Online Accessibility

GENERAL: for all kinds of accessibility issues

Real-Life Cases

Elderly in urban areas are less likely to be equipped with the necessary hardware. Elderly tend to need more help. Younger people are quicker to disengage. https://medium.com/@PaulVittles/digital-deliberative-participative-democracy-the-future-is-here-now-9e7746fa9fdb

Democracy Co (Australia): test of equipment on the night before the assembly, along with a happy hour

Forum by the Rev. Gregg Kaufman: A week before the forum materials were sent out which included an issue guide and step by step zoom/ computer software instructions with pictures. https://www.nifi.org/en/maura-casey-common-ground-action-cga-and-zoom-technologies-deliberation-era-covid-19

Ideas

Use reimbursement / panelist care budget (e.g., food, transport) for tech. Do not assume virtual projects will necessarily be more/less expensive — in some cases, more; in some cases, less. Budget for and organize a substantial team of one-on-one tech support for participants who need it. (Amount of need will depend on local context.) Marcin/Poland: SKILLS TRAINING PHASE (3-4 weeks – not just how to be a participant. How to connect, How to mute and unmute…) ==> “Mock up Citizen Assembly” use a not related topic, but still relevant

Technologies

Technology Team to support

Strategies for laptop hardware accessibility

Real-Life Cases

Democracy Co (Australia): full-time tech person who was present the whole time for any individual tech issues.

DemocracyCo: Have participants download the Help desk app, which will allow the tech help personel take access of the computer if anyone has troubles getting in the Zoom room or their computer in general. https://facilitatingpublicdeliberation.libsyn.com/episode-13-online-deliberation-a-case-study-with-emily-jenke

Ideas

Marcin/Poland: online cuts catering costs ==> money to buy tablets for 20-30 people with internet connection Mail out cheap laptops Lock down laptops (“kiosk” them), so they can only be used for limited purposes, to try to prevent confusion Be sure everyone has a proper headphone+mic. Even the cheapest $20 one makes a huge difference for all participants

Technologies

“- Chromebooks
– donated Linux laptops (partner with NGOs like FreeGeek)”

Strategies for Phone/Smartphone Connectivity

Real-Life Cases

Ideas

Strategies for software accessibility

Real-Life Cases

Zoom – for small group deliberations and (if you have business version > 49 participants), for plenaries. Democracy Co (Australia): they put out instructions to participants on the Monday before the first Friday session — not too far in advance but not too close — with an invitation to contact them with questions (they only got one). These instructions seem like they were really good and clear; might be useful to try to get a copy of them.

Ideas

The lack of one platform that has all of the tools for online deliberation and the need therefore to use a combination of different platforms, which risks losing some people Linn: – Create radically simple interfaces for accessing video calls, shared documents, etc. (e.g., no email signup required) – Longer-term: partner with existing tech NGOs to create open-source, flexible, super-accessible meeting platforms

Strategies for internet accessibility

Real-Life Cases

Australia (via Robin at HD): Some people in places with poor internet/cell connections were brought to hotels with wifi for the several days of the assembly

Ideas

Marcin/Poland: online cuts catering costs ==> money to buy tablets for 20-30 people with internet connection

Strategies for disability accessibility

Real-Life Cases

Ideas

Strategies for Language Accessibility

Real-Life Cases

Ideas

Technologies

Communicating that the process is accessible to everyone; how to motivate reluctant potential participants to respond to the mailing

Real-Life Cases

Ideas

Mel and Pandora: Having more than one person take part. Can shoulder it better. Can manage family space better. Family support for participant? Idea of recruiting families (small clusters of people)

We are an international network of organizations, associations, and individuals that develop, implement, and promote ways to improve democracy, from the local to the global level.

Language