Understanding Accessibility as a Process through the Analysis of Feedback from Disabled Students

Coughlan, Tim; Ullmann, Thomas Daniel and Lister, Kate (2017). Understanding Accessibility as a Process through the Analysis of Feedback from Disabled Students. In: W4A '17 Proceedings of the 14th Web for All Conference on The Future of Accessible Work, ACM, New York, USA, article no. 14.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3058555.3058561


Accessibility cannot be fully achieved through adherence to technical guidelines, and must include processes that take account of the diverse contexts and needs of individuals. A complex yet important aspect of this is to understand and utilise feedback from disabled users of systems and services. Open comment feedback can complement other practices in providing rich data from user perspectives, but this presents challenges for analysis at scale. In this paper, we analyse a large dataset of open comment feedback from disabled students on their online and distance learning experience, and we explore opportunities and challenges in the analysis of this data. This includes the automated and manual analysis of content and themes, and the integration of information about the respondent alongside their feedback. Our analysis suggests that procedural themes, such as changes to the individual over time, and their experiences of interpersonal interactions, provide key examples of areas where feedback can lead to insight for the improvement of accessibility. Reflecting on this analysis in the context of our institution, we provide recommendations on the analysis of feedback data, and how feedback can be better embedded into organisational processes.

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