After Emma Harris and I’s article was published, the Vice President of Interoperability Institute, Mary Kratz, asked us to guest speak at the monthly all-staff meeting dedicated to discussing a particular topic or reading. In this case, she had asked the company to read our article and present it. Shortly after, Mary contacted my direct supervisor and me to create a proposal for an accessibility audit series for the company’s materials.
After receiving a request from Mary, I was the primary content writer for this project proposal. The document itself was adapted from the brand’s project proposal template and I received feedback from my supervisor, Sue Sanderson, a few times throughout the drafting process.
Methods and Tools
Research design, strategies from previous projects, brand guidelines
The goal for this project was to create an effective project proposal to upper management. To be effective, this proposal had to demonstrate use or direct benefit for the company to invest their resources into the project, and with that, there had to be an explicit scope, timeline, and demonstration of what this project would entail or look like. In addition, it was extremely important that this deliverable adhered to our company’s strict brand guidelines.
After Mary Kratz, the Vice President of Interoperability Institute (IOI), first reached out to me to have Emma and I discuss our article, I was extremely excited and nervous to present our research. This would be the first time I was asked to discuss our work with a large audience that was not familiar with accessibility work. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how crucial accessibility work was for IOI. They are a healthcare IT company that aims to make healthcare a smooth experience for patients, providers, insurers, and more.
Following the presentation of our article at the all-staff meeting, Mary approached myself, my supervisor, and our director to schedule a meeting. In this meeting, I had the opportunity to pitch accessibility work and emphasized the importance of accessibility in our software, especially considering the large demographic of people we are able to help that have chronic conditions that require numerous appointments with multiple providers. Ultimately, Mary requested that I put together a project proposal for a series of accessibility audits for the company’s software and documentation.
My position supervisor, Susan Sanderson, then directed me to our company’s project proposal template. From there, I began to piece together a proposal with the knowledge that I did have. This became complicated as I did not have the experience of performing audits of this caliber. Furthermore, I was an intern; I didn’t have a great understanding of the company’s structure, let alone feel like I was in a position to delegate tasks to others. Also, I had never held a managerial role to help me with time allocation and similar statistical needs. Therefore, I collaborated with both my supervisor, who helped me better grasp the company’s resources and Dr. Ben Lauren, whose class was currently working on project charters, to better understand the genre of project proposals and charters.
Ultimately, this project started to come together after several rounds of brainstorming and revisions. The final stage included initial brand editing that required both the Microsoft Manual of Style and IOI’s brand guidelines. That said, the template housed most of the stylistic elements and any deliverables had to pass through the marketing department for final approval. Although I am disappointed that I was not able to carry out the project itself, due to the completion of my internship program, it was a very valuable experience in crafting a project proposal in an industry setting.
Although my time with IOI came to an end before this project came to fruition, I received glowing feedback from company executives including Vice President Mary Kratz, Director of Research and Development Jonathan Greenberg, and my direct supervisor Susan Sanderson.