Building a Participant Pool for Internal Accessibility Testing

Leader: Amy Deschenes
Team: Vittorio Buchieri, Michele Clopper, Maura Ferrarini, Kris Markman, Kyle Shachmut, Janet Taylor 

Project Overview:
In order to successfully improve Harvard’s broader efforts toward digital accessibility, a greater number of staff members must be engaged in testing and improving technology systems, websites, and other electronic products. Given that some disabilities are low incidence, accessibility testing can be a challenge if the department does not have easy access to staff or students with disabilities. Our project will connect any Harvard affiliate to testers with disabilities in order to improve operational efficiency and increase capacity for testing by expert users.

Project Objectives:
Our proposed solution will address the problem by increasing awareness for the need for accessibility testing and facilitating the testing process. Our project will create a process for recruiting people who use assistive technology to serve as potential accessibility testers for Harvard interfaces. We will build a database of potential testers, establish policies for its use, and pilot the testing process with 5 Harvard web projects. The primary outcome of the project will be a low-cost approach to performing consistent and regular accessibility testing at Harvard.

Achievements: Building a Participant Pool for Internal Accessibility Testing has been able to generate significant interest and aims to increase the size of the participant pool which currently stands at 40 participants. The participant pool will be managed through the User Research Center at Harvard Library. The team intends to improve the payments process with the University Finance departments which will allow for increased promotion across the University.