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a11y, ally, and online:
Service Design for Blackboard Ally
Fiona MacNeill | f.macneill@brighton.ac.uk | @fmacneill
Univers...
This presentation is about
Blackboard Ally…
…it is also about the services and people that
operate around Blackboard Ally
Concepts used in this presentation
Service Design
Big picture mindset
Before, during, and after use
Operations around the ...
What we will
cover…
a11y
How we approached accessibility prior to having Ally
ally
How we implemented a service design for...
Tool Used: Proto Persona (Gothelf, 2013)
University of Brighton
Four campuses on
the South Coast of
England
Behaviours and...
a11y
~ a [ccessibilit] y
~ a [string of 11 characters] y
The emotion line of when
ally
~ an add-on for Blackboard VLE.
Blackboard Ally improves the experience for all
users by providing alternative docume...
Blackboard Ally was announced on 21st May 2020
for launch on 17th August 2020
• Used Global Accessibility Awareness
Day (G...
We were totally ready for Blackboard Ally
Overall accessibility per month – Ally statistics for historic content 2018-2021...
Our to-do list
1. Who | Identify and communicate with stakeholders.
Win over hearts and minds
2. What and When | Plan for ...
Tool used: Task Scenarios (e.g., McCloskey, 2014)
Task scenarios are
itemised stories about a
specific tasks in context
He...
to-do
1.1 Identify and communicate
with stakeholders…
The Task Analysis uncovered an
opportunity to establish a referral
p...
Task Scenarios: Students
Scenario 1:
Download content from the
LMS/VLE in a different format
Scenario 2:
Ask for help to r...
to-do
1.2 Identify and
communicate
with
stakeholders…
An opportunity to build and strengthen
internal collaborations
to-do
1.3 …Win over hearts and minds
Key points
Minimise
tracking/auditing due
to perception as
surveillance
Create a core...
to-do
2. Plan for a phased roll out of
Blackboard Ally
Two phases were
planned with the ethos
of improvement first,
statis...
The Course Accessibility Summary
Consider how a service sits
alongside other software
and services
Delayed the ‘Course
Acc...
online
~ the challenge of working online and reaching
people during a pandemic even when you are
a technical person
to-do
3. Deliver training
completely online
with self-service
options
Via MS Teams but using
Blackboard Learn with task
sc...
The Ally Effect
Ally has helped us to
achieve and maintain a
higher level of
accessibility across
LMS/VLE page content
and...
Communications goals for Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2021
• To raise awareness of accessibility and why it is impor...
Objectives for
GAAD 2021 for
Staff
Increase attendance at our training
sessions
Increase conversion rates by at least 5%
(...
Objectives for
GAAD 2021 for
Students
Increase conversion rates by at least 2%
(alternative formats window launches : down...
Global Accessibility Day (GAAD) 2021
20th May 2021
Participant effort:
Low, Mod., High
Before During After
Tweets, micro t...
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Engagement with Instructor Feedback over time
22/3/21 – 21/05/21
Instructor Feedback Launches
Fixes
...
Results for students
22 April – 21 May:
(alternative formats window
launches : downloads)
=64%
+7%
as compared to 57%
benc...
Summary – Top tips that work
1. Focus on tool-based tasks and values to stay concise
2. Craft consistent and simple messag...
We all do better when accessibility is better.
Accessibility is better when we all do it.
Thank you for coming!
Fiona MacNeill
f.macneill@brighton.ac.uk
@fmacneill on Twitter
Blogging at:
blogs.brighton.ac.uk/ele...
Methods and tools we used
• Proto Personae
• Information Architecture principles
• Task scenarios
• Customer value mapping...
References [1/4]
Advance HE (2020) Equality and higher education - staff statistical report 2020. Available at:
https://ww...
References [2/4]
Gothelf, J. (2013) Lean UX applying lean principles to improve user experience. Edited by Seiden, J.
Seba...
References [3/4]
Office for Students (2020) Equality, diversity and student characteristics data. Available at:
https://ww...
References [4/4]
Student population (2020) University of Brighton. Available at: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/about-
us/stat...
Ally, A11y and Online - Fiona MacNeill
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Presented at Blackboard World 2021 on 14th July.

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Ally, A11y and Online - Fiona MacNeill

  1. 1. a11y, ally, and online: Service Design for Blackboard Ally Fiona MacNeill | f.macneill@brighton.ac.uk | @fmacneill University of Brighton
  2. 2. This presentation is about Blackboard Ally… …it is also about the services and people that operate around Blackboard Ally
  3. 3. Concepts used in this presentation Service Design Big picture mindset Before, during, and after use Operations around the goal/s Relationships between activities User Experience Design Big picture down to the minutiae During use Functions to support the goal/s Individual activities Methods + Tools I am a learning technologist, but I am also a trained user-centred designer. I take inspiration from Service Design and User Experience Design.
  4. 4. What we will cover… a11y How we approached accessibility prior to having Ally ally How we implemented a service design for Blackboard Ally at University of Brighton online How we drove engagement through online training, guidance, and outreach There will be time for questions at the end Jill and Tucker are on-hand in the chat and Q&A
  5. 5. Tool Used: Proto Persona (Gothelf, 2013) University of Brighton Four campuses on the South Coast of England Behaviours and Actions • Emphasis on Inclusive Practice • Widening participation a crucial driver • Management buy-in for auditing • Recognised need to improve resources Demographic and Psychographic Details • Students: 18,987 | Staff: 2,600 • Schools 13 (moving to 7) • Disabled students 21% Learning disability: 13% or 1 in 8 • Disabled staff 8.8% Needs and Pain Points • Student communications and support • Limited staff resource for accessibility • The pandemic: academic staff burnout • Mismatch between expectations and outcomes
  6. 6. a11y ~ a [ccessibilit] y ~ a [string of 11 characters] y
  7. 7. The emotion line of when
  8. 8. ally ~ an add-on for Blackboard VLE. Blackboard Ally improves the experience for all users by providing alternative document formats. Blackboard Ally provides feedback to staff so that accessibility can continually improve.
  9. 9. Blackboard Ally was announced on 21st May 2020 for launch on 17th August 2020 • Used Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) as an opportunity for outreach. Inspired by Govt. Digital Service (Fry, 2020) • Announced Blackboard Ally via a webinar on Microsoft Teams and gave a demo • Celebrated GAAD via Twitter, Periscope and an MS Teams Escape the Room game 5,970 Tweet Impressions (21 May) 17 x the Twitter traffic of a typical day
  10. 10. We were totally ready for Blackboard Ally Overall accessibility per month – Ally statistics for historic content 2018-2021 Based on the average of the accessibility scores of all content items that were added during each month 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Trough Accessibility Training (July 2019) GAAD 2020 Bb Ally
  11. 11. Our to-do list 1. Who | Identify and communicate with stakeholders. Win over hearts and minds 2. What and When | Plan for a phased roll out of Blackboard Ally 3. Where and How | Deliver training completely online with self-service options
  12. 12. Tool used: Task Scenarios (e.g., McCloskey, 2014) Task scenarios are itemised stories about a specific tasks in context Helpful for finding pinch points in an existing workflow as the basis for support and training design Scenario 1: Check existing documents: Scanned PDFs without OCR Practical Goal: Learn what is wrong with the document using the Ally report tool and resolve the problem. Context: On a personal computer connected to the Internet using a web browser at home. User will login to the VLE and open their module… User/s: Academic staff; Professional staff who create student-facing resources.
  13. 13. to-do 1.1 Identify and communicate with stakeholders… The Task Analysis uncovered an opportunity to establish a referral pathway to our libraries. Method used: Customer value chain also known as an ecosystem map (Kalbach, 2016, p. 86).
  14. 14. Task Scenarios: Students Scenario 1: Download content from the LMS/VLE in a different format Scenario 2: Ask for help to report an issue with a document
  15. 15. to-do 1.2 Identify and communicate with stakeholders… An opportunity to build and strengthen internal collaborations
  16. 16. to-do 1.3 …Win over hearts and minds Key points Minimise tracking/auditing due to perception as surveillance Create a core message in your own words Core Message – Three Things you Need to know about Ally 1. Ally saves time by automatically creating alternative document formats 2. Ally supports the access needs of all students 3. Ally provides feedback which is only visible to instructors to help improve the accessibility of content in My Studies
  17. 17. to-do 2. Plan for a phased roll out of Blackboard Ally Two phases were planned with the ethos of improvement first, statistics later Planned to delay release of the ‘Course Accessibility Report’ until Dec 2020
  18. 18. The Course Accessibility Summary Consider how a service sits alongside other software and services Delayed the ‘Course Accessibility Report’ further to May 2021 and renamed it ‘Accessibility Summary’ Report ~ Reporting = Tracking
  19. 19. online ~ the challenge of working online and reaching people during a pandemic even when you are a technical person
  20. 20. to-do 3. Deliver training completely online with self-service options Via MS Teams but using Blackboard Learn with task scenarios With companion session: ‘Creating Accessible Digital Documents’
  21. 21. The Ally Effect Ally has helped us to achieve and maintain a higher level of accessibility across LMS/VLE page content and uploads By February 2021 improvement had plateaued Overall accessibility Jul-Feb in 2018, 2019, 2020 Semester 1 (Oct-Jan) to Semester 2 (Feb-June) transition – Based on monthly averages 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb 2020/21 2019/20 2018/19
  22. 22. Communications goals for Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2021 • To raise awareness of accessibility and why it is important. • To highlight and remind people about Blackboard Ally. • To provide practical tips for accessibility adjustments in university tools and software. • Link to the bigger picture of accessibility: legal standards for institution, and future employer expectations for students. Our new to-do drive and sustain engagement
  23. 23. Objectives for GAAD 2021 for Staff Increase attendance at our training sessions Increase conversion rates by at least 5% (instructor feedback panel launch : no. of fixes)
  24. 24. Objectives for GAAD 2021 for Students Increase conversion rates by at least 2% (alternative formats window launches : downloads) Benchmark period 22 March to 21 April = 57%
  25. 25. Global Accessibility Day (GAAD) 2021 20th May 2021 Participant effort: Low, Mod., High Before During After Tweets, micro tutorial videos Weekly blog posts Online pledge Event attendance Collaboration with University of Sussex Workshop attendance Fix Your Content Day
  26. 26. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Engagement with Instructor Feedback over time 22/3/21 – 21/05/21 Instructor Feedback Launches Fixes Course Accessibility Report Launches Results for staff Increase attendance at our training sessions – no change 22 April – 21 May: no increase in conversion rate (launch : fix) Launched Accessibility Summary 7 May 2021
  27. 27. Results for students 22 April – 21 May: (alternative formats window launches : downloads) =64% +7% as compared to 57% benchmark +2% goal exceeded 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 Alternative formats usage over time 22/3/21 – 21/05/21 Launches Downloads
  28. 28. Summary – Top tips that work 1. Focus on tool-based tasks and values to stay concise 2. Craft consistent and simple messages 3. Opportunities to collaborate are chances to remind and refine 4. Celebrate and cherish people who attend workshops/events 5. Iterate, iterate, iterate 6. Plan how you will continue to drive and sustain engagement 7. Staff awareness has a bearing on student engagement
  29. 29. We all do better when accessibility is better. Accessibility is better when we all do it.
  30. 30. Thank you for coming! Fiona MacNeill f.macneill@brighton.ac.uk @fmacneill on Twitter Blogging at: blogs.brighton.ac.uk/elearningteam fionamacneill.co.uk/blog
  31. 31. Methods and tools we used • Proto Personae • Information Architecture principles • Task scenarios • Customer value mapping • Project planning template and interactive whiteboard (Mural template) • Usable and context relevant language • Data driven insights
  32. 32. References [1/4] Advance HE (2020) Equality and higher education - staff statistical report 2020. Available at: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/equality-higher-education-statistical-report-2020 (Accessed: 27 June 2021). Advance HE (2020) Equality and higher education - student statistical report 2020. Available at: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/equality-higher-education-statistical-report-2020 (Accessed: 27 June 2021). Brand, S. (1995) How buildings learn: what happens after they’re built. New York, NY: Penguin Books. Fry, R. (2020) ‘What happened on Global Accessibility Day at GDS’, Government Digital Service Blog, 2 June. Available at: https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2020/06/02/what-happened-on-global-accessibility- awareness-day-at-gds/ (Accessed: 4 July 2021).
  33. 33. References [2/4] Gothelf, J. (2013) Lean UX applying lean principles to improve user experience. Edited by Seiden, J. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media Inc. Information about different types of disability (2020) University of Brighton (unpublished). Available at: https://staff.brighton.ac.uk/ss/dd/Pages/information.aspx (Accessed: 24 March 2021). Kalbach, J. (2016) Mapping experiences – a guide to creating value through journeys, blueprints, and diagrams. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media Inc. Mapping from students in higher education publication to he student data tables (no date) HESA. Available at: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/releases/mapping (Accessed: 24 March 2021). McCloskey , M. (2014) ‘Task scenarios for usability testing’, Nielsen Norman Group, 12 January. Available at: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/task-scenarios-usability-testing/ (Accessed: 24 March 2021).
  34. 34. References [3/4] Office for Students (2020) Equality, diversity and student characteristics data. Available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/equality-diversity-and-student- characteristics-data/official-statistics/ (Accessed: 27 June 2021). Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018, no. 952. Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/952/contents/enacted (Accessed: 31 May 2021). Rosenfeld, L., Morville, P. and Arango, J. (2015) Information architecture: for the web and beyond. Fourth edition. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc. Staff equalities monitoring report 18/19 (2020) University of Brighton Equality and Diversity (unpublished). Available at: https://staff.brighton.ac.uk/hr/equality/pubdocs/Internal- staff/Internal%20Staff_Equalities_monitoring_report_1819%20FINAL.pdf
  35. 35. References [4/4] Student population (2020) University of Brighton. Available at: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/about- us/statistics-and-legal/facts-and-figures/student-population.aspx (Accessed: 24 March 2021). Resources All of University of Brighton’s GAAD related blog posts Wakelet board for GAAD in 2020 | Wakelet board for GAAD in 2021

Presented at Blackboard World 2021 on 14th July.

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