by Eric Bridges
On March 23 I was very pleased to speak at the CSUN conference (the world’s foremost international assistive technology conference) as part of the Teach Access Project panel discussion. Representatives from Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Georgia Tech joined me in this 45-minute discussion. ACB represents the critical accessibility needs of consumers who are blind or visually impaired to the tech industry and academia.
Technology companies dedicated to accessibility have faced the common challenge of preparing designers, engineers and researchers to think and build inclusively. Similarly, academic programs in design, engineering and other related fields of study are seeking ways to better prepare students to address the needs of diverse populations. Given this shared challenge, industry, academia and advocacy have now come together through Teach Access to create models for teaching and training students of technology to create accessible experiences.
ACB is keenly aware that universities are challenged in many cases by their own bureaucratic inertia when adapting or changing learning experiences for students. We feel that this project can represent a substantive path forward in teaching accessibility as part of the total learning experience rather than having to be taught these basic principles as part of an onboarding process at a tech company.
ACB will be participating in a meeting of roughly 15 universities and technology companies in Silicon Valley in April to explore how this project will move forward in the months to come. In order for the Teach Access Project to be successful, the voice of the consumer with a disability is vital in order to cut through the barriers that each sector unintentionally sets up for one another at times. We are the individuals purchasing and using these applications, and it is important that our voice is heard as the project proceeds. To find out more about Teach Access, visit http://teachaccess.org/.