Etch Empathy are a nonprofit organization, based in Singapore, which specializes in accessibility consulting for digital services, offering comprehensive training sessions and workshops.
Together, they navigated the landscape of accessibility in the Asia Pacific, unearthing its implications and explored some actionable strategies to propel accessibility initiatives forward.
Watch the full fireside chat on YouTube or read the brief conversation recap below.
Exploring the Region's Accessibility
Corporate Catalysts and Continuing Quest
‘‘All these companies come here because it’s easy to do business, and naturally that leads to a lot of our digital services and digital infrastructure becoming better built as they take their learnings with them.’’
Nonetheless, Josh acknowledged that despite the considerable progress, the path towards aligning with global accessibility standards is an ongoing journey for both Singapore and the broader Asia Pacific region.
Personal Insights from Josh
Addressing his impactful Ted Talk titled "How We Can Stop Failing People With Disabilities," Josh outlined his three central pillars for fostering inclusivity:
Accessibility: Encompassing infrastructure, policies, and services to amplify societal participation.
Inclusive Leadership: Key decision-makers must be educated on the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, so that steps can be taken to enrich their ability to contribute to society.
Self-Advocacy: Amplifying the voices of those living with disability, including his own, through platforms like TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, cultivating community awareness.
Josh's vision illuminates a path towards a more inclusive society, where barriers are dismantled, voices are amplified, and everyone can thrive. But what are some of the barriers faced by those trying to secure accessibility investment, and what advice does Josh have to help them be more effective in their mission?
Navigating Accessibility Buy-In Hurdles
‘‘Getting buy in from management is very frequently one of the key problems, because when you are talking about a big multinational corporation, it’s not about a lack of resources but about the allocation of resources.’’
To secure the backing of upper management and developers, Josh advocated framing accessibility as an investment for enhanced products, services, and user experiences, as opposed to an obligation or cost. He underscored the importance of management recognizing the value of accessibility as a competitive advantage and emphasized that early education is crucial to making accessibility concepts comprehensible to stakeholders and decision-makers.
Driving Affirmative Change
Our fireside chat with Josh provided an illuminating snapshot of the evolution of digital accessibility in the Asia Pacific. Beyond his assessment of the progress made and the challenges often encountered in soliciting buy-in, Josh's insights also serve to underscore the pivotal role accessibility plays in nurturing a culture of inclusivity within the region. His championing of self-advocacy, education, and proactive approaches as catalysts for driving affirmative change through accessibility initiatives are something to be celebrated and shared.
In this era dependent on digital interfaces and services, online accessibility and its prioritization transcends ethical considerations; it represents a pivotal and essential stride toward crafting a future that's more truly inclusive and diversified. The fireside chat served as a potent reminder that the journey toward accessibility is still ongoing globally, and that persistent efforts and continuous education are needed to surmount the remaining challenges.
As the Asia Pacific region increasingly embraces these ideals, the horizon brightens for individuals with disabilities and society at large.
To learn more from Josh, follow him on social channels including Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. He has also been featured in two shows on Channel News Asia notably the series “Seeing is Believing” from 2021 and most recently “Live Free” in 2023. For corporate consultation, Josh encourages you to reach out to him on LinkedIn.
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