Today we’re excited to take part in the sixth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This relatively new holiday aims to spread awareness and increase access to technology for people with disabilities. It’s important to us that we make products that are easy for everyone to use, and we’ve been working to improve the accessibility of Dropbox for all of our users, regardless of context or ability.
We also wanted to use this opportunity to highlight three of our customers who are leveraging Dropbox Business to do inspiring work around accessibility: Accessibility Partners, Ruh Global Communications, and SpecialEffect. Over one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. It’s important to engage and include this population when developing new products and technology.
That's something that Accessibility Partners, who advises companies on ways they can improve their products for people with disabilities, takes to heart. They've made it a point to hire engineers with disabilities. “Dropbox aligns perfectly with our mission of hiring people with disabilities who can work from anywhere and can have access to all of their work,” says Dana Marlowe, Principal Partner at Accessibility Partners. And between projects that span both coasts — from determining how accessible the Library of Congress is for employees and patrons with disabilities to developing cutting-edge technology with Silicon Valley giants — that flexible workplace is essential.
Ruh Global Communications, a group that consults on accessibility strategy and marketing, is also finding Dropbox a valuable tool. Their recommendations have helped the United Nations, Egypt, Singapore, and others create policies and legislation that include people with disabilities in every aspect of their societies. And for the firm, Dropbox was a bottom-up method of getting that important work done. “My employees were really the ones who wanted Dropbox,” says Debra Ruh, CEO and Founder at Ruh Global Communications. “One of our employees uses assistive technology to communicate, and she voted for Dropbox because it’s the simplest and most well designed collaboration tool we tried. We have a diverse and fully remote organization, and Dropbox helps us stay connected and scale.”
SpecialEffect is improving the lives of people with disabilities through a much different avenue: extending the world of video games to everyone. This UK-based charity transforms gaming controllers—with technology like voice control, foot pedals, face and chin joysticks, and eye-tracking—so that all users can experience the magic of games, regardless of physical limitations. This technology gives disabled people of all ages greater independence, increases their creativity, and inspires a greater sense of community and belonging.
With a small team that receives inquiries from across the world, one of SpecialEffect’s biggest challenges is keeping up with the increasing demand. SpecialEffect uses Dropbox to share information with people outside of the organization, from gaming developers to parents. “Dropbox ultimately lets us help more people because it makes us more efficient and flexible,” says Nick Streeter, Fundraiser at SpecialEffect.
The work that Accessibility Partners, Ruh Global, and SpecialEffect are doing levels the playing field for all. We’re proud to help enable these companies and others to make important strides in the world of accessibility.