Developing, Using and Appreciating Accessibility Tech at Home and at Work
As a business professional, attorney, and brand-new uncle, I live my life to the fullest – along with my guide dog, a black lab named Linus. I have a visual impairment and utilize devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones that contain screen readers to be productive both personally and professionally. Thanks to advances in technology, I am easily able to read printed mail, identify grocery boxes and cans, communicate and play real time games with friends and family, and even participate in a fantasy football league.
From a professional perspective, technology has played an important role in my success at the University of Michigan law school, my subsequent hiring at the Federal Communications Commission, and most recently in my position as an Accessibility Solutions Engineer at AT&T. Technology increased the ease with which I could reference legal statutes and court cases during class discussions in law school and enabled me to read and summarize comments received during rule making proceedings at the FCC.
At AT&T, I’m often asked to test apps on different platforms for screen reader compatibility, determine if emails and product tutorials are usable without vision, as well as read and review video scripts for intelligibility. My favorite part of making products and services accessible is that I’m actually making them more usable for all customers, not just those with a disability. For example, there was a script for a video tutorial that I couldn’t easily follow by listening to it with my screen reader. I asked the video team to clarify how to perform certain actions, and as a result, they reworked the video and everyone benefitted from a better tutorial.
I am proud to work for a company that values employees for their strengths and talents and devises creative ways to utilize their expertise. I am eager to continue applying my knowledge and skills toward enhancing the customer experience and my experience.