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The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a national grassroots disability rights organization run by and for people with autism that works to improve public understanding of people with autism, including perceptions related to employment. ASAN also provides insight and expertise into the importance of accessible technology to people with autism and cognitive disabilities in general.

PEAT recently spoke with Julia Bascom, ASAN’s director of programs, about the organization's work in this area.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., CTIAThe Wireless Association® represents the wireless communications industry and has a history of leadership on mobile accessibility issues.

We recently spoke with CTIA's Matthew Gerst, director of state regulatory & external affairs, about CTIA's work in this area.

The World Institute on Disability (WID) is an internationally recognized leader in promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including employment. Founded in 1983 by leaders of the Independent Living Movement, it is headquartered at universally designed Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, California. PEAT recently spoke with WID's executive director Anita Aaron about her organization's work in the area of accessible technology.

Some organizations use a business case to justify their accessibility initiative and help drive its development. Some do not, arguing that accessibility simply has to be done, for many good reasons. What’s your take?

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If you embrace the adage "What Gets Measured Gets Done," you already know the value of evaluation and measurement. Measuring the progress of a corporate initiative helps keep it on track by identifying ways that it is—or isn't—meeting its intended goals. Metrics and measures can also demonstrate the need for a program in the first place, or prove that it's making a difference once implemented. This same logic applies to accessible workplace technology efforts.

Although legal requirements can sometimes feel burdensome to employers, on the accessibility front they can be very helpful. The relevant federal laws and regulations, such as "Section 508" and the "21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act" (CVAA) provide helpful and detailed information about technical standards that employers can use to guide their use and procurement of technology that is accessible to all users, including people with disabilities. 

Live recording of the webinar "Powering Up Your Employment Potential Through  Accessible Technology" originally recorded on Friday, September 26, 2014.

If you're a person with a disability and a user of technology, you are in a powerful position to help shape the accessibility of your current or future workplace.  Join PEAT’s guest speakers to learn how to advocate for the adoption and promotion of accessible technology and why accessibility matters in the workplace.

A list of helpful sources of information related to accessible workplace technology.

Building, buying, and adopting accessible workplace technology is a smart business strategy for employers—but don't just take our word for it. As part of PEAT's commitment to dialogue and industry collaboration, we're constantly on the lookout for employer experiences and exemplary practices that we can share with our users.

It's important to know—and be able to prove—that your activities are having a positive effect. PEAT offers several resources to help you measure and evaluate your progress

Once you and your company make a commitment to accessible workplace technology, it is vital that you communicate it both internally and externally.

If accessible workplace technology is your goal, you must ensure that you buy accessible technology in the first place and deploy solutions that work for all users.  

Achieving a technology-accessible workplace quite often means establishing an internal, company-wide initiative to help ensure that accessibility remains a priority. 

A key step in ensuring a an accessible workplace is to assess the information and communications technology (ICT) that you already have in place. This is an ongoing process that involves taking inventory of your existing technologies and making a plan to address any accessibility issues— either by working with the vendors who created the solutions you use or with your own internal IT developers.

If you're new to accessible technology or want a basic overview, please check out our frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Ernst & Young, LLP (EY) is a multinational professional services firm that provides assurance, tax, consulting, and advisory services to its clients. It employs more than 175,000 employees in more than 700 offices across the globe.

The company has earned great praise for its diversity and inclusion practices and was recently ranked number one on DiversityInc's list of top employers for people with disabilities. That commitment to inclusion extends to accessible workplace technology, and PEAT recently spoke with Lori B. Golden, the firm's abilities strategy leader, to learn more.

Headquartered in Melville, New York, Canon U.S.A., Inc. is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. In addition to cameras and visual equipment, Canon produces a wide range of office solutions including copiers, scanners, printers, and software. To learn more about the company’s commitment to providing accessible products and services for the workplace, PEAT recently spoke with Paul Albano, a senior product manager at Canon U.S.A's Business Imaging Solutions Group.

AT&T Inc. is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates—AT&T operating companies—are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high-speed broadband, voice and cloud-based services. PEAT recently spoke with AT&T's Diane Rodriguez about the company's commitment to providing accessible products and services.

Live recording of the webinar "Designing for the Future: Building Accessible Technology for the Workplace." The webinar was recorded on Wednesday, September 3, 2014. Presenters discussed the numerous advantages to developing and marketing technology products that are accessible to users with disabilities—or better yet, products that are universally designed. View the archived webinar below to learn why accessibility matters to your company, your workplace, and your customers.

Looking for a roadmap to ensure that the technology in your workplace is accessible to all employees and job seekers?  You've come to the right place!  This Action Steps toolkit is designed to help employers learn the what, why, and how of accessible workplace technology. 

Live recording of the webinar "Employers & Accessible Technology: The What, Why, and How." The webinar was recorded on Wednesday, August 6, 2014. 

If you're an employer—in any industry—who is getting ready to issue a solicitation for technology products or support, or to talk to specific vendors about what they can offer, a little background research can help you identify the accessibility barriers and solutions for the products you are seeking. What you discover can then be incorporated into the procurement process, starting with your written requirements.

Even if you're new to the world of accessible technology, you've probably heard terms tossed around that relate to accessibility standards and regulations - like "508 compliant," "WCAG 2.0," and more. This article will demystify some of the technical standards that apply to accessibility and explain how they differ from laws and regulations. 

The key to success is to address accessibility from the start, by incorporating it into the procurement process, and then making sure to evaluate what technology providers promise and deliver. Because procurements processes differ from company to company, there is no one right way to do this. In his book, Strategic IT Accessibility: Enabling the Organization, IT accessibility expert Jeff Kline outlines 10 steps for determining where and when accessibility can be infused.

BYOD stands for "Bring Your Own Device," and it's an increasingly popular policy and practice in many of today's workplaces. BYOD offers some accessibility advantages for both employers and technology users—but there are also some unique challenges.

The March 2014 update to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act provides federal contractors with clear guidelines and goals for measuring the success of their efforts to meet these requirements to actively recruit, retain, and advance qualified individuals with disabilities.

Technology is essential to applying for a job, getting a job, and doing a job. And as long as it's accessible, it can be a great equalizer in ensuring that people with disabilities can obtain, retain, and advance in employment. To optimize their potential, individuals with disabilities should have a basic understanding of what accessible workplace technology is—and use this knowledge to assess and meet their own needs.

Once an organization—whether a tech provider or an employer in any industry seeking to create a more disability-inclusive workplace—has initiated an accessibility initiative, how will it know if it’s making progress? As with all corporate initiatives, goals must be established and mechanisms put in place to track progress—the results of which must then be reported to management on an ongoing basis.

One of PEAT's primary goals is to help employers understand how to ensure their information and communications (ICT) technology infrastructure is accessible to all employees—and the strong business case for doing so. Once your company commits to increasing the accessibility of its workplace technology, it is smart to communicate that commitment, both internally and externally.

PEAT's Social Media User Agreement governs all official PEAT accounts on social media platforms and websites, including, but not limited to, social networking pages, blogs, and file-sharing sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn). Please read this Agreement carefully. Your participation on any of PEAT's social media accounts constitutes your agreement to comply with these rules and any future revisions.

People at all levels of a company can demonstrate leadership and shape their current or future workplace. Here are some of PEAT's ideas about how you can advocate for accessible technology at work.

Oracle's Peter Wallack recently spoke with PEAT about his company's expressed commitment to developing and promoting accessible technology, particularly as it relates to employment.

As a technology provider, or a company's internal technology developer, you should understand how accessible your products are. The key is a good testing process. Such a process, including accurate and comprehensive reporting on testing results, can improve communication with employees, customers, and other end users about your company's commitment to accessibility and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

If you're a technology provider, an established accessibility initiative will help ensure that the information and communications technology (ICT) you build and implement is accessible to all workers, job candidates, and customers. To be sustainable, however, your initiative should be guided by formal policies that have both clout and clarity. 

When it comes to building technology products, it pays to incorporate accessibility right from the start—on multiple levels. To help your organization realize the many benefits of accessible design, here are PEAT's top tips for factoring accessibility into the entire product development lifecycle.

One of the first steps in improving accessibility in the workplace is getting a clear idea of what ICT is being used, and whether it has any accessibility barriers.

As you develop your accessibility efforts or launch a program or initiative, it’s important to know—and be able to prove–that your activities are having a positive effect. Accessibility can be confusing and complex, but it is possible to measure what you are achieving, and doing that will reinforce the value of your accessibility work and let you understand and communicate about your progress.

Developing and providing information and communications technology (ICT) products that are accessible is a matter of smart business.

Employers with strong, mature accessibility initiatives usually have support from the top—executives and other leaders who communicate their commitment to an information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure that is inclusive of people with disabilities throughout the organization.But what type of executive should spearhead your initiative? And how can you, as an internal accessibility advocate, recruit such a leader? PEAT suggests three easy action steps to get you on the right path.

To ensure their products are accessible to the widest range of people—including people with disabilities—many technology providers implement internal initiatives focused specifically on information and communications technology (ICT) accessibility. To be successful, such an initiative must be guided by a well-rounded team of committed individuals, each bringing specific skills and resources to the table.

When it comes to human capital, taking steps to improve the accessibility of your workplace technology infrastructure can reap significant rewards in terms of enhanced employee productivity and bottom line benefits. What's more, it can widen your pool of potential talent by sending a clear message that all qualified individuals—including those with disabilities—are welcome to apply.