Re-Envisioning Communication UArts MiD + Liberty Resources Holly Betz Michael Barakat Sara Hall Matt Miller
Mike Barakat Holly Betz Sara Hall Matt Miller
Re-envisioning Communication UArts MiD and Liberty Resources
211 South Broad Street, 5th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19102 Copyright ÂŠ 2010
This book is printed in 14 point Verdana because it is the standard font size and type Liberty Resources uses to make their documents accessible.
Copyright © 2010 by Michael Barakat, Holly Betz, and Sara Hall and Matt Miller Illustrations copyright © 2010 by Sara Hall and Matt Miller Photography credits: Michael Barakat, Holly Betz, and Sara Hall and Matt Miller © 2010 All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced–mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying–without written permission of the publisher. Book design by Matt Miller Masters of Industrial Design at The University of the Arts 212 South Broad Street, 5th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19102
Table of Contents 06 Chapter 1:
18 Chapter 2:
Working With Liberty
30 Chapter 3:
36 Chapter 4:
48 Chapter 5:
68 Chapter 6:
Liberty and MiD Partnership
Our Process The process for designers is based off of human centered design principles. We establish the problem, gain thorough understanding of that subject, and use design techniques inform research, observations, and actions. To better understand Liberty Resources we worked together to define the problem and our role. We researched Liberty Resources, the
history of disability rights, the Baldrige Award, accessible design, universal design, and existing designs for people with disabilities. We gained trust and understanding by participating in events and meetings, conducting interviews and working with people at Liberty. Taking this information we synthesized and analyze it. We then proposed design solutions and created prototypes presenting the concepts to Liberty.
Liberty Resources is the largest Center for Independent Living in the Philadelphia area. They advocate for and works with persons with disabilities ensuring their civil rights and equal access to all aspects of life in the community. Liberty Resources believes that everyone has the right to choose where and how he or she lives but, itâ€™s not that easy. Some people who are disabled have lived in nursing facilities their entire lives. This complicated issue is one that Liberty encourages people to overcome: How can you empower people to choose independence? Ultimately, itâ€™s up to the consumer to decide what they want. Through guidance and support, Liberty can help them gain independence. With services provided by Liberty, consumers are able to live in their own homes, as they choose, and be a part of their community. Liberty Resources, a Center for Independent Living, facilitates and aids consumers in fulfilling their right to live how they desire.
Everyone has the right to live independently and be an active member of the community
Have you ever experienced what it’s like to live in a nursing facility? If you have not experienced it for yourself, you might have heard typical perceptions about the enviroment in nursing facilities: they have a sterile feel or that they are filled with old people. But, one truth can not be denied, all nursing homes remove privacy and civil liberties from an individual’s lifestyle. Empowerment allows Liberty’s consumers to make personal choices and live free independent lives. It’s the right of everyone to make their own decisions about where they live, what they eat, what time they go to bed, where they go, and what they spend their time doing. Nursing facilities are the default placement for people who are disabled and have Medicaid for health insurance. “It can be difficult for the extremely disabled to live independently, carry a job, or have children. But, it can be done. And, Liberty Resources mission is to help people live independently,” to Liberty freedom is always worth the effort.
Liberty Resourcesâ€™ Core Services
Liberty offers four core services that make them a Center for Independent Living. These services assist consumers in living independent and meaningful lives. Liberty and other Centers for Independent Living are able to change peoples lives because of the services they offer.
Independent Living Skills
Peer Support, counseling, mentoring
Information & Referral
Trains consumers with the knowledge and skills they need to live independently.
Liberty staff share their knowledge to help peers make more informed decisions.
Protects and expands the rights of the disabled individual.
Helps individuals and their families find the answers to their questions and disability issues.
Liberty Resources Outreach
Liberty Resources reaches out to the local nursing facilities to encourage patience to seek a life in the community.
Nursing facilities located within a 5 mile radius of Liberty.
Karen, who has cerebral palsy, is married and has three children. She has been living on her own since 1991. This is her story...
Liberty Resources assisted Karen with her transition from a nursing home, where she lived for five years. Prior to living in the nursing home, Karen lived at school. She feels that this experience prepared her for living independently. Since her transition from the nursing home, Karen deals with “general, everyday concerns”. Finances are always a concern. Karen received transitioning services from Liberty Resources, and is currently receiving Attendant Care Services. She has a message for others considering the transition from a nursing home: “Don’t be scared to do it. Liberty Resources’ role is to educate and assist people who know nothing about independent living.” Karen is an activist. She is a member of ADAPT and coordinates Consumer Connection at Liberty Resources. She is currently most concerned about the passage of the Community Choice Act.
Liberty is working to improve their competitiveness and performance throught the use of The Baldrige Award Liberty wants to be the best they can be. To an individual, being your best is very simple - try harder, eat healthier, exercise more, or do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. To an organization, being better means something, it means benchmarking, process mapping, and reorganizing the structure of the company. Applying for the Baldrige award helps Liberty compare their organization to others of the same size and stature as well as evaluate their performance on a deeper more structured level. Applying to achieve Baldrige in of itself is a statement that Liberty is committed to being the best in their field. The application process is rigorous 3 stage 3 year process; a demanding feet that requires any organization to go beyond their best effort and rise to the challenge. Baldrige focuses on 7 areas: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, measurement and knowledge management, human resource focus, process management, and results.
Bringing in an Outside Perspective To gain a better understanding of how Liberty could better their company they brought in UArts MiD students to gain an outside perspective, and broaden their scope. By allowing our team to join liberty we were able to use design processes and techniques to discover solutions that would help Libertyâ€™s communication become more efficient and effective. 17
Working with Liberty
Using the Baldrige Award as a platform to improve internal communication Through analyzing the results of the Baldrige Explorer and Baldrige Express surveys, Liberty managers concluded that communication was one of two areas that need improvement; a communication team was then formed. They enlisted the help of Baldrige Award consultant, who previously worked with many companies assisting them in working towards the award. The communication team was tasked with discovering Libertyâ€™s communication processes, determining its strengths and opportunities for improvement, prioritizing these opportunities, and sharing with the company.
Working with Liberty
Meet the Communication Team lead by 2 Co-Chairs
working with 1 baldrige consultant
working with 4 MiD Designers
guiding 17 Members
representing 11 Departments
liasions for 330+ employees
Empowering 7200 Consumers
Meet the MiD Designers
graphic, web, and interactive design and skills in programming
landscape architecture and an interest in public art
architecture and skills in multimedia and visualization
Mike Barakat film and video focusing on the behavior of people
Meet the Consumer
Liberty Resources is a consumer driven organization. The term consumer comes from Ralph Nader and his push for consumerism, an idea that gives people the power to make their own decisions. Empowerment is something that Liberty Resourceâ€™s believes in.
Organizational Levels of the Communication Team
The diversity of the communication team makes them a well-rounded group. Allowing for input to come from assistants, managers, directors and representatives from all levels of the company giving everyone a voice. Some members of the team are new hires that have only been working for Liberty Resources for a few months, while others have been working there for many years. This diversity enables everyone in Liberty to have a voice.
Our space at Liberty Mike Smith Mike Smith, the Director of Quality Management, was our main contact person at Liberty. He was eager to help Liberty better their practices and communication so that they can better serve the consumer as well as to obtain the Baldrige Award.
Karen Fow Karen is the administrative assistant to Mike Smith. She documents and distributes important meeting information. Karen became an asset to us because she kept us informed about what is and was going on at Liberty.
Working with Liberty
OfďŹ ce Space
The office space we were given became our meeting place at Liberty. We held our weekly group meetings here and were able to interact with Liberty employees on a more natural level.
Communication inventory, imagining a new structure When synthesizing the data from a survey administered at Liberty we instantly thought of Edward Tufte, an expert on data analysis and display design. We took the spreadsheets of information gathered from the survey, worked our designerly magic on them, and developed a creative, visual, and colorful way of displaying information. It was exciting, fun, and visually pleasing but they were useless to Liberty: the visualization of the information was not accessible. We quickly learned that any chart or spreadsheet had to be made accessible to the visually impaired, meaning that every data set made into a visual graphic needs a narrative explanation to accompany it, making it screen reader accessible.
Working with Liberty
COMMUNICATION INVENTORY SUMMARY METHODS of communication (Organized by frequency) DAILY WEEKLY ONGOING
Social Software Email
Trainings Memos Phone Co-Workers Pod Meetings
Advocacy / Actions Co-Workers / team CTS CTS and HCIS
TYPE of Communication from highest to lowest Formal One-Way Two-Way Informal HCBS HCBS HCBS Intake Allentown Philly Electronic Spoken Paper X X Vertical Horizontal X
Comm & Dev
PURPOSE of Communication from highest to lowest Educate Share Information/News Provide Updates Reinforce LRI Mission, Vision, Values QM IT STS HR ODT Communicate/Encourage Change Obtain Ideas/Feedback/Information Encourage Involvement X X Recognize Success
Drive - Q / T Drive
External Vendors / sources
HCBS Staff Mtg HCSIS Plans
Informal (ex: lunch after work) Intake Folder Internal Gossip
Internet Liberty Lite
Mail - Inner Office
Mail - Snail Mail Manual Meetings - 1:1 Meetings Meetings - Other
X X X
Meetings - Staff Meetings - Team Memos
X X X
Mail - Mail Box
Housing Drive HR Recruiter
Drive - Q Drive Drive - Shared drive
X X X
X X X X
1 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 2 3 1 5 1 1129 4 4
Liberty’s accessible policy, create two of everything
In Liberty’s internal drive, as shown, each document requires two ﬁle types: a pdf or word document and a plain text document to make it accessible.
Screenreaders are software programs that understand text documents and translate them into speech for people with low-vision and visual impairments. To guarantee that screenreaders can traverse a document, Liberty has implemented a policy that requires every document be accompanied by a plain text document. While two document types ensures accessibility, this only compounds challenges such as organizing the public storage drive and email overload. This is a good example of one of the pitfalls of perceived accessibility: when every file has a plain text file as well as the orginal file format, the user is confronted with a confusing mass of documents.
Information must meet the needs of the user Liberty employs and communicates with people who have a wide range of cognitive and sensory disabilities, therefore communication is provided in formats that meet the needs of each ability level. If there is a handout at a meeting in which a blind staff member .pdf is present, a braille version of this handout must be provided for them. While this may sound like a difficult task, itâ€™s something that Liberty is able to consistently provide. One document that is a pdf can be formed into multiple diverse documents to accommodate different users needs.
plain text ﬁles
Plain text files ensure that text-to-speech programs can read all of the information.
braille Braille documents are accessible to low-vision and blind readers. Letters and words are created with a combination of six raised dots.
large print Text is printed in a large font size that helps low-vision people to read. Many books are available in large print.
summarized Ordinary documents may be hard for people with cognitive disabilities to understand. Information can be simplified to provide “just the facts” for this user group.
Initial Design Solutions
From what we learned at Liberty, what could we design? After working with Liberty, we discovered that Liberty could benefit from an outside view on how to improving communication. We held a charrette and generated over thirty ideas concepts that could possibly be implemented at Liberty. We noticed patterns in our developments that spoke to the different ways we could help Liberty Resources. They included ideas that brought awareness to what it is like to have a disability, ideas that solved some of the problems that many people with disabilities face, and ideas that helped Liberty specifically. From these ideas we chose a few that had the most potential, further developed them and develop more concepts. To broaden our design ideas we held another round of rapidly developing interventions to get a second set of design solutions with stronger ideas. These ideas were grounded in the idea that helping Liberty would also help the larger population of people with disabilities.
Defines how emails should be composed.
Scans, shreds, and make information more accessible. Design Solutions
Tailors communication to your need.
Blocks multiple senses at a time.
How can we best help Liberty? As designers, we want to fulfill our role. We asked ourselves these questions in order to best determine how we can aid Liberty: 1. W hat can we deliver to them that no one else can? 2. W hat can be implemented at Liberty? 3. W hat is most related to internal communication and Libertyâ€™s specific needs? From this we were able to narrow down and modify the concepts we developed.
Best Practices Best Practice Number 1
Best Practice Number 3 E-mail as a Reminder
Best Practice Number 4
First, you want to generate as many as ideas as possible. Don’t shoot ideas
E-mail can be used as a reminder by delaying delivery of an e-mail until a Images and down Graphics Understood Making the Most out of Meetings Plain Text (.txt) or discredit them—every idea counts! Write each idea down on a certian time. For example, you could delay delivery on the e-mail so it can through Explanation when the office opens. Tips for keeping things moving forward:be sent early in the morning Why It’s Important
one of the most reliable congested sources of When composing a new but message, select “Options” from the main tool bar. Plain text files (which use .txt as the file extentsion) ensure that the file At the start of the meeting E-mail is regarded as used by LRI. Using these simple tips can help make e-mail Why It’s Important 1. Have a clear goal – This will helpcommunication ensure the meeting stays topic. It Once inonthe “Options” dialouge box, navigate to “Delivery Options” section. is accessible to all. These files include text only. The simplicity of the Now that all the ideas are out on thescreenreaders table, it’s time organize them. aide Lookto comprehend the easier, accessible and more efficient to use forbox everyone. allows andtoother accessibility Images graphics are meant enablebefore:” the audience file to understand more also provides a way to measure if the meeting was successful the end. You canat then check the next and to the option “Do not to deliver for common topics isand themes and group information easily.these related ideas together. Recomplex information. It’swant been said, “A picture worth a thousand words.” 2. Have a structured agenda – Make it clear what needs be addressed andtocustomize the date and time for when you the message to be Uses write the ideas on post-it notes, using one note per idea. This will allow you However, for those that are visually impaired, the same picture is only in a meeting. For example, what questions or topics will this Always Include a clear andmeeting concise subject, ideally summarizing what the delivered. E-mail worth the explanation given with it. include? email is about. Avoid using one-word subjects. For example, a subject of When including images as attachments or embedded within an e-mail, 3. Set milestones – These are short“Meeting term goals with time limits that help Minutes” is not as effective and accessible as “Meeting Minutes make sure text is included in the body of the email summarizing what the People with visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and hearing loss are keep your meeting flowing. For example, stating that the group will image is. The image below shows an example of how to do this. The body just a few of the audience members to design for. Make yourthe output more brainstorm problems for 20 minutes, then discuss theisresults group will need to select which ideas Another technique to addfor theanother necessary response time and what it is in Now that ideas are organized, of the e-mail includes an image (a yellow smiley face). In order to describe accessible to everyone. 20 minutes, and finally brainstormregaurd solutions for 20 minutes. are the best. Discuss as a group which best address theimage original to. For example “Consumer Issue!! Please respond in 48 hours” this, the text, ideas “This email includes an of a yellow smiley face.” . accompanies the content of the email, “Have a great day!”. This ensures How to Do It At the end of the meeting that the image does not confuse the reader or the accessibility aide. Select BCC (blind carbon copy) rather than CC (carbon when sending To meetcopy) accessibility needs, try your next meeting with blindfolds on, 4. What was achieved – How many goals and agenda items were an e-mail to large amounts of people. For example, when or letting people earplugs, through other means. Doing this will help you understand the 1. Generate 2. Organize 3. Select achieved? What items still need to be addressed in the next meeting? know of a new hire send the e-mail to the company within BCC, not CC. needs of your audience. 5. Next steps – Discuss what actions need to be taken. This ensures that when someone uses reply all it only goes to the new hire. 6. Assign tasks – Who will t these topics? The photo to the left depicts two individuals in Effective Brainstorming In a Group a small room seated away from each other. The male Brainstorming is a good way to generate ideas and solutions. An effective person in the meeting is the brainstorming process will help ensure that everyone’s idea isBCC heard and fourth field from the top when Have a great wears a blindfold. Theday! other composing an email. considered. The following is a good process: This email includes an image of a yellow smilely face. female person has her
Setting the standard for accessible communications in the workplace.
Define a Topic To effectively brainstorm you will need a clear topic. Decide as a group what topic, problem, or issue you want to address.
mouthvisually open asthe if speaking, This graphic shows process described above.
Shared Files while the blind folded person Always listens. include a plain text file in addition to other file types on the shared drive. optimum accessibility It can be helpful to listen to a meeting afterwards—you might hear things
When replying to an e-mail, only include information relevant to that .txt .pdf .doc particular e-mail. If your replying to an invite for lunch, do not add the standard for Setting Setting the standard for Setting the standard for Setting the standard for information about an upcoming meeting or project. A new e-mail should communications accessible accessible communications accessible communications accessible communications If of one the responsibility to take notes, this will free the other be started for this. Also, do not change the subject anperson e-mail in the in has the workplace in the workplace in the workplace in the workplace people in the meeting to focus on the agenda. Ideally the note-taker is middle of a thread, it should remain the same for the duration of the e-mail conversation until it is finished.
After analyzing the design ideas we developed, we found that many of the ideas were addressing ways to organize information and make it accessible. Through documenting the ways to make information accessible in several forms it will make information accessible. These documents can be used for internal reference, and keep Liberty staff aware of current standards and future standards as they are developed. To implement the adoption and acceptance of the best practices there will need to be training for the new employees, friendly email reminders for current staff, and memos for newly developed standards. To make best practices a part of Liberty’s culture it will have a home on Microsoft Sharepoint, a portal for internal communication, so that it can become a living document. Design Solutions
Best Practice Number 3
Images and Graphics Understood through Explanation
Title of technique.
Why It’s Important Images and graphics are meant to enable the audience to understand more complex information. It’s been said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” However, for those that are visually impaired, the same picture is only worth the explanation given with it.
Explaining why Liberty uses this technique.
People with visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and hearing loss are just a few of the audience members to design for. Make your output more accessible to everyone. .
How to Do It To meet accessibility needs, try your next meeting with blindfolds on, earplugs, or through other means. Doing this will help you understand the needs of your audience.
The photo to the left depicts two individuals in a small room seated away from each other. The male person in the meeting wears a blindfold. The other female person has her mouth open as if speaking, while the blind folded person listens.
Explaining who it helps. Explaining how to do this technique.
Setting the standard for accessible communications in the workplace
Making Liberty a Resource Liberty Resources should not only adopt a more unified companywide acceptance of accessible communication and best practices, but Liberty should stand out and become known as an advocate for accessible information. Through making their practices visible on their website, and relating personal stories to the guidelines it will be easier for people to embrace techniques for accessible communication and understand why they are important. This acceptance should not only happen internally but Liberty should become a source of information for companies that want to become accessible. Design Solutions
July 2010 … a monthly community calendar of events in Philadelphia, by and for Consumers of Liberty Resources, Inc. Unless otherwise noted, activities take place at Liberty Resources, 714 Market Street, Suite 100, Philadelphia. You can list an event by calling 215-634-2000, Ext. 266 by the 18th of the month. Every Weekday: ADAPT Pretzel sale, 50¢ each or 3 for $1.40. Independence Arts Studio Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM. Every Tuesday: Youth Social Group, Anyone ages 18 to 30 is welcome to attend, 1:00–3:00 PM. Help plan social activities and provide support for each other. Call Hope, Ext. 214. Every Wednesday: Legal Advocacy – Free advice and representation on general legal problems for people with disabilities, provided by the Legal Advocacy for Consumers Program of Temple University’s Law School. Please arrange appointment. Call 215-204-1800. Pink and Blue, Church of St. Luke the Epiphany, Blue Room, 330 S. 13th Street, 7:00–9:00 PM. A free support and resource exchange group for people with mental illness who are bisexual, gay, inter-sex, lesbian, transgender, or questioning adults. Please arrive no later than 7:15 PM. Call 215-546-0300, Ext. 3301 or 215-627-0424. “Best Practices” Tip of the Month:
If you walk, you meet people. Take a walk and meet someone new today. Ceclia from ILS brings up a great point. Physically moving to someone’s office space allows you to meet new people in LRI and become familiar with your work environment.
Page 1 of 6
Tactile Material Study
How can we make 3D tactile qualities out of 2D information? The development of tactile graphics became an important concept for us. We found out that information graphics were not accessible to some of Libertyâ€™s employees and wanted to develop a way to make them accessible. With accessibility in mind, we did material studies of ways to display information tactically.
Introducing tactile qualities to two dimensional data Choosing the data
In order to gain a realistic assessment of the different tactile graphics, we referenced a real data set when constructing the tactile graphics. We used the percentages pertaining to Liberty from this table and developed tactile graphics using various methods. .
Quick Draw Paper This product is marketed as an art product for blind children. Itâ€™s expensive at $30 for 10 sheets and only available online. It requires painting on the data with a brush, making it impractical for quick production. Since the paper is sensitive to moisture, the finished piece has a short life-span.
Matboard Cut-out graphs are a low-tech way to display data. Graphs can be layered on top of each other, allowing for comparisons of different data sets. These are cut from matboard so they simple and inexpensive to manufacture.
Pixel Blocks Pixel Blocks make creating 3D information graphics easier because of their modularity and standard size. Pixel Blocks were small, hard to work with, and hard to navigate with your finger.
Layered Foam Layered foam information graphics are a low cost way of representing data tactically. Even though it is nice to feel the foam graphics, it is hard to contextualize the information when it is represented as a standalone object.
Laser Cut Although laser cut graphics are more exact then other materials we tried, their production requires time, materials, and resources that make it a difficult process for Liberty to do themselves.
Feedback from Fran and Cecilia
Feedback from employees
After presenting our tactile graphics to Cecilia and Fran, who have low vision, we realized that the way we presented the data in information graphics was not useful in the work place. Cecilia suggested that the Quick Draw Paper would be a great teaching and learning tool for grade school children. She emphasized that these techniques for presenting information would be good for maps and art but information provided in the workplace is easier to interpret as an audible file. Although it seems that the prototypes we made were not successful for Cecilia and Fran they could be helpful to make the information more accessible for other people.
An Accessible Microwave
Does one design work for everyone? Universal design aims to create products and environments that are accessible to everyone. Traditionally, everything is designed for the able bodied. This excludes the population of people that have disabilities: physical, cognitive, comprehensive, and sensory. Universal design allows equal use of products and systems by everyone.
Accessible Design Features:
Talks to you: â€œSet minutes...â€?
Both images & picture labels
Single notched knob
Oversized start & stop buttons
Designers just dont see it These haptic devices decrease the user group because they do not provide visual imagery. Unless you are low-vision or blind, these devices serve no function. What if the tactile instant camera, for example, captured a visual & tactile image? Then, blind and sighted users alike could use this device making them accessible to a higher percentage of the population.
Tactile instant camera
Transition to Touch
As input devices continue to move towards touch-screens, tactile feedback is lost.
Blue sky concept: Keys raise only when keyboard is active
Final prototype: Overlay has cutout keys that help lock-in ﬁngers
Liberty & MiD Partnership
Learning Through Experience
We designed a simple exercise and presented to the Communication Team.
Our experiences at Liberty Resources gave us a greater appreciation for making information and communication more accessible. One thing that struck us as designers is how much we rely on visuals, especially when giving a presentation. To make presentations more successful, know your information and be able to describe the importance of what is in your presentation During our presentation to the communication team, we chose to demonstrate how difficult it is to understand what is happening during a presentation when your sight is removed. We blindfolded the team and presented what we learned over the course of the semester. To make information clear in a presentation you need to be able to communicate well.
Liberty & MiD Partnership
Liberty & MiD Partnership
Opening a Dialogue With Tom Earle & Linda Dezenski After working with Liberty, the client, regularly for thirteen weeks, we were all eager to present our feedback and ideas to the CEO, Tom Earle and the COO, Linda Dezenski. We found Liberty to be an inspiring place, and we llustrated this in our presentation. It was well received and both Tom and Linda expressed interest in moving forward with our proposals.
Liberty & MiD Partnership
Developing a relationship between the design community and accessible Tom and Linda were excited about our openness to the idea of accessible design. Tom explained that in their previous work with the design community they faced reluctance to change and adaptation.
Moving Forward with Liberty
1. Talk with Liberty staff and document their accessibility stories 2. Participate in Day of Sharing 3. Continue to research and develop new solutions for accessibility 4. Help position Liberty as leading the way in accessible communication