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November 2019: Survey Says...

This month, we share the results from last month’s survey on our Access Tips. Read on to find out what we learned.

 We didn’t ask if people liked frolicking animals, like this baby elephant running in grass with its ears, trunk, and tail flapping, but we’ll take our chances.

[We didn’t ask if people liked baby animals, like this baby elephant frolicking in high, golden grass with its ears, trunk, and tail flapping, but we’ll take our chances.]

What We Asked

Last month, we asked you to share your thoughts on the Access Tips. And you did! We received 418 responses as of October 31.

 We asked how the Access Tip of the Month was supporting City staff to make changes in their work, if the topics seemed relevant and useful, and how it was being shared. We inquired what changes people were making and what was getting in the way.

Thank you for taking the time to share your insights, experiences, and suggestions.

What We Found

Change makers abound

Many people, 68 percent of survey respondents, found the Access Tip topics relevant and useful. Nearly 30 percent of people who took the survey (122 out of 415), reported making changes to their work as a result of an Access Tip. Over 50 individuals offered specific examples of policy and practice changes in their workspaces, teams, bureaus, and community spaces. These changes improved accessibility and moved us towards more equitable ways of working.

By far, the most widespread changes were City staff ensuring that their documents were accessible to screen-reader users. Many specifically referenced adding alt-text to photos. Quite a few people also shared that they create meeting and event spaces with accessibility in mind, including room set up for wheelchair accessibility, purchasing microphones, and promoting the need to be fragrance free.

A call for brevity, simplicity, and connection

Over 70 percent of people (293 out of 415) shared that they have not made any changes to their work as a result of the Access Tips. The reasons for this varied, with about 30 percent saying they didn’t know how to make any changes, 15 percent saying they didn’t have time, and three percent saying their bureau didn’t have the resources.

Fifty percent of people offered other reasons for not making changes, ranging from not seeing accessibility as relevant to their role, not understanding the Tips, and not having the authority to make any changes. We heard a number of comments requesting a shorter, easier tip with quick action steps, and quite a few people shared that they simply deleted them unread.

Stay Tuned

These results have given us a lot to think about.  

The Civic Life Disability Program is glad that many people thought the topics were relevant and useful. And hats off to everyone who is putting access into action and promoting changes to our work spaces and practices.

And yet, if the overwhelming majority of us aren’t able to use the Tips to concretely improve access …well, something needs to change! Systemic, meaningful, and long-lasting change in the ways we engage isn’t going to happen if we are leaving most of us behind.

Our program will consider changes to the Access Tips thoughtfully. Our intention is to more effectively support City staff to actively create access and continue to provide tools that recognize the contributions, complexity, and diversity of Portland’s cross-disability communities.

Next month, we’ll close out 2019 by featuring some of the policy and practice changes YOU shared in the survey. We know that change isn’t easy, and we want to celebrate your efforts.

In January 2020, we’ll be back with an update on how Civic Life’s Disability Program will continue our work supporting the City of Portland to engage Portland’s communities in equitable, accessible, and just ways.