Digital inclusion and meaningful access

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Digital Inclusion and accessibility of tech

Facilitator: Maegan from IDEPSCA

   • Maegan: How do we deal with tech. when it comes to accessibility?
       ◦ Most documentation is in English so it is harder for folks without English as their first language to understand and implement technology.
   • Matt: From the Universe of Technology through the Everett Program
       ◦ Accessibility of tech. for smaller nonprofits
   • Ryan: From School on Wheels
       ◦ Became accidental tech. person 
       ◦ Providing tools and everything that the staff needs
       ◦ Uses log in site to log their hours. Wants to make it a stress free process
   • Luis: From Armadillos Search and Rescue
       ◦ Became accidental tech. person 
       ◦ Issue with technology being accessible to our own members
       ◦ Audience is older, so it is harder to implement newer tech.
       ◦ Moving from social media to a new website
   • Addison: From 
       ◦ 
   • Erick: South Los Angeles organization built around forming community
       ◦ Recently into environmental justice and fighting environmental racism
       ◦ Has become the IT person at the office, just helping who he can and fixing what he can
       ◦ Because of the age differences of his organization’s members, the comfort levels of implementing new tech. is variable
   • Maegan: Works with many different types of people, so she has to tailor her work to that
       ◦ Most people don’t know the difference between an app or a website
       ◦ Just because everyone has smartphones doesn’t mean everyone knows how to use one
       ◦ Also became the accidental techy
       ◦ People are not setting up their own accounts, so people really don’t know how to operate their accounts if they need to fix something
       ◦ Although statistics are saying that the digital divide is closing, it is really only measuring whether or not someone has a phone in their pocket, not so much that they know how to use it
       ◦ Big fan of going back to the basics, even if it would take more time
           ▪ Easier to just do paper and work with them to teach them how to use the form or service
   • Erick: Talking about his experience with this
       ◦ Part of organization doing outreach work
       ◦ When doing the outreach work, they were limited by the structure of the outreach set by the company/service that tasked them to do it
       ◦ It doesn’t work for the people they are trying to serve
           ▪ Has to take data on a tablet
           ▪ Applications are crashing
           ▪ Makes working in the field very difficult
       ◦ Reason why they switched back to pen and paper forms
           ▪ Takes more time (two extra days)
           ▪ But it works better for the community at large
   • Maegan: Depending on what power you have in your org, you may not have a say in what applications or programs you use
       ◦ How comfortable are people talking with their leadership about the shortcomings of certain methodologies?
   • Ryan: Speaking on this
       ◦ Had Salesforce system that was being used by org, but switched to a more “accessible” platform
       ◦ Had a consultant build it and they are now stuck with it
           ▪ They built it and they said: “Here, just use it”
           ▪ But it doesn’t work well enough for what they are trying to accomplish
       ◦ How do you go about fighting that beyond having conversations?
   • Matt: Get data to back up your fight for a new methodology
       ◦ Get people’s opinions and survey members of your organization
       ◦ If enough people say that something doesn’t work, then it might change
   • Maegan: Has to be a collective movement and decision to change something before it’s too late
       ◦ It takes more time, but it will be more beneficial in the end
       ◦ Taking the time to frontload training so that everyone is on the same page is what has worked for her org.
       ◦ Why would a website would work better than social media?
   • Luis: A website tells a better story
       ◦ Better when trying to acquire a grant
       ◦ More accessible to a wider population
       ◦ Social media can portray the wrong message or intent and you can get sidelined by advertisements or spam
           ▪ Although it is useful for quick and efficient communication
   • Maegan: Who is it more important to reach?
       ◦ Is it more important to reach the funder or the base?
       ◦ Have a website from 2005 that needs an update, but it’s at the bottom of her list because she’s busy trying to reach her base
       ◦ It is better for her to send her funders to the social media page
   • Erick: Speaking on this
       ◦ Website developer left the organization website half done
       ◦ Couldn’t get anything done with it because of this
       ◦ But eventually, after enough money was saved for it, it was fixed
       ◦ Although now presentable, the website is for everyone else
           ▪ It is not for the core membership; that’s what social media is for
           ▪ Almost acting like a resume at this point
       ◦ Maybe try linking to a chat platform so that you can transition interested parties into a more face to face/direct line of communication
   • Maegan: Challenges of outside devs vs. having internal people; and the language of tech.
       ◦ Importance of documentation
       ◦ Importance of documentation in many different forms
           ▪ Different languages
           ▪ Different modes: graphically vs. text, ect.
       ◦ Make the things that have been documented accessible themselves
       ◦ What’s gonna make it simple for people to understand a certain system?
       ◦ As long as people can be seen and heard, don’t worry so much about the production value
   • Erick: More about doing it a way you’ve seen somewhere vs. doing it the way that would be the best for you or your members
       ◦ Shooting and editing videos on your phone vs. using a professional camera and editing software
   • Luis: Speaking on this
       ◦ Using what you know to make it work and make it work for the most people possible
       ◦ Trying a new platform or method that actually will have an impact on people
   • Erick: Goes back to organizing; meet people where they are and go from there
       ◦ Keeping this philosophy in mind when trying to implement new tech.
   • Maegan: Push for more multilingual documentation
       ◦ Need to bring down this elitism of who can use the technology or have an influence on the design
       ◦ Translation is an afterthought when it needs to be talked about from the get go
           ▪ Needs to be habitual
   • Ryan: Making a case for volunteers
       ◦ Advocating for them and the fact that you’re bombarding them with new surveys and tech and what not
           ▪ Erick: “Treating them like employees”
       ◦ Trepidation when it comes to implementing a new piece of technology or sending out a new survey
   • Maegan: “Temp checks”
       ◦ Gathering feedback from organization members on what they are comfortable with
       ◦ Just talk with people about how accessible things are
           ▪ Start those conversations, poll those surveys
       ◦ Many opportunities to fill gaps where there might be lack of understanding