Accessibility and Project Outcome

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Project Outcome for Academic Libraries is please to announce the publication of a new toolkit resource: Accessibility and Project Outcome. Ensuring accessibility in library assessment is crucial to promoting inclusivity, allowing individuals with diverse abilities to fully engage with and benefit from library services and programs. Prioritizing accessibility enables libraries to gather more accurate and representative data, which facilitates informed decision making to better serve the entire community.

Technical Accessibility

Project Outcome staff work with our partner, Community Attributes, to ensure that the toolkit remains technically accessible to both users and survey participants. The WebAIM’s WCAG checklist serves as a guide for this work.

While these types of technical improvements can benefit many accessibility needs, many of the improvements were chosen to make the Project Outcome surveys and toolkit easier to use with a screen reader to benefit those who are blind or have low vision.

Some examples of accessibility considerations include:

  • Images, buttons and other graphics include appropriate alternative text.
  • Text will be readable and functional when zoomed up to 200%
  • All page functionality is available using the keyboard.
  • Indicators have been added to make it visually apparent which page element has the current focus

Other factors on in the Project Outcome toolkit that increase accessibility include:

  • Surveys are available in multiple languages: English, Spanish, French, and Arabic
  • Colors used in the data dashboards were selected to be color-blind friendly.
  • Surveys are mobile friendly

Prioritizing Accessibility in Assessment

While the technical aspects listed above help make the surveys accessible, there are additional steps librarians can take to ensure all users understand and complete Project Outcome surveys.

Example of a survey with color coding and emoticons as design elements that help patrons interpret the questions

In this example from the PLA version of the toolkit, the library has added emoticons and color coding to help patrons interpret the different responses on the Likert scale. These design adaptations can help low literacy patrons or English language learners better understand the survey

Other ways libraries could help make assessment more accessible include:

  • Notify program participants at the start of the event that a short assessment will be requested at the end.
  • Read survey questions aloud​.
  • Walk through questions one at a time​.
  • Explain the Likert scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree).
  • Allowing ample time for users to complete the survey.
  • Providing a glossary or definitions for terms used in the surveys.
  • Ensure assessments are offered in large print (at least 18 pt), sans serif font.
  • Provide a pathway or point-person for patrons to request effective communication, such as captioning or sign language interpretation, when participating in library assessment conversations, as well as to share feedback on accessibility.

Other Forms of Assessment

During conversations about library assessment, it is useful to consider if an outcome measurement survey is the correct tool to use. Libraries may wish to consider other form of assessment that could be more accessible to their patrons. Learn more in the resource Alternative Data Collection Methods to see if a different method, like skills tests, behavior observation or interviews, may be a better choice for the libraries assessment needs.

Project Outcome and outcome measurement are just one piece of the assessment puzzle. Please see the resource What is Outcome Measurement  to discover other types of assessment libraries can do and why they matter.

Project Outcome is a FREE online toolkit designed to help libraries understand and share the impact of essential library programs and services by providing simple surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes. Participating libraries are also provided with the resources and training support needed to apply their results and confidently advocate for their library’s future. Project Outcome’s standardized surveys allow libraries to aggregate their outcome data and analyze trends by service topic, program type, and over time. For the first time, academic libraries can see how the outcomes of their programs and services compare across their institution, Carnegie Class, and nation.

To start measuring the impact of your library, register for Project Outcome for Academic Libraries for free today!