Assessing Risk

Risk is often described as a combination of the likelihood of an event occurring and the consequences of that event.

Accessibility myths

Accessibility is often downgraded as a risk because there is a perception that:

  1. Not many users are affected.
    • In reality, about 7% of University of Melbourne students are registered with Disability Support.
    • 9% of employed Australians have a disability.
  2. Users who are having difficulty can get support elsewhere.
    • The global pandemic has speeded up the shift to web only service delivery.
    • In reality, services are provided online so that organisations don't have to provide face-to-face or telephone support.
    • Nobody wants to wait around until a service becomes available.

Whilst accessibility is a risk, the level of risk is clearly not the same for all IT projects. Software which is used by 7 people, in a lab, obviously carries less risk than a system which will be accessed by 40,000 students.

The following table contains some risk indicators which can be used to help clarify the degree of risk in relation to services.

Risk Indicators - Education

Indicator Low Risk High Risk
Number of students who will access service None All students
Number of staff who will access service < 100 staff > 1000 staff
Project budget < $50,000 > $50,000
Frequency of access Yearly Daily
Degree of educational benefits Low High
Affects student ability to seek admission or enrol No Yes
Affects student ability to participate in courses or programs No Yes
Affects student use of facilities and services No Yes
Affects student participation in learning experiences No Yes
Affects student support services No Yes