What is the Technology Taskforce?
I assume that everyone has a disability or condition until I know otherwise. This is probably because there are so many non-visible disabilities and we shouldn’t assume that people don’t have one. It’s also probably because I inevitably find that most people are affected in some way by disability. Whether it’s their child with autism, their own late diagnosis of dyslexia, a degenerative eye condition, periods of mental ill health or a parent with cancer. All of these things have a huge impact on who we are and what we do.
I also probably assume this because I am an amputee myself, with a non-visible disability and people don’t normally guess that I am disabled. A train accident in 1993 made me instantly disabled and since then, I wanted my work to have something to do with disability. In 2014 I was lucky enough to start my current role at Business Disability Forum, as the Technology Taskforce Manager.
The Technology Taskforce is a group of individuals from leading UK and global organisations, working together, to improve the use of inclusive design and accessible technology. These include organisations like Microsoft, Barclays, Sainsbury’s, Shell, DWP, BBC and KPMG and many more.
The Taskforce provides tools, best practice, networking opportunities and technology industry influence to help organisations to create and deploy more accessible technology.
What is really great about the Technology Taskforce is that it joins up accessibility professionals from all areas of business, to help each other and share their knowledge and experience - with great success. The Taskforce are happy to share what they have done, what has worked well and what they would do differently next time, so that their disabled customers and/or colleagues can benefit. It’s just about doing the right thing.
We have a range of amazing resources that are free and available for anyone to download. Central to this is the Accessibility Maturity Model (AMM). The AMM is a self assessment tool which enables organisations to drill down to get more information on different levels of IT accessibility. The tool is designed to be informative and action orientated- allowing you to see your organisations current IT accessibility performance and support you in making decisions about future focus areas. It also gives you some great numbers to show how you are doing and allows you to track your progress.
Underpinning the AMM, we have over 50 resources, including case studies, best practice guides and some topical blogs, including a recent blog from David Caldwell at Barclays, talking about how they have embedded accessibility within their organisation.
The best thing about these amazing resources is that they are all free and available for anyone to download. The Technology Taskforce strongly believes that it is a key to share the knowledge and skills that we have developed around accessibility with everyone. As a colleague of mine once said to me “these are the things that I wish I’d have known when I started out doing accessibility”.
So coming back to my original assumption, that everyone I meet has a disability or is impacted by disability, then why wouldn’t we want our technology to be accessible? By thinking about digital inclusion, we stop the exclusion.