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37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Nothing About Us Without Us: Power & Diversity of Disability

Date & Time
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 1:20 PM PST  
Grand GHJK  

Nothing About Us Without Us

Our team exemplifies the important disability community maxim “Nothing About Us Without Us.” We are a branch of a non-profit NIB (National Industries for the Blind) certified employer. Our team also includes representation from Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Mobility, and Cognitive disability groups. Our team of exceptional and gifted people with disabilities is doing the heavy lifting of creating a more accessible digital world. Employing professionals with disabilities to make web content and websites accessible to all is critical. The perspective of people with disabilities is invaluable in all industries, especially in accessibility remediation and WCAG website compliance assessments.

Power in the Diversity of Disability

The Diversity of experience found within the disability community is a powerful way to put products to the test in the most exceptional circumstances. Some of the most influential advancements in communication and technology have been designed with people with disabilities in mind. The internet, text messaging, email, the record player (phonograph), and voice recognition systems were all first created with people with disabilities as the target user. Quickly, the general market saw the benefit of these technologies for all people, and the market for these technologies quickly spread.

Our Goals

The most groundbreaking invention of the last 100 years has been the internet. The first IP-based network was designed in 1981 by and for Vint Cerf, “Father of the Internet,” Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist. He is Deaf and needed a way to share documents instead of communicating with phone conversations. In 2017, Cerf lamented the current state of accessible technology “It’s a crime that the most versatile device on the planet, the computer has not adapted well to people who need help, who need assistive technology.” We hope to bridge the divide between the existing accessible design guidelines and the current state of websites and PDF content. It is creating better web user experiences for all.

Our (Disabled) Team with Disabilities

Our team has representation from 5 distinct disability categories. Like many groups lumped together, there is significant diversity within the disability community. Our team includes a majority of blind professionals, also representation from Deaf, cognitive, and mobility disability groups. These professionals rely on various assistive technologies to navigate the web and digital documents. If it works for all of us, you know it will work for everyone else too! Manual Testing

A website can be scanned for various attributes, like alternative text. It cannot determine if the alternative text is accurate. While automated scanners help identify problem areas, trusted testers have no substitute for live hands-on testing. Our team includes trusted testers to put your website through some challenging paces. A person using assistive technology as their primary way of accessing content has specialized expertise in using the assistive technology and the challenges presented in digital content.

Why Accessibility

Multiple search engines, including industry leader Google, prioritize accessible search results. One of the best ways to attract new customers in our heavily web-based economy is optimizing a company’s search engine ranking. The closer to the top of the search results, the more traffic a website can expect. This web-based traffic directly translates into sales which directly impact the company’s bottom line. The effort to improve the accessibility of PDF documents and website accessibility improves SEO rankings. Providing alt text, keywords, titles, and other metadata increases the appearance of frequently searched terms in relation to the business. Increasing the number of these phrases appearances on the website will directly impact the search engine’s ranking results. Doing what is right by creat

This Presentation Link is provided by the Presenter(s) and not hosted by the Center on Disabilities at CSUN. The Center on Disabilities has confirmed, as of March 15, 2022, content linked is relevant to the presentation, but has not been reviewed for accessibility nor will the Center on Disabilities attempt to remediate any accessibility issues in the linked content. Please contact the Presenter(s) with any accessibility concerns.

  • Higher Education
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Disability Specific
  • Research & Development
  • Employment & Human Resources
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
In the heartland of Oklahoma, READable, an accessibility team employs people representing five distinct disability categories improving the accessibility of digital communications. What challenges and victories have we experienced? How can your organization harness the power of including a diverse population of people with disabilities?  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Blind/Low Vision
  • Design
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Law, Compliance, and Policy
  • Leadership & Strategy


  • Amir Ghahremani
  • David Herr
  • Karey Jo Wise
    NewView Oklahoma

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