This blog post was written by Rob Sinclair, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer. Rob is responsible for the company’s worldwide strategy to develop software and services that make it easier for people of all ages and abilities to see, hear, and use their computers.
We officially launched the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) last month with a great kick-off event at the CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, where we added hundreds of new members and took an important step towards a truly accessible digital world.
Our event drew a standing-room-only crowd that endorsed the IAAP vision of a globally coordinated network of professionals working to build a more accessible society. By the end of the conference we had more than 100 new individual members – not counting organizations – from 8 countries.
With a growing membership, IAAP will now focus on implementing its mission. We will start by developing training, certification, curriculum and support for accessibility professionals and companies. Our goal is to build a shared approach to accessibility that encourages professionals who work on accessibility to learn, collaborate and support each other. Read more about our plans in two stories that ran on Microsoft’s Accessibility Blog, “Microsoft Will Help Launch a New Association for Accessibility Professionals” and “It’s Official: The International Association of Accessibility Professionals Launches.”
Together, we can build the capability and capacity needed to identify and resolve the technical barriers to accessibility and digital inclusion.
It is the right time for the IAAP to tackle this work. The explosion of technologies and content over the last decade has fueled interest and complexity in accessibility. The support and interest we saw at last month’s launch underscores the widespread recognition of these challenges and the importance of coordinating our approach to accessibility around the world. No single company or country can “solve” accessibility.
Instead, accessibility is a shared mission based on the belief that everyone, from software engineers and graphic artists to business leaders and educators, needs to receive training, have a way to stay up-to-date, and be connected to a global community where they can ask questions and share success stories. The ultimate goal of IAAP is to create this globally connected and informed community with the right resources and support to be successful.
Microsoft had a large number of people at CSUN last month, and it was great to see the continued passion and commitment to accessibility from people across the industry and around the world. We are looking forward to building on that energy by working with our colleagues in the IAAP to create a driving force for global Accessibility.
I look forward to working with all of you!