Jul 14, 2023
The future of digital accessibility and how AI will shape access
This week I joined a number of a number of accessibility and inclusion experts and leaders at the University of Warwick and spoke about “the future of Accessibility and the role of AI in bridging the access gap” for the Disability in the workplace - summer conference.
In case you missed the talk here’s some of the areas and points I covered in my talk;
I was running a health tech company in the middle of lockdown and feeling sick every time I opened my email due to Dyslexia (and undiagnosed ADHD and two undiagnosed hidden disabilities). Our clients in the NHS always seemed to send me huge emails.
The daily struggle started affecting my confidence and significantly affecting my mental health (one of the biggest drivers of employee absence in the UK). I’d been looking at how AI could improve patient treatment and thought, I wonder if I can use AI to make email accessible for Dyslexia?
In many businesses, we look at people who are struggling and just assume they need to work harder, instead of recognising their struggle and supporting their needs, to help them succeed.
This problem is compounded by the fact that there is a societal myth that hard work = success, when in fact, hundreds of years of economic history show that the only way we can sustainably and significantly increase productivity is via the adoption of technology.
AI will change the way we interact with work. Unlike the industrial revolution, these changes will happen over years, not hundreds of years. This change in how we interact with our tools and work will open up huge opportunities to improve accessibility that have never existed before.
We all have very different needs. Two people with the same condition, like Dyslexia, likely have different needs.
Someones accessbility requirements become even more unique when we look at how an individuals disability can impact their context and workflow.
A lot of software products out there are either ineffective or one size fits all solutions.
Generalised tools are likely to improve general productivity but aren't designed with accessibility barriers in mind.
The future of accessibility is tools that are built to be personalised.
At Sumrise we’ve built a toolkit that each user can use to customise for their own unique needs. We’re using AI to pull out important information from a thread in a click, auto-highlight important information in an email to make it easier to read at a glance, and break up long text and detect where a user is reading and highlight that, to make reading more efficient.
At Sumrise, we’re not stopping there - we’re building out more tools and working with Businesses and Charities to co-design and shape the future of digital accessibility (more below).
Sumrise Digital Accessibility Champions will work with us to shape the future of digital accessibility, get exclusive early access to Sumrise for Microsoft, and unlock the potential of neurodiverse people in your organisation.
➡️ Become a Digital Accessibility Champion (find out more).