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InterAccess background and mission - a note from Josh

Joshue O'Connor - Director of InterAccess

Hello and welcome! So who am I and what's the mission? Apologies, that the first question is a bit deep and well I just can't answer it fully. The second is also important, and not there to add any existential dissonance. We all need a mission.

For some background, I've worked directly with people with disabilities for many years, as an Assistive Technology specialist, trainer, auditor and usability analyst. I'm also a musician, researcher and author.

I've been very fortunate, as the arc of my career (sic) has led to me to some cutting edge projects, such as helping lead the development of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), running a technical department for the UK's Government Digital Services (GDS). I also recently worked for the W3C as an emerging technologies specialist on Immersive Environments (XR), WebRTC accessibility, Media Synchronization, and Natural Language Interface accessibility. Just in case you think that's all a bit too glam, please note many of those gigs involved a lot of clearing up, exhausting discussions and trying to fix broken things.

It's genuinely exciting to see so much innovation is coming from the accessibility space, and people with disabilities are often leading fundamental changes in the architecture, development and adoption of amazing new technologies that often eventually become commonplace.

I'm very fortunate to have a great team to work with. Happy to say, the InterAccess crew are really just better than me at modern accessibility auditing, testing etc. I'm still learning, as we help each other stay up to date with new technical developments, improvements and changes. I still think device independent element.focus() methods are the pinnacle of sophistication.

So what's the mission? InterAccess are a sort of bridge that helps join certain social and technical dots. We do this for people with disabilities, as well as designers and developers. We do this by raising awareness through the path of accessibility auditing, testing, and involving people with disabilities in the design and development process for our clients. I guess that's the mission.

Brian Dalton – Project Manager / Accessibility QA Lead

Brian Dalton - Accessibility QA lead and Project Manager

Brian Dalton is a subject matter expert in accessibility related QA testing, with extensive experience in both Waterfall and Agile software development.

He has delivered accessibility training programs during the whole life cycle of many software development projects.

These include accessibility requirements and testing from the project vision document, the analysis and design phase, and creating accessibility business requirements and user stories, functional test cases, through to creating a user-friendly experience.

He has managed the delivery of key projects for InterAccess clients such as: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the NTA and Irish Rail as well as giving accessibility training to the HSE.

Brian is a power screen reader user and a beta tester with JAWS (Job Access with Speech), one of the key screen readers used by blind people around the world.

His experience in using assistive technology at a professional and personal level, gives him a deep knowledge and understanding of what is needed to create a pleasant experience for screen reader users when auditing for and working with clients to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Brian is a keen blogger, and likes to share his knowledge and experience on the Interaccess blog – he is also an avid music fan and DJs on Team-fm.

Pat Cullen – Senior Accessibility Consultant and Trainer

Pat Cullen - Senior Accessibility Consultant

Pat Cullen has been working in the accessibility field for 7 years as an accessibility auditor, team lead and consultant. He has worked closely with testers, developers, designers, product owners and senior management to help them understand the accessibility auditing process and provide advice and training during accessibility engagements.

Pat has performed hundreds of audits using all of the major accessibility environments on commercial websites and applications and he is equally at home with mobile or desktop accessibility testing.

His favourite accessibility activities include: keyboard testing, colour selection, improving best practice, Accessibility QA training, design review, solution advice, testing verification in Agile and helping our clients to understand and satisfy the WCAG 2.1 success criteria.

Dave Bowley – Accessibility Consultant

Dave Bowley - Accessibility Consultant

David Bowley has been working as an accessibility consultant for a number of Enterprise and SME clients, providing expert technical guidance throughout, from design to implementation and ongoing remediation. He is passionate about improving the user experience for all users of assistive technology.

Regarding professional practice, David has a firm conviction that WCAG is only the foundation on which to build, and that accessibility testing should be concerned with real world users, beyond any necessary regulatory compliance.

Experienced in testing both desktop and mobile environments – including native mobile applications – David can often be found with his head buried in broken code trying to find that elusive fix.

Dave has a BA (Hons) in Applied Theology.

Steve Lee – Cognitive Accessibility Lead

Steve Lee - Cognitive Accessibility Lead

Steve (ex Mozilla, W3C) has been working with code, architecture and deployments for some 40 years. The last 15 years or so he's focused open web technologies and accessibility, including assistive technology.

He's worked in a wide range of areas, both commercial and public: from embedded digital mobile communications, through developer tooling to educational MIS systems and financial software.

A recent focus has been working with the cognitive accessibility task force of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) group at the W3C WAI.

Steve loves being part of a diverse team and most enjoys solving real-world problems using technical, creative, interpersonal and analytical skills.

His personal mission is to enhance the technology experiences of all, through development, training, guidance, and support.