The 2020 Agenda

We will announce the full 2021 agenda in October. Until then, watch for emails and posts announcing speakers.

  • Main Stage

    Welcome and Introduction by Karae Lisle, CEO of Vista Center and Will Butler, Host of Sight Tech Global

    Concluded
    - PT
  • Main Stage

    Designing for everyone: Accessibility innovation at Apple

    Apple has long embraced accessibility as a bedrock design principle. Not only has Apple created some of the most popular consumer products in history, these same products are also some of the most powerful assistive devices ever. Apple’s Sarah Herrlinger and Chris Fleizach will discuss the latest accessibility technology from Apple and how the company fosters a culture of innovation, empowerment and inclusion.

    Speakers

    • Sarah Herrlinger Photo
      Sarah Herrlinger, Senior Director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, Apple
    Concluded
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  • Breakout

    American Council of the Blind: Get Up & get Moving: A Call for Leveraging Technology to Improve Health and Wellness

    The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the global challenges that technology can experience when pushed to the limits. This realty check has not only been disproportionately burdensome for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, but it has also exposed the pre-existing barriers that have harmed the physical, social, and psychological well-being within this community over the years. Join the American Council of the Blind for an empowering panel on how technology can break down barriers to a full and enriched life, and how we can all get up and get moving toward full equality in the health and wellness arena.
    • Clark Rachfal, ACB Director of Advocacy
    • Eric Bridges, ACB Executive Director
    • Brian Charlson, ACB member
    • Jeff Bishop, Microsoft Program Manager on the Windows Accessibility team
    • Joshua Flewellen, Agent Analyst, Aira
    • Be Birchall, Senior Software Engineer, Peloton Interactive
    Concluded
    - PT
  • Main Stage

    Computer Vision, AI and Accessibility: What’s missing from this picture?

    For an AI to interpret the visual world on behalf of people who are blind or visually impaired, the AI needs to know what it’s looking at, and no less important, that it’s looking at the right thing. Mainstream computer vision databases don’t do that well - yet. Work is under way to fill those data gaps.

    Speakers

    • Roberto Manduchi Photo
      Moderator: Roberto Manduchi, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz
    Concluded
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  • Breakout

    Salesforce: The new Office of Accessibility – Explained (sponsored breakout)

    It's been a year since Salesforce announced the launch of their Office of Accessibility, a new corporate team that partners with internal stakeholders to highlight accessibility needs and develop improvement plans, build workforce development programs, and evangelize Salesforce and their employees, customers, and other important work across the industry, all under one roof. In this breakout session, Kristian Burch, Senior Manager of Global Accessibility Compliance, and Richard Boardman, Senior Director of UX Engineering, Accessibility will discuss what led to this groundbreaking move, how the Office interacts with other teams and more specifically Product Accessibility, what’s worked, and what they would change looking back.
    • Kristian Burch, Senior Manager of Global Accessibility Compliance
    • Richard Boardman, Senior Director of UX Engineering, Accessibility
    Concluded
    - PT
  • Main Stage

    Accessibility from the wheels up: the Waymo self-driving taxi

    If people who are blind or visually impaired find Uber and Lyft liberating, imagine how they will feel summoning a self-driving ride from an app on their mobile phones. But wait, how exactly will they locate the cars and what happens when they climb in? Clem Wright is responsible for the self-driving taxi’s accessibility, and he will be joined by leadership from two organizations with a big stake in the outcome: the Lighthouse for the Blind SF and the Foundation for Blind Children.
    Concluded
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  • Main Stage

    What can a body do? How we meet the built world

    Technologists like to imagine how their work affects people, but that's no substitute for truly knowing the real impact on lives, or better yet understanding what people, especially people with disabilities, really want from their surroundings and community. Author, designer and professor Sara Hendren discusses her new book, "What Can a Body Can Do?"
    Concluded
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  • Breakout

    Teach Access: Teaching accessibility to tomorrow's builders

    Teach Access, a national coalition of institutions of higher ed, corporations (mostly tech-centered) and advocates with disabilities, will be conducting a roundtable with recent college students to discuss how the teaching of accessible design and development at the university level can help close the accessibility skills gap for the emerging generation of participants in the new digital economy.
    • Ossama Ali, Teach Access Study Away 2019 Alum
    • Zach Bohenick, Product Designer, Ford X, and Study Away Alum
    • Kate Sonka, Executive Director, Teach Access; Assistant Director of Academic Technology, Michigan State University
    • Larry Goldberg, Co-founder, Teach Access; Head of Accessibility, Verizon Media
    Concluded
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  • Main Stage

    Wayfinding: Finding the mark

    Map apps on mobile phones are miraculous tools accessible via voice output, but mainstream apps don’t announce the detailed location information (which people who are blind or visually impaired really want), especially inside buildings and in public transportation settings. Efforts in the US and UK are improving accessible navigation.

    Speakers

    • Mike May Photo
      Moderator: Mike May, Chief Evangelist, Goodmaps
    Concluded
    - PT
  • Breakout

    accessiBe: Using AI to make websites accessible to people with disabilities (sponsored breakout)

    accessiBe, a world leader in fully automated web accessibility, will host a Q&A session in which they'll go over what accessiBe is, how it works, and answer any questions related to making websites fully accessible using AI.
    • Shir Ekerling, CEO and Co-founder, accessiBe
    Concluded
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  • Main Stage

    Augmented Reality and Perception: What’s the best way to get the message across?

    It's one thing for an AI-based system to "know" when it's time to turn left, who came through the door or how far away the couch is: it's quite another to convey that information in a timely fashion with minimal distraction. Researchers are making use of haptics, visual augmented reality (AR), sound and language to figure out the right solutions.
    Concluded
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  • Breakout

    Vispero: The Engineering Experience of Adding a Voice Assistant to ZoomText and JAWS (sponsored breakout)

    Roxana and Sriram talk about their experiences in adding Voice Assistant to a mainstream Windows screen reader and magnifier. They explore the new input mechanic's benefits and limitations and the guideposts they used to create the initial command set. They also talk about the Voice assistant's data and conversational privacy aspects and how Vispero is approaching them.
    • Sriram Ramanathan, Senior Software Engineer, Vispero
    • Roxana Fischer, UX Research Analyst, Vispero
    Concluded
    - PT
  • Main Stage

    Disability Rights and Inventing the Accessible Future

    When technologists design exciting new innovations, those designs rarely include blind people. Access to technology and information is a civil right. Yet when technologists design exciting new innovations, those designs rarely include blind people. Advocates urge us to employ a variety of strategies, from education to litigation, to ensure accessibility is baked into all future tech and information systems. Harvard Law’s first Deafblind graduate Haben Girma, disability rights attorney Lainey Feingold, and Chief Innovations officer with the DAISY Consortium, George Kerscher, will discuss strategies for creating a future fully accessible to disabled people, including those who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color.
    Concluded
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2020 Sponsors