beyond Information Sharing to Policy Development Information Sharing – Ensuring public better access to agency information – Providing opportunities to provide general input Policy Development – Ensuring meaningful citizen engagement and input from critical stakeholders – Providing opportunities for stakeholder and interagency collaboration Public Engagement How Do We Define ‘Public’? Everyone in the US? - 310 million Americans? Our constituencies? - 38.5 million SSI recipients? - 26 million employers? Our stakeholders? - 200-300 national issue ‘players’? BORPSAT Bunch Of the Right People Sitting Around the Table BORPSAVT Bunch Of the Right People Sitting Around the Virtual Table BORPSAVT The Virtual Table is: – Much bigger – Less reliant on logistics – More accessible – Much cheaper – Available all day Adopting New Technologies Open, Transparent, Participatory… …and Inclusive Inaccessible technology can exclude large segments of our constituency Educate technology providers about developing accessible products Encourage policymakers to demand and use accessible products Virtual Tools for Policymakers Team Collaboration Workspaces – Microsoft SharePoint, Truonex, Igloo, Cloud HQ, Glasscubes, Weboffice, Teambox, etc. Document Sharing/Collaborative Writing – Microsoft SharePoint, Google Docs, PBWiki, Microsoft Docs, Hackpad, etc. Event Scheduling – Google Calendar, Doodle.com, etc. File Sharing – Hightail, Dropbox, senduit, etc. Group Communications – Google Hangouts, Yammer, Tibbr, Chatter, etc. Instant Messaging/Chat – Skype, AOL IM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Chat, Jabber, Windows Live Messenger, etc. Private Social Networking Platforms – Googlegroups, Yahoogroups, Ning, etc. Web Conferencing – Elluminate, Adobe Connect, Webex, etc. Crowdsourcing – Challenge.gov, IdeaScale, Crowdhall, User Voice, Bright Idea, Idea Bounty, ChallengePost, Tongal, etc. Approach to Accessibility & Usability Important to ODEP to aim for the most accessible and usable experience for everyone Be upfront and honest Test continuously and always continue to improve Provide ongoing support and training Listen to our users and provide open communication Learn from others and share what we know Work with vendors Stay ahead of the curve; don’t be afraid to try What is ePolicyWorks? A new, collaborative approach to federal policymaking that leverages Web-based technology, stakeholder involvement and real-time information sharing Empowers national experts to shape policy and address specific barriers to employment faced by people with disabilities Establishes a model for future national policy-building efforts Serves to support the federal government’s pledge to modernize government, heighten transparency and maximize efficiency Access to productivity and crowdsourcing tools, including online workspaces and dialogues What is Crowdsourcing? Coined by journalist Jeff Howe in the 2006 Wired article, “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” Crowdsourcing is the practice of soliciting ideas or contributions from stakeholders to solve problems, make decisions, etc. using online tools Commonly referred to as “online dialogues” or “virtual town halls” Connects agencies to stakeholders/constituents Provides cost benefits and efficiencies Serves as an outreach and awareness tool Benefits of Using Online Tools Overcome organizational challenges - access to files and conversation streams anywhere, any time Enhance communication - tailored discussion forums, social networking features and collaboration tools Increase productivity - manage document sharing, tracking, storage and versioning Save money - online vs. in-person; re-usability of outreach processes Increase inclusiveness of outreach - national dialogues and online discussions for engagement with federal partners and stakeholders Some of the Challenges Concern about adopting new technology - Training - Accessibility and usability issues - System compatibility Resistance to changing business practices - Lack of participation from the entire group (adoption model) - Inconsistent usage - Need for leadership involvement across partner agencies - Lack of control Requires leadership - Need for management support - Need for specific outcomes and accountability A New Policy Development Model Examples of Accessibility “Fixes” Microsoft SharePoint Collaborative Workspaces: Set “More Accessible” mode as the default Improved site navigation and added help features Added descriptive labels Revised table formats Added alt tags and removed non-tagable tool tips Removed unreadable check boxes Disabled pop up boxes Removed disabled ribbon features Simplified forms and limited mandatory fields Integrating IdeaScale into ePolicyWorks Integrated crowdsourcing tool to conduct online national dialogues, involving thousands of participants and generating hundreds of ideas, which are vetted and used to inform policymaking efforts Available for use by ePolicyWorks member groups and ODEP Successfully worked with IdeaScale to develop an accessible and usable template Also collaborating with DOT - To share best practices, technical solutions/ improvements and other helpful ideas for successful dialogues - To offer online dialogues to VTCLI grantees for use at the local level Plan to share accessible template with GSA for cross-agency availability How IdeaScale Works Decide on the issue and present the challenge for ideas to stakeholders through targeted outreach Set up a participatory, self-moderated community within IdeaScale and decide on the window of time for participation Interact directly with the community that is formed around the ideas Upon registering with usernames and passwords, visitors to the dialogue submit ideas Visitors also vote, post comments and communicate the status of an idea through email, Twitter or Facebook The best ideas bubble up Examples of Accessibility “Fixes” IdeaScale Crowdsourcing Platform: Increased font sizes and color contrast Used CSS to hide unnecessary functionality within the template that hindered usability for those using assistive technology Improved the read order of the voting features Corrected keyboard focus when clicking “Forgot Password” Removed unnecessary graphics Added alt text to "Close Window" throughout the template Improved dropdown menu behavior throughout the template Required numbers for all numeric form fields Inserted a success message to alert participants that their actions were performed successfully Customized automated emails and notifications to provide instructions and to improve ease of use FPT Online Dialogue May 13 to May 27, 2013 Question: - What legislative and regulatory changes need to happen to effectively implement employment, education, health and human and social security services for youth and young adults with disabilities under public law? Campaigns/Categories: - Employment - Education - Health and Human Services - Social Security FPT Online Dialogue Results 3,387 total registrants - 5% federal - 11% state/local - 18% nonprofit - 24% other - 42% did not report 355 total ideas 1,618 comments 9,887 votes ASAN-PEAT Online Dialogue December 9 to December 20, 2013 Questions: How can websites be improved to make it easier to apply for jobs or do work for your job? What ideas do you have for making online job-related tools easier to use for everyone? Topics/Categories: Looking for Jobs Applying for Jobs Finding Information (on the web) Doing Your Job Networking & Using Social Media ASAN-PEAT Dialogue Results 333 total registrants 19% Self-Advocate 17% Employment Professional 22% Disability Advocate 10% Government 26% Other 42 total ideas 132 comments 343 votes NCD-ODEP Social Media Accessibility March 17 to April 4, 2014 Questions What are some creative solutions you've used to make social media more accessible for you? What are your recommendations to social media companies on how to create more accessible features and services? Topics/Categories: Socializing Solutions News & Information Education Employment NCD-ODEP Dialogue Registration Are you a person with a disability? Yes No Do not want to disclose How important is social media in your daily life? Very important Somewhat important Not at all important Please let us know how you use social media (e.g., for your job, to connect with friends, etc. ) What do social media companies need to know about users with disabilities and their experiences? http://ncd-odep.socialmedia.epolicyworks.org What’s Next? Turning Input into Action Dialogue Results/Data Analysis Action Connect with ePolicyWorks Subscribe to our newsletters & updates about online dialogues at www.ePolicyWorks.org Follow us & engage with us on Twitter (@ePolicyWorks) Contact us at [email protected] Thank you!!!