This past spring semester our program initiated a campus-wide contest urging university students, faculty and staff to submit their ideas for our new name. Our original name, the “Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Program” was very long and unwieldy. It took about a month to plan and a couple of months to roll out, but we now have a new name we are proud of: The Accessibility Network at UC!
For anyone who’d like to take a look at the whole master plan, please read the PDF 2017_Naming Contest Post-Event Report. I will summarize the process in the remainder of this post.
The objectives of the event were to: 1) Rename the program to more clearly reflect our objectives, 2) Shorten the name so it is easier to use in communications, 3) Promote awareness about the EIT Accessibility Program, 4) Promote awareness about eAccessibility and 5) Lay the groundwork for advocates for the program.
All advertisements throughout the process were geared towards pushing audience towards our website, where we displayed a link to our survey on the homepage. Not only did this build awareness that we had a page, but the name suggestions had to be based on information from our website (i.e., in order to propose a name that had a chance of winning, you had to know a little bit about eAccessibility). Contest advertisements were distributed via email, digital displays, social media (social media press kits were distributed to page owners), E-Currents and Blackboard. In all, we saw 144 total responses to our survey; each containing 1 or more name submissions.
These names were narrowed to the top 20 choices by IT@UC’s communications office. They were further narrowed to the top 5 choices through a survey sent to the program’s communications advisory panel, consisting of communications employees across campus. These top five names were then released through another university-wide campaign to narrow to the top 2 choices. We collected 258 total responses in the second round of university-wide voting.
Once we had the two winning names, another vote took place among the program’s Executive Sponsors and Steering Committee members. Out of the 25 individuals invited, 14 elected to vote in the final survey. The winning submission was then endorsed by our Executive Sponsors (The Accessibility Network at UC).
To finish the contest off, we hosted a Naming Contest Reception for the winner and the community. Apple Distinguished Educator Luis Perez was invited to speak in the student center about electronic accessibility. We made it a big event for the whole team as well as anyone who walked by.
Looking at the measurements of the contest’s success, I think we did a good job at hitting our marks. The new name is short, but appropriately descriptive of the program. The contest raised awareness of the program’s purpose and eAccessibility. And we gained new community interest in what the program was about, especially through the people who submitted names and the contest winner.