#InclusionChamps – Digital accessibility about more than software for screen reader, says Raghavendra Peri, Winner, Universal Design Award 2020
Raghavendra Satish Peri came into the accessibility space by accident. Now this Bengaluru-based Digital Accessibility Consultant for Deque Systems is committed to building a larger accessibility culture in India. Efforts that have won him the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards for 2020.
A visual impairment did not come in the way of Raghavendra Satish Peri’s dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. The path, however, was filled with challenges as he found that companies claiming to be inclusive did not walk the talk.
These struggles shaped Raghavendra’s determination to ensure that disabled people do not encounter the same challenges. Currently a Senior Accessibility Consultant with Deque Systems, he has a rich and varied experience in digital accessibility. This is evident in his work across fields like travel, e-commerce, entertainment, to name just a few.
Rich, varied accessibility experience
His sustained efforts that have won Raghavendra the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Award 2020 in the category of persons with disabilities who have created an impact in accessibility and universal design across varied areas.
I came into accessibility space by accident and fell in love with my job. I was able to make direct impact on a large user group of people with disabilities by making websites, apps and software accessible. This award and recognition goes a long way in solidifying what I believe in. Sometimes a small recognition goes a long way to keep the torch burning and move forward with more energy and determination. – Raghavendra S Peri, Winner, Universal Design Award 2020
Raghavendra is encouraged by the changes in the digital accessibility space over the last 10 years. “Many software companies are opting to hire accessibility specialists and the policies/laws around accessibility has grown stronger. Businesses are realising there is a community that is left behind and trying hard to cater to the needs of differently abled people by making sure that products and services are made accessible”.
As the author of digitala11y.com, he documents learnings in the digital accessibility space to ensure they are widely shared. “I have spent my energy on digitala11y.com collecting accessibility resources, writing tutorials and articles. The blog has grown exponentially from getting 100 visits a month to 10,000 visits a month”.
Building awareness among corporates
Currently he is focused on building the HelloA11Y community launched in May 2020.
“The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 address the needs of a wide variety of disabilities like blind, low vision, hearing impaired, cognitive, physical and motor disabilities. HelloA11Y is focused on filling the knowledge and skill gaps. Going forward we would like to help people with disabilities in finding suitable jobs. Already our community on WhatsApp is very successful as we see people share job opportunities, ask questions and help each other. A lot of Indian start-up apps that help us in our daily needs are not accessible. Currently we are working to enable dialogue with their founders and to get these applications accessible”.
There is still a long way to go for accessibility to become a part of regular business process design and not just be an afterthought, says Raghavendra, but he is upbeat about the road ahead.
Click here to know more about DigitalA11Y.
To know more about HelloA11Y, click here.
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