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Transforming the Workplace with New Technologies. Presented by Debra Ruh Founder & President TecAccess. New Directions, New Possibilities. Meet Rose! Though Rose cannot speak or use her hands, she… travels the world participates in adventure sports has her own column in an Ohio

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Transforming the Workplace with New Technologies

Presented by

Debra Ruh

Founder & President


new directions new possibilities
New Directions, New Possibilities

Meet Rose!

Though Rose cannot speak or use her hands, she…

  • travels the world
  • participates in adventure sports
  • has her own column in an Ohio


  • is a high level manager


Technology Makes It All Possible

“TecAccess gave me my respect back, TecAccess gave me my life back.”

~~Rosemary Musachio

  • Rose uses assistive technology
  • Rose uses instant messaging, email, chat forums, and social networking
  • Rose takes advantage of the movement towards greater accessibility in all E&IT products and services

new directions new possibilities4
New Directions, New Possibilities
  • Meet Ed!
  • Though Ed has traumatic brain injury, has suffered a stroke, and has limited use of his hands, he…
  • participates in marathons
  • serves as an inspirational


  • enjoys SCUBA diving
  • holds a senior IT position

technology makes it all possible
Technology Makes It All Possible

“When I come to work, I know I’m a part of something bigger than me.”

~~Ed Ziegler

  • Ed uses voice recognition software to send e-mails and instant messages, surf the web, and create documents.
  • Ed uses ergonomic seating and chairs.
  • Ed seeks out businesses and organizations that recognize the value of accessible design and who have taken the necessary steps to purchase and use technology that work with his assistive technology.

the big picture
The Big Picture
  • One in four computer users has a visual difficulty or impairment.
  • One in four computer users has a dexterity difficulty or impairment.
  • One in five computer users has a hearing difficulty or impairment.

the big picture continued
The Big Picture continued…
  • Our population is aging, and an increasing number of people are acquiring disabilities for the first time in their lives.
  • An increasing number of disabilities and impairments are associated with the aging process.
  • Disabilities are not confined to traditional definitions anymore.

the big picture continued8
The Big Picture continued…
  • Accessible technology aids more than those with disabilities and the aging.
  • Forrester Research Inc. (2003) studied the effect

of accessible technology for the general population

(those with and without disabilities):

“In the U.S. 60% (101.4 million) of working-age adults 18 to 64 are likely or very likely to benefit from the use of accessible technology.”

the changing face of technology
The Changing Face of Technology
  • There is certainly a growing need for more accessible technology.
  • With the number of people with disabilities growing, a clear market place advantage arises.
  • Laws are being created, technology is being developed, and organizations are beginning to realize the benefits of making their technology easier to use by all people.

the evolution of accessible technology
The Evolution of Accessible Technology
  • What was once philanthropic in nature moved to a legislative tone at the turn of the millennium.
  • In the public sector, government technology regulations were increasingly adopted by state & local government agencies and education.
  • Now, however, the marketplace is driving accessibility.

today s bottom line
Today’s Bottom Line

Government and private industry now realize that

when technology is not accessible…

  • There is the possibility of an ADA or Section 508 lawsuit.
  • There is a loss of procurement from the Federal Government.
  • There is a loss of clients/customers.
  • There are missed opportunities to serve citizens/customers.
  • There is risk of poor public image/brand damage.


Today’s Bottom Linecontinued…

  • We now realize that it is more cost effective to retain skilled employees than to recruit new ones. By using accessible technology, organizations can keep aging employees in the workplace longer.
  • Without accessibility strategies to attract or retain these workers, companies will have a significant loss in knowledge workers over the next 10 to 15 years.
  • There is an increase in the number of people with disabilities who are just now graduating from major universities and training programs. Accessible technology is therefore more critical than ever before to enable these valued workers to contribute to the workforce.

pace of innovation
Pace of Innovation

Meanwhile, the overall population also continues to depend increasingly on computer technology:

  • Sharing data between systems, departments & companies.
  • Powerful search capabilities are simplifying info retrieval.
  • Becoming easier to build and manage teams that span the globe.
  • Improved mobility allows business to happen almost anywhere.

However, there is increasing difficulty for companies and workers, with and without disabilities, to keep up:

  • Email, instant messaging, text messaging
  • Audio/video conferencing, online virtual meeting places
  • Internet vs. Intranet sites
  • RSS Feeds
  • Blogging
  • Etc.

pace of innovation continued
Pace of Innovation continued…

There is no sign the rate of change will slow:

  • Convergence of technologies enable new scenarios.
  • New technologies replace existing solutions.
  • Increased storage capacity & speed delivered in smaller form factors creates new possibilities.

U.S. consumers age 50+ are helping fan the flames:

  • 32% of computer, and 31% of digital camera purchases in 2007 were made by consumers age 50+ (NPD Group).
  • More than 77% of people age 55 to 64 have mobile phones, as compared to 86% of the entire U.S. population (M: Metrics).
  • In 2007, there were more Internet users age 55+ than age 18 to 34 (Nielsen Online).

what s around the corner
What’s Around the Corner?
  • People with disabilities are gaining recognition as a significant and growing market for products and services. This will only strengthen as we turn the corner.
  • People with disabilities are now making their needs and expectations known.
  • Now that people with disabilities have emerged as an untapped spending and voting power, this population is directly positioned to lead the future development of accessible technology.

the future
The Future…
  • Ask a person with a disability! They hold the key.
  • Disability can become one’s greatest asset, as people with disabilities are now positioned to use their first-hand knowledge of facing accessibility challenges to in turn help make the world more user-friendly for all.

new possibilities
New Possibilities!

With new technology there are new possibilities – and appropriately, people with disabilities are leading this change.

disability as choice
Disability as Choice
  • Unemployment, seclusion, doubt, and inactivity are indeed paralysis of the spirit.
  • With improvements in technology, accommodations, and attitudinal barriers, we now can choose NOT to be disabled.

disability as choice19
Disability as Choice

When faced with a disability,

options are clear:

  • Find or create alternatives


  • Use assistive technology to take those abilities we do have to a higher level.

the new workforce
The New Workforce
  • In the past, employers typically would not consider people with disabilities in high-tech and management positions as an option.
  • Yet research has unequivocally proven that people with disabilities can lead the way in all levels of management, especially in the accessible technology field.

the new workforce continued
The New Workforce continued…
  • Personal computers (PCs) and assistive technology for people with disabilities are improving fast.
  • The number of people with disabilities wishing to learn to use this technology is increasing year by year.
  • Businesses are now implementing very simple and cost effective strategies to hire people with disabilities in anticipation of setting themselves apart, thus creating a marketdifferentiator.

call to action you can shape the future
Call to Action: You Can Shape the Future
  • Allocate resources appropriately
  • Develop a plan (understand accessibility standards, perform assessments, set goals)
  • Identify problem areas
  • Implement guidelines
  • Accessibility testing/track site progress
  • Educate employees
  • Integrate accessibility into quality assurance and content delivery processes
  • Keep a historical view of your accessibility work

call to action you can shape the future continued
Call to Action: You Can Shape the Future continued…
  • Get the right leadership involved:
    • Marketing
    • Development
    • Public Relations
    • End Users
    • Executive Management
    • Operations
    • Professional Development/Training

enable your business processes
Enable your Business Processes!

TecAccess uses IDEAL Online Conferencing for internal communications & collaboration, as well as delivering Professional Services to our clients:

  • Meets all pertinent Section 508 E&IT Accessibility Standards. See VPAT:
  • A fully accessible, feature-rich online conferencing and collaboration system with thousands of users, including those with vision, speech, hearing, mobility and learning disabilities!
  • Currently, successfully used for DVET Program
  • Professional Development/Training

enable your business processes continued
Enable your Business Processes! continued…

IDEAL Online Conferencing features:

  • Tested and compatible with commercial assistive technology including JAWS, Window-Eyes, ZoomText, Magic, Dragon Naturally Speaking
  • Audio is compatible with inductive loop-equipped headsets
  • Interoperable and compatible with Remote Conference Captioning services
  • Internal Document Control Center converts MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF files into accessible formats!

what you can do
What You Can Do!

When you leave this presentation today, I encourage you to remember these success stories, and to look within your respective work environments.

Think about what you can do for the field of accessible technology and find creative ways to make it happen.

where does it all lead
Where Does It All Lead?
  • You Decide!
  • Open discussion.
  • Questions.


Debra Ruh

Founder & President


Rockville Commerce Center

Building A, Unit 1

2410 Granite Ridge Road

Rockville, VA 23146

Phone: (804) 749-8646

Fax: (804) 784-7493


  • Section 508 Compliance Assessment Planning
  • Accessibility Testing
  • Training
  • Engineering and Reengineering Services
  • Assistive Technology and Access Interfaces
  • Focus Groups
  • And much more!