The Importance Of Accessibility To Apple!

Accessibility Advocacy

Hey Guys,
I thought some might find this interesting.
For those thinking Accessibility isn't important to Apple, Think again.
Tim Cook just named Lisa Jackson to improve and advance Accessibility. If that name isn't familiar to you, this is BIG!
Lisa Jackson is the VP who led the environmental global initiative at Apple. With very successful results. She is very well respected. Most important, she is very well connected outside the Tech bubble.
This single move could be instrumental to Accessibility. Not just Apple, but in general. This would not look good for other companies who aren't backing this very important topic.
In Germany, Tim Cook again touted publicly the importance of Accessibility, not just as an Apple importance.
Tim Cook again said this topic is not about dollars and cents. It's what's right for equality for all. Bravo Apple!
I'm including link of an Apple Watch event. Gives synopsis of this.
Apple puts Environment VP Lisa Jackson in charge of boosting accessibility efforts | 9to5Mac…



Submitted by Ekaj on Monday, March 2, 2015

Well there you go. If this doesn't speak loudly enough to Apple's commitment to accessibility then I don't know what does. Awesome job Apple. I am going to tweet this out for my volunteer job, and maybe even link to it on my own site. But first I shall go bring up my clean laundry.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Monday, March 2, 2015

I have a question about this, how does being outside the tech bubble improve accessibility? she was an environment person for apple, yes, she has done good things globally, but how would this fit with accessibility. Somehow I don't think this is going to be a good match.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Monday, March 2, 2015

If this report is indeed true (one must consider the source, especially since the information usual from this particular publication...probably leaked), the takeaway is that Apple is placing even more emphasis on accessibility. Regardless of who leads this increased effort, I see this is a very good thing.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Monday, March 2, 2015


I would think that anyone Tim Cook puts in charge of bolstering Apple's accessibility efforts would be more than up to the job.

In looking at that article again, it almost sounded as though this person was allegedly being brought on to increase awareness of Apple's accessibility efforts. I say "Allegedly," because...again...we don't have any confirmation that this appointment actually took place, or what role the position would fill.

If the goal of this new position is to increase awareness of Apple's accessibility 9 to 5 Mac asserts...I personally see this as being more of an effort to improve outside awareness of Apple's accessible ecosystem.

Regardless of whether a position is being added to improve public awareness, or to improve the experience for those using accessibility features...I think any additions to Apple's accessibility effort can only bring positive results.

Submitted by Toonhead on Monday, March 2, 2015

It seems like a bit of a strange choice to me for sure. I would certainly think that someone with some actual experience with using assistive technology would be a better fit, but then again, Apple likes to think different, so maybe they're onto something and we just haven't caught up yet.

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I would hope that Mis Jackson will be trained on the fine points of using Apple's assistive technology, if she's not already familiar with them now. It's my firm belief that you can't let people know the technology exists without actually using it and actually being familiar with it. I'm not asking for her to be an expert, after all I've been using iOS since version 6 a few years ago, and there's still tons I don't know. But once I need to learn something, I ask questions and most times people are pretty helpful. So, lets hope this is a good fit.

Submitted by Ivor123 on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Let me begin by saying that I believe Apple is more committed to accessibility than any other major corporation. That being said, does anyone know how many people with disabilities are employed in major management positions by Apple? How many people with disabilities are part of the Accessibility team?

While I believe the appointment of Lisa Jackson signals an even stronger commitment to accessibility by apple, I'm very much looking forward to the day when a major corporation chooses someone with a disability to, at a minimum, lead their accessibility efforts.


Submitted by splyt on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

As I see, it has two aspects to consider.
1- If the need is somewhat political or marketing related, we might have no benefits at all. It points to the fact that Apple still considers accessibility as something important and it is not likely to be dropped but it doesn't exactly need to be improved, it does need to be marketed, anounced, and it is an external oriented nomination.
2- If someone at Apple has realized (it would be so good if they did) that something is going ..... not as good as it once was specially with QA and with new developments and the area therefore needs more focus on it or a different working aproach. If this is the case I would expect that a well known expert in the assistive technology area would be aquired, to work either in this role or as someone responding directly to the role and with full power to control the tech staff to direct them to the level oof QA they want.

Especulating what of the two reazons above would be the reazon for the nomination wont take anyone closer or farer to the truth so I do not see a reazon to do it, but putting things in this perspective might help people think about it.
One way or another, the good thing is to know that Apple still considers accessibility as something important. It remains to be seen if they considers it as something that needs to be kept at acceptable levels of quality and improving.
Oh, I can't resist so I will espiculate ... for me the first reazon did it and I wish it was different.

Submitted by raaj on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My question is, whether Lisa Jackson is a disabled? or a normal person? If she is not a disabled/blind, she cannot fulfill our accessibility needs for hundred per cent. Unless otherwise if you're a blind, you cannot feel the real blindness, in my opinion.

I won't say that she can't do anything for accessibility. Meanwhile, I'd like to say that post could be more beneficial, if that post was filled up by a voiceover user.


Submitted by Michael Hansen on Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I think it's very unfair to suggest that a leader appointed by Tim Cook--a person with a proven record for placing a high value on accessibility--will only be able to meet the needs of the job if they are disabled.

Following your reasoning, are we to assume that the only qualified people to work on accessibility are those using the technology themselves?

Along the same line...are we to assume that, if a person tasked with improving Apple's accessibility efforts does not use the technology themselves, they will fail?

I think there's something to be said for the idea that there is much more desired in an executive overseeing accessibility efforts than a prerequisite disability. Take, for example, this hypothetical situation: what if Apple appointed a top QA person, who had a proven track record for resource management and processing and responding to user feedback and bug reports? Would we be questioning Apple's decision? Of course we wouldn't. Would we care whether this person had a disability if they were well known for getting things done? No, we wouldn't.

The thing I think some people are unsure about is the fact that, in the accessibility community, Lisa Jackson is an unknown entity. We know Ms. Jackson has been successful in leading Apple's environmental efforts, and also that she successfully lead the Environmental Protection Agency before that. My guess is that she was successful because she knew how to effectively manage resources and get things done.

In the end, if Apple did in fact create this new position on their accessibility team, I'd much rather have someone in that position who is an effective manager of overall resources over someone with one type of disability who knows that disability very well. For the type of work Ms. Jackson is said to be hired to do, I think they've made a good choice.

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

While I think that it's a good idea for someone who is actually disabled to head up the accessibility efforts at Apple I.e. A voiceOver user, you gotta remember 2 things. Firstly, VoiceOver isn't Apple's only accessibility initiative. There is also Zoom for low-vision users, there are controls in iOS for people with hearing impairments, and even controls for folks who have other cognative issues and other ones are probably there that I'm probably missing. So it's important to remember that. Secondly, it's also important to remember that Tim Cook didn't get this far, and Apple hasn't made as many bazillion dollars as they have just by taking wild guesses, or stabs in the dark about things. Mis Jackson must have qualities that Tim Cook finds to be good, otherwise he wouldn't have picked her to promote Apple accessibility, especially to the folks who don't know it even exists. The average Joe iOS user probably hasn't ever bothered to go into that part of iOS, so they don't even realize all that stuff is built in. So lets at least give this a shot and see how she does. I'd certainly be interested to see what happens.

Submitted by raaj on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I said it'd be more beneficial if the person who is utilizing the features of accessibility is leading on that position because, He or she will immediately realize the bugs if there are some. I've never underestimated madam Lisa Jackson. Still, let us take jaws for windows, NVDA for an example. In which I was told that there are many blind people are involved. even then we are getting bugs and getting rectified after we are taking it up to their notice. In short, apple's care for accessibility is far better than other mobile platforms. It could be the best, if it's being taken care of a good knowledged person who is depending upon accessibility features.
This is just my personal opinion.


Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I agree that the appointment of Ms. Jackson to this position within Apple was probably the right choice. I wonder if she has a family member with a disability, or perhaps she knows some people with disabilities or did in the past? In any case, I vote for giving her a chance and seeing how she does. Obviously Tim Cook saw her resume and saw qualities in her that he really liked. Otherwise he most probably wouldn't have chosen her for the position. The other point I'd like to make is that more than likely, not all AppleCare representatives or even accessibility team members are actual users of their accessibility products. Yet experience has shown me that they know what they're doing.

Submitted by splyt on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A manager does not need to be disabled, they need to acumplish tasks.
But they need to be very well served by people who know about the subject they're workking on.
This is why I would like to see good accessibility personel assuming positions below her to make sure things are going as expected.
A manager doesn't need to know how to do software QA, but ehey need someone who is able to do it and they need to make sure its being done.
I don't see a disability as a required ....... quality? ...... to be an accessibility lead..

Submitted by Ivor123 on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Apple's accessibility efforts don't need to be led by someone with a disability; however, all other things being relatively equal, it would be nice to see someone with a disability leading Apple's accessibility efforts.

That being said, I don't think it's unreasonable or unrealistic to expect that people with disabilities would work for Apple accessibility. There is something to be said for being an end user.

Lastly, it would be awesome if people with disabilities were working in parts of Apple that have nothing to do with accessibility; maybe, that would make Apple's products and software even more accessible than they already are. Not to mention the message having people with disabilities holding important jobs at a business superpower would send. Instead of only leading efforts to make technology accessible, Apple could help show the world how capable people with disabilities are.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

For executives, I want them to be the most efective possible either having disabilities or not. And if they have disabilities and are eficient then they don't need specifically lead the accessibility area but they can lead anything needed instead. This said, it would be nice to see people with disabilities as executives if they're qualified enough to be there independently of where they are.
About having people with disabilities working on different areas inside the organization, hello Apple, I am totally in and waiting for your call.