Accessibility Assessor: Screen Reader

Years with Shaw

Disability with a little background

In my early 20’s I was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease known as RP (retinitis pigmentosa). This meant that over the next 20 years, the photo receptor sells at the back of my eyes would slowly stop functioning. Now, in my late 40’s I am completely blind.

Previous work or background

For the first 25 years or so of my life I was fully sighted, held a driving license, enjoyed outdoor sports like solo dinghy sailing and cycling.
My background is in engineering having gained my degree in electrical and mechanical engineering with deteriorating sight during the 90’s. It was at this point I was first introduced to the assistive software known as a screen reader.
I then worked for London Underground for 10 years liaising with contractors maintaining the stations of three of the deep tube lines. I enjoyed the relationship aspect of this role, navigating all over the tube network with my white cane and later with “Magic” my guide dog. To many it might seem that getting around the tube might be the tricky bit but it was honestly the inaccessibility of many of the internal software systems that caused me most hassle, finally leading to my voluntary severance.

Why are you proud to be part of the Accessibility Team?

Being part of the Shaw Trust accessibility team is great because we are a team of individuals that all play a vital role in making the online world accessible to those that are currently unwittingly and unnecessarily excluded.

Why does accessibility matter?

Accessibility increasingly matters because more services than ever are now only provided online.
It is now possible to create an online environment that is entirely accessible to someone unable to see the screen. It is the right thing to do and is an achievable aim.

How do clients benefit from your input?

Clients benefit through opening up there online presence to more customers, improving their websites google search rankings and actively demonstrating that they are committed to the modern inclusive future of Information Technology.