by Anil Lewis
From the Editor: When we see problems, we do more than talk and write about them. When we can, we create programs to address them. Here is what Anil Lewis, the executive director of the NFB Jernigan Institute, has to say about one of our newest programs:
You may remember that in 2016, with support from the Maryland Department of Disabilities, the National Federation of the Blind launched an important initiative aimed at generating new resources for accessibility. We named it the Accessibility Switchboard. At its core, it is a dynamic online portal at AccessibilitySwitchboard.org that houses guides, articles, and other resources that consumers, government, corporate entities, and educational institutions can use to effectively address various aspects of accessibility—from developing accessible websites to procuring accessible technologies.
All of our resources are designed to be action-oriented and are grounded in proven success stories and existing best practices graciously shared with us by our Community of Practice members and member organizations. We are continually updating and adding content to the portal as we work to respond to current needs for specific information related to accessibility.
Today, I'm excited to announce the addition of seven new QA articles and six new guides. As a preview, these will include answers to critical questions like, "How do I advocate for myself when my school has digital accessibility problems?" and "How can I overcome resistance to change in an organization-wide accessibility project?"
We will be rolling out this new content throughout the coming weeks, and I invite you to actively join in on the discussion by following and using the hashtag #A11ySwitchboard.
The key to creating a more accessible world is to ensure meaningful participation and active communication between consumers and industry. The Accessibility Switchboard brings consumers and industry together, providing up-to-date information about accessible websites, emerging technology, as well as frequently encountered accessibility problems and relevant solutions. It also serves as a centralized point of contact for consumers to voice concerns about barriers to nonvisual access.
By creating this dynamic accessibility information portal, highlighting the organizations that are doing it correctly, and creating a place where consumers can give real input, the Accessibility Switchboard can shift organizational implementation of accessibility from second hand to second nature.
I'm excited for you to be a part of and have the opportunity to help shape this effort as we announce our latest content. Be sure to check #A11ySwitchboard this week and beyond.