We have recently been asked to provide evidence of the usage and impact of the diverse services we provide. Such a request is perfectly understandable – commercial companies with be able to point to their profit margins as evidence of the effectiveness of their activities and whilst ways of doing this for those working in higher education will be more complex, I appreciate the need to do this.
Usage statistics can be easy to gather, especially for use of social media service. As an example on Saturday @dajbelshaw tweeted:
Whoah. Just noticed my ‘TELIC: The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’ presentation has had 9,539 views since uploading *yesterday!*
and the following day informed us that:
20,000 views now. Uploaded Friday. Insane. slidesha.re/KobQZV
This example made me realise that the velocity as well as the overall usage statistics – coincidentally my most viewed slides on Slideshare, Introduction To Facebook, have also been viewed over 20,000 times – but this has been over a period of four years.
Whilst such usage statistics can be relatively easy to gather (and I will leave it to others to interpret the metrics), it can be more time-consuming to gather qualitative evidence of the take-up of services.
On Friday, however, I noticed an incoming link which was sending traffic to this blog. The link was from the eGovernment Resource Service for the Victoria Government, Australia and related to a post on Aversive Disablism, Web Accessibility and the Web Developer which I posted on 1 May 2012, the Global Accessibility Awareness Day. It then occurred to me that having a blog post embedded in a government’s web site might be a useful indicator of the value of my work in the area of web accessibility. Further investigation I found addition pages on the web sites about an article I had written on Web Accessibility: Putting People and Processes First and a paper on Forcing Standardization or Accommodating Diversity? A Framework for Applying the WCAG in the Real World.
As described on the Web site “the eGovernment Resource Centre provides access to the Victorian Government body of knowledge on eGovernment, government 2.0, government use of social media and information and communications technology (ICT) and government website best practices, with Australian and international examples“. It does seem to me that I will be able to use this as an example of the impact at an international level of my work. I also realised that I would not have been aware of this if I had not seen the incoming link to the blog post. Blog posts, it would seem, can act as a magnet for attracting evidence of impact which would be difficult to detect otherwise.
I then went on to wonder why the Victorian Government in Australia was aware of my work. I then remembered that in January 2009 I gave the opening plenary talk on “From Web Accessibility 2.0 to Web Adaptability (1.0)” at the OzeWAI conference in Melbourne and in November 2009 gave a plenary keynote talk, provided as a pre-recorded slidecast on “From Web Accessibility To Web Adaptability” at the OzeWAI at OZCHI 2009 conference”. Perhaps the connections I made in the first trip and the followup talk I gave ten months later made an impact which I have only become aware of recently?
Meanwhile, back to the gathering of further evidence ….