How our Accessibility Centers are helping Accenture accelerate a culture of equality
September 20, 2021
What started as a labor of love by our team in the Philippines has evolved to become Accenture’s first Accessibility Center that opened in 2019.
The idea started with one of our employees who was hard of hearing. Finding the most suitable head set for her involved trying more than 30 before she found the best one. We realized that there is no one size fits all when it comes to assistive technologies. Out of this necessity the Accessibility Center was born—a dedicated space where all types of tools and technologies can be readily available for trying out.
We embraced this great thinking and took it globally—with 32 centers open across the globe as of October 2022 in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. We have plans for many more.
Our Accessibility Centers are experience zones that provide assistive technology solutions for different needs—from hearing and vision impairments to mobility solutions to disability prevention to neurodiversity. The centers provide space where persons with disabilities can test and use various assistive technologies and ergonomic equipment.
The centers create an environment that recognizes the specific needs of persons with disabilities and offer a wide range of solutions for diverse needs:
Additionally, the centers create an opportunity for all our people across Accenture to experience these products and solutions in the endeavor to learn more about disabilities. They also serve as hubs for engaging, collaborating and exchanging ideas to support our people with disabilities and showcase our capabilities related to accessibility to clients. To date, we’ve had more than 300 demonstrations.
Our Accessibility Centers are about making Accenture more accessible and inclusive for everyone. It’s about unleashing all the amazing talent we have regardless of ability by removing barriers with technology. The technologies and equipment promote greater acceptance and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace. They also help all employees feel that they belong both personally and professionally and contribute to our culture of equality.
Additionally, our research shows that having diverse teams that include persons with disabilities working side by side increases innovation, improves productivity and creates a more inclusive work environment.
Making Accenture barrier free and accessible to all fosters an environment where everyone can be their best. For people without a disability, technology makes work easier, but for persons with disabilities, technology makes work possible—and has made a real difference in their lives.
Here are some demonstrations of how it all plays out in real life at work every day:
Sergio Ramos Faria, a Program and Project Management Associate Manager in Brazil, works to find different and innovative ways to apply technologies. As a blind person, Sergio uses accessible communication tools every day to read screen content such as Microsoft’s Seeing AI app to have the content read back to him.
Beatriz Garcia Sanchez, an Accessibility Testing and Developer in Madrid, is responsible for preparing test manuals and designing tests for web applications to ensure compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). As a deaf person, Beatriz uses Microsoft Teams’ and Microsoft Translator’s accessible features to communicate with colleagues.
Jonathan Bray, an Extended Reality Lead Developer at the Dock in Dublin, works on innovative and cutting-edge solutions, such as virtual and augmented reality apps that help change lives. Jonathan has Asperger’s Syndrome, part of the autism spectrum disorder, which affects how he interacts with people, how he perceives the world and how he handles work assignments. He uses a screen-reader to easily have any web page, email, or Word document read aloud.
These experiences reflect ways accessible technologies are enabling our people to perform to their full potential.
We continue to evolve what we’re doing. Aside from opening more centers, we have created a centralized portal for viewing Accessibility Center information. We’ve also created an Accessibility Center on Wheels to physically bring a center to events and even the homes of persons with disabilities. And the Accessibility Virtual Express Lane, multi-channel technology support for our people with disabilities, offers support by chat bot, SMS and video sign language.
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