GRAND BALLROOM The "Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act" On September 29, 2022, U.S. House Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD-03) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced legislation to help break down the significant barriers that Americans with disabilities continue to face when accessing website and software applications, which all Americans rely on for employment, commerce, education, public services and all other aspects of society. The "Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act" would build on the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — passed over 32 years ago — by requiring that entities currently covered by the ADA, as well as commercial providers, maintain websites and software applications that are accessible for Americans with disabilities. This legislation would also establish a clear accessibility standard as well as establish a technical assistance center and advisory committee to provide advice and guidance on how to develop and maintain accessible websites and applications. Additionally, this legislation would authorize a study on the effects that emerging technologies have on the ability of individuals with disabilities to participate in society.
Introduction by John G. Paré Jr., Executive Director for Advocacy and Policy, National Federation of the Blind
Remarks via video by U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD-03)
Perspectives from advocacy organizations involved with the drafting of the Act with:
John G. Paré Jr., Executive Director for Advocacy and Policy, National Federation of the Blind
Stephanie Enyart, Chief Public Policy and Research Officer, American Foundation for the Blind
Clark Rachfal, Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, American Council of the Blind
9:30am – 10:30am
GRAND BALLROOM Round Table: Next Steps for Digital Accessibility Policies and Standards Accessibility standards and guidelines play a critical role in promoting digital accessibility from a public policy angle and in setting desired outcomes for digital products, content, and services. The round table will explore progress achieved in global harmonization and adoption, implementation gaps, and the likely evolution of accessibility standards in a rapidly evolving technology environment.
Moderator: Tim Springer, CEO, Level Access & eSSENTIAL Accessibility Speakers:
Judy Brewer, Director WAI, W3C
Diane Burstein, Deputy Chief, CGB, FCC
Sachin Dev Pavithran, Executive Director, U.S. Access Board
Susanna Laurin(CPACC), Chief Research and Innovation Officer, Funka; IAAP and G3ict Representative to the EU; and ETSI/CEN/CENELEC eAccessibility JWG Chair
STUDIO B Meet the Leaders | Fireside Chat With Sarah Herrlinger, Senior Director, Global Accessibility, Apple Moderated by Robin Spinks, Head of Inclusive Design, RNIB
10:30am – 11:00am
11:00am – 12:00pm
GRAND BALLROOM Meet the Leaders | Fireside Chat With Rebecca Bond, Chief, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice Moderated by Lainey Feingold, Disability Rights Lawyer and Author, Law Office of Lainey Feingold
STUDIO B Panel Discussion: Digital Inclusion Strategies for Older Persons Aging demographics present a challenge for organizations offering digital products, content, and services: accessibility features often rely on alternative modes of user interaction which may not work for older persons living with multiple disabilities, including sensorial, physical, and cognitive. This session will examine possible solutions to ensure the digital inclusion of older persons.
Kevin Rydberg, Managing Accessibility Consultant, Siteimprove
Michal Rimon, CEO, Access Israel
Emily Steel, Deputy Chair of the Centre for Universal Design Australia and Australia's delegate on the ISO cognitive accessibility working group
STUDIO D Sponsored Session: Usability Is Everything for Accessible Documents – Three Ways Automated Testing at Scale Can Ensure Usability
Presenter: Scott Baker, Executive Vice President, Crawford Technologies
STUDIO E - "GLOBAL STUDIO" Panel Discussion: Advancing the Accessibility of Virtual and Hybrid Meetings and Conferencing The rapid and massive adoption of virtual meetings, teleservices, and collaboration tools across all sectors of activities presents great opportunities for the inclusion of persons with disabilities if accessibility is factored in all their processes. This session will review the progress made by platform vendors in offering accessibility features, remaining opportunities for further improvements, and how to ensure greater awareness and proper utilization of those accessibility features by organizations.
Session Chair: Kevin Grogg, Assistive Technologies Service Owner, Ernst & Young Panelists:
Ryan Bonheyo, Senior Account Executive, Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD)
Michael Keane, Principal Digital Accessibility Engineer, Optum/UnitedHealth Group
Johan Rempel, UX/ICT Quality Assurance Manager, UXC, CPACC, College of Design, Georgia Institute of Technology
Dan Uyematsu, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft
12:00pm – 1:30pm
1:30pm – 2:30pm
GRAND BALLROOM Panel Discussion: New Opportunities for Assistive Technologies in an Interconnected Environment While Assistive Technologies providers have historically promoted standalone user-centered solutions, much potential exist for assistive technologies innovators to leverage the Internet of Things, Smart Homes or Smart Cities innovations as well as low-cost consumer devices offering alternative modes of communications. This session will stage a dialogue between industry and advocates to examine collaboration opportunities between the assistive technologies, consumer electronics and mobile industries in promoting Persons with Disabilities’ independent living, developing standards, tools, and platforms that enable seamless interactions with their environment.
Session Chair: David Dikter, CEO, Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) Panelists:
Julie Eshleman, Assistive Technology UX Researcher, Leonard Cheshire
Scott Freiermuth, Principal Corporate Counsel, Government Affairs Department, T-Mobile
Sandy Hanebrink, Executive Director, Touch the Future, Inc.
STUDIO D Sponsored Session: Beyond the Digital: Burning Platform As new generations share growing preferences for authentically inclusive brands, it's critical for brands to adapt to the present-day standards of its target audience. People with disabilities are a clear benefactor of emerging technologies and the increasingly accessible features they provide. Learn how the innovative perceptions of Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers can clue you in on when a shift in technology is coming and benefit the products services your organization provides in a significant way. The communications needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals are easily misconstrued as a crutch for the population. The opposite is often true, their mastery of communication gave rise to a number of cutting-edge communication solutions that are disrupting the market today: texting, AI captioning, video-based communications apps, to name a few. As these features are increasingly integrated into some of the most recognizable products and brands available today, we've witnessed clear shifts in market usage and preferences. Come learn how overlooking a 2 million customer market is hurting your business. Don’t get burned.
Ryan Bonheyo, Senior Account Executive, Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD)
Greg Pollock, Vice President of Business Development, Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD)
STUDIO E - "GLOBAL STUDIO" Panel Discussion: European Accessibility Act: Where Are We Now? The European Accessibility Act (EAA) is currently being transposed into national law across the EU Member States, following the recent application of the Procurement Directive and the Web Accessibility Directive. What does the situation look like for organizations operating in the European Union? What is the impact of those new measures beyond Europe? How much harmonization exists between the United States, the European Union, and other countries with similar legislation? This session will provide an update on those questions, followed by an interactive discussion with panelists.
Session Chair: Klaus Hoeckner, Managing Director, Austrian Association for the Blind and Low Vision Panelists:
Shadi Abou-Zhara, Principal Standards and Policy Manager, Amazon Device Accessibility
Susanna Laurin (CPACC), Chief Research and Innovation Officer, Funka; IAAP and G3ict Representative to the EU; and ETSI/CEN/CENELEC eAccessibility JWG Chair
Neil Milliken, VP - Global Head of Accessibility & Digital Inclusion, Atos
2:45pm – 3:45pm
GRAND BALLROOM Panel Discussion: Generational and Intersectional Digital Gaps: Why It Matters Leading organizations in matters of Disability Inclusion are increasingly looking at the importance of factoring in the intersectionality of disability and race, color, sex, age, cultural background, or gender identity. How can Digital Inclusion strategies contribute to addressing stigma, discrimination, isolation, lack of understanding, or exclusion by peers when multiple factors are at play? An exchange of perspectives between DEI leaders and advocates will be followed by Q&A with participants.
Session Chair:Susan Mazrui, Director, Global Public Policy, AT&T Panelists:
Ahmad Barber, Chief Creative Officer, Bold Culture, Managing Partner, Streamlined Media & Communications; professional fashion, beauty, and lifestyle photographer
Ronza Othman, President, National Federation of the Blind of Maryland (NFBMD)
Frances West, Founder, FrancesWestCo, G3ict Strategy and Development Committee Chair; Author of Authentic Inclusion™: Drives Disruptive Innovation
STUDIO B Panel Discussion: Neurotechnologies, a New Frontier for Wearables in Gaming and Assistive Solutions AI-enabled neurotechnologies are emerging as an entirely new field of innovation in assistive solutions that can transform the lives of persons with disabilities. And while neuro-technologies, including Brain-Computer Interfaces, have been explored for a while, competition and research and development investments are accelerating with major players entering the field, opening the door to marketable solutions for mobile, wearable, and gaming platforms.
Session Chair: Theresa Vaughan, Advisory Council Chair, G3ict/NeuroAbilities, and Research Scientist, National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies (NCAN) Panelists:
Darryl Adams, Director of Accessibility, Intel
Cathy Bodine, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor, Department of Bioengineering, College of Engineering, Design and Computing, and Director, Innovation Ecosystem, Colorado Clinical Translational Sciences Institute, University of Colorado
Alex Dunn, Founder, Enabled Play
STUDIO D Sponsored Session: Overcoming Accessibility Challenges in the Past, Present, and Future Creating accessible content is just one part of the journey to make your message available and inclusive to the widest possible audience. Marketing and communications teams must think strategically about all the content in their digital ecosystem. Past and current content needs to be revised to reflect an accessible experience. Plus, to be successful moving forward, marketing teams must work to stay informed and expand their knowledge of inclusivity. Join Inka Taagehøj, Siteimprove’s Accessibility Product Expert, and Jennifer Chadwick, Siteimprove’s Senior Digital Accessibility Consultant, for a session on all the potential roadblocks marketing teams encounter on the path to inclusivity (and why they aren’t nearly as intimidating as they seem). Walk away with the insights and tools you need to start turning your brand into an inclusive brand — in the past, present, and future.
Jennifer Chadwick, Senior Digital Accessibility Consultant, Siteimprove
STUDIO E - "GLOBAL STUDIO" Panel Discussion: The Acceleration of Video and TV Accessibility Innovation across Digital Platforms Accompanying the exponential growth of video programming and television across digital platforms, accessibility innovations are accelerating allowing for large scale implementations of new services. This session will examine the scope of those developments, their benefits for persons with disabilities and their pervasive impact on the accessibility ecosystem at large.
Session Chair: Larry Goldberg, Independent Consultant, former Yahoo Head of Accessibility Panelists:
Sonali Rai, Broadcast and Audio Description Manager, RNIB
Heather York, VP, Marketing and Government Affairs, VITAC
3:45pm – 4:15pm
4:15pm – 5:15pm
GRAND BALLROOM Panel Discussion: Global Challenges and Opportunities: Insights from G3ict's Global Country Representatives Accessibility and inclusion challenges and strategies can vary greatly across countries and regions. To support greater accessibility and inclusion worldwide, G3ict’s Global Policy Center has developed an extensive network of Country Representatives - accessibility experts and disability leaders who partner with local and national governments, civil society, and private sector stakeholders to create more inclusive societies and communities. This session will explore the current state of accessibility and inclusion with the G3ict Country Representatives from Kuwait, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Session Chair: James Thurston, VP, Global Strategy and Development, G3ict Panelists:
Zainab AlMeraj, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Information Science Department, Kuwait University, G3ict Country Representative for Kuwait
Thalagodage Janitha Rukmal, Co-founder, Enable Lanka Foundation, G3ict Country Representative for Sri Lanka
Yulia Sarviro, Senior Project Manager, G3ict
Mohammad Atif Sheikh, Executive Director, Special Talent Exchange Programme, G3ict Country Representative for Pakistan
STUDIO B Panel Discussion: Accessibility of Software as a Service (SaaS) Software as a Service (SaaS) has grown exponentially over the past decade and provides applications and services to millions of businesses, education institutions, and government agencies. This session will examine the lack of accessibility of many SaaS offerings in the marketplace, how this has become a critical challenge for many organizations, and how disability advocates and organizations buying those services should engage with SaaS providers in addressing those gaps.
Brian Scarpelli, Senior Global Policy Counsel, ACT-The App Association
Arpitha Shetty, Accessibility and Inclusive Design Director, Products and Technology, PwC
Gian Wild, CEO, AccessibilityOz
STUDIO D Sponsored Session: Technologies for Enabling Job Advancement for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing New opportunities to those who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing. Sorenson, the leading provider of inclusive communication services for Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and diverse people, is continuing its legacy of innovating technologies that facilitate equal opportunities for these communities. When founded, Sorenson revolutionized communication between Deaf and hearing people by introducing the first videophone specifically designed by and for Deaf people, then coupled it with Sorenson Video Relay Service (SVRS). Through the years, Sorenson introduced a variety of features and mobile and software applications for VRS, expanded its services to include in-person interpreting and remote video interpreting (VRI) as well as captioning, including CART services. Sorenson technologies, combined with Zoom, Teams, and other E-platforms, are enabling Deaf and hard-of-hearing people to compete equally with hearing people in the workplace. For example, through Sorenson services, Deaf warehouse employees participate in daily standup meetings, knowledge workers can easily join remote meetings, and small to medium businesses can affordably employ the underutilized Deaf and hard-of-hearing workforce. Because of the new access for these communities, they take part in the current digital transformation while simultaneously transforming their lives. True to its mission, Sorenson is enabling more opportunities for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities to connect.