My first CSUN was in 2004 and I think I was the only Indian there. If you don’t know CSUN, it is probably “the conference” you wanted to attend if you were working in Accessibility. Though I had been working with disability & accessibility since 1995, the feeling of being outside the “community” was something that intimidated me.
Over the next few years, I realized that the Accessibility community largely focused on the US. Over the years, I have found my place & am part of the Accessibility community globally and in the US. The people have gone from being just names to friends and colleagues whether it is Lainey Feingold, Sharron Rush, Matt May, Jennison Asuncion, Axel Leblois, Mike Paciello and so many more.
But I think it is time to realize that Accessibility is a global issue. There are some amazing people around the world that are some of the most brilliant accessibility experts that I have met.
Australia — Andrew Arch
Andrew is the Principal Digital Accessibility and Inclusive Design Consultant at Intopia Digital. I met Andrew when he was a part of W3C and was focusing on increasing the accessibility of the Web for people with age-related accessibility needs as well as for people with disabilities. I think we have a lot to learn from him!
India — Yours Truly
I as in Shilpi 😀, founded BarrierBreak & 247 Accessible Documents to deliver digital accessibility at scale and to prove a point that people with disabilities could be a part of the solution as we conduct accessibility testing and provide accessibility consulting services globally.
Japan — Makoto Ueki
Makoto is a Web Accessibility Consultant at Infoaxia (Tokyo, Japan) who provides a wide range of consulting services with full support for compliance with WCAG and JIS X 8341–3 (Japanese Industrial Standards). Makoto has been a part of formulating accessibility standards and that is where I first got to know of him.
Mexico — Mónica Duhem
Monica is the Founder of Hearcolors. She is an expert in access to telecommunications services and ICT. With HearColors, Monica created a unique model in Mexico to push for a more inclusive internet for persons with Disabilities.
Sweden — Susanna Laurin
Susanna is the Chief Research & Innovation Officer at Funka. She has more than 20 years of experience in working with disability-related issues. One of the key technical experts to EN 301 549 and a believer in harmonised standards. I met her through G3ICT and admire her wealth of knowledge.
So, broaden your network of the amazing accessibility people & the fantastic organizations globally focusing on accessibility.