Inclusive technology can expand workforce opportunities, increase independence, and improve quality of life for people with disabilities. But what steps are businesses taking to ensure accessibility is built into tech products and services from the ground up?
Comcast and the Maryland Department of Disabilities brought together a panel of business and policy leaders to discuss best practices for engineering accessibility into technology. A replay of the event can be viewed here:
- Andrew Drummond – Director of IT Accessibility Policy & Programs, Maryland Department of Disabilities
- Mary Kane – Chief Executive Officer, Maryland Chamber of Commerce
- Martin Rosendale – Chief Executive Officer, Maryland Tech Council (Moderator)
- Jordan Watts – Director of Design, Fearless
- Tom Wlodkowski – Vice President, Accessibility, Comcast
Additionally, Carol Beatty, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, delivered closing remarks.
One key takeaway from the discussion is that accessibility cannot be thought of as a “feature” that is tested for at the end of a development cycle. Accessibility must be baked into the earliest stages of design – from inviting disability partners to participate in roundtable discussions with designers to conducting usability tests with members of the disability community at each stage of development.
Additionally, panelists underscored the importance of accessibility in expanding workforce opportunities. By prioritizing tech accessibility as part of company culture and making products accessible for both employees and customers, businesses can strengthen their talent pool and accelerate new opportunities for people with disabilities.
As stated by Tom Wlodkowski, Comcast’s Vice President of Accessibility, who is blind and spoke as both a developer and user of accessible technology, “Inclusive products deliver a better experience for everyone.”
Visit accessibility.comcast.com to learn more about Comcast’s efforts to create an inclusive experience for every customer and employee.