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
 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
 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
 Expanding Beyond Information Sharing to Policy
 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
– Providing opportunities for stakeholder and interagency
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’?
Bunch Of the Right People Sitting Around the Table
Bunch Of the Right People Sitting Around the Virtual Table
 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
– 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,
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
 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
 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
 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
 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
 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?
What’s Next? Turning Input into Action
Connect with ePolicyWorks
 Subscribe to our newsletters & updates about
online dialogues at www.ePolicyWorks.org
 Follow us & engage with us on Twitter
 Contact us at [email protected]
Thank you!!!
Related flashcards
Create flashcards