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.
For more than 20 years, Microsoft and IBM have worked side-by-side on digital inclusion efforts and the development of technology for people with disabilities. So, I am excited to congratulate my longtime colleague, Frances West, who was recently named IBM’s first Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO). I have known Frances for years as the Director of the IBM Research Human Ability and Accessibility Center where she has served to advance accessible solutions produced by IBM and worked with myself and others as an advocate for effective accessibility policies around the world.
As Microsoft’s CAO, I understand well the challenges and rewards of leading accessibility across a large organization. Building a culture of inclusive innovation through policies, standards and procedures starts by recognizing the importance of having someone in charge of the effort. And the growing complexity of the technology landscape means that accessibility can only be achieved in collaboration and partnership with other organizations, companies and individuals around the world.
It is rewarding to see that more and more companies are elevating the importance of accessibility within their businesses and for their customers. This is something that Frances and I have strongly advocated for and is a large reason our respective companies chose to become founding members of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) when it launched this past spring. It is through industry efforts like the IAAP that a new generation of accessibility professionals will grow. Today, there are only a handful of us with the title of CAO but thanks to the global demand for accessible devices, software and content, our numbers will continue to grow.
Congratulations Frances! I look forward to a bright future for accessibility and continuing to work with you and the rest of the IBM team in building a more inclusive world.
Press Release: IBM Names Chief Accessibility Officer