About the Playbook

The Accessibility Playbook for Emerging Technology Initiatives is a blueprint for anyone seeking to launch a successful initiative to drive the development of emerging technologies that are accessible to and inclusive of people with disabilities. This Playbook includes the following:

  1. An overview of the potential and challenges of accessible emerging technologies;
  2. The “Why” and “How” of accessible emerging technologies;
  3. Tips for launching an initiative—from the birth of the idea to execution and promotion;
  4. Guiding questions and templates to help leaders execute plays; and,
  5. Examples from the XR Access and Teach Access initiatives to provide insight into how they approached executing each play. (You’ll learn more about these initiatives below.)

Audience

This Playbook is designed to be used by anyone interested in launching an initiative to make an emerging technology accessible—including industry leaders, those launching start-ups, academics, advocates, government leaders, and others.

Methodology

The suggestions in this Playbook are based on best practices and lessons learned from the XR Access and Teach Access initiatives and the collective knowledge and experiences of leaders and participants in each. The primary author was informed by strategies presented in The Method and The Magic: Every Leader’s Guide to Making Transformational Change Happen by Laurie Axelrod and Beth McDonald of Wheelhouse Group.

Case Studies

Case studies that document the XR Access and Teach Access initiatives are forthcoming and will be linked to in this Playbook. Both initiatives are focused on advancing the development of accessible emerging technologies supported by the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) in collaboration with their partners listed below. The partners and participants supporting these initiatives are helping to cement the foundation for a future where all technology is born accessible. Their journeys provide a blueprint for any leader seeking to launch an initiative to make an emerging technology accessible.

As you read through this Playbook you’ll find examples from the XR Access and Teach Access, providing insight into their approach to executing each play.

About XR Access

XR AccessThe XR Access Initiative, launched in July of 2019, is led by the Connected Experiences Lab at Cornell Tech and by Verizon Media, with support from the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT). XR Access addresses challenges in the way of widespread development of accessible virtual, augmented, and mixed realities[1] (XR)[2] and sets the stage for a future where all emerging technologies are born accessible to people with disabilities. XR Access is a community of cross-sector participants with leaders from academia, advocacy organizations, industry, government, and the nonprofit sector.

About Teach Access

teach accessThe Teach Access Initiative, launched in 2015, is a collaboration among educational, industry, and disability advocacy organizations to address the critical need to enhance students’ understanding of digital accessibility as they learn to design, develop, and build new technologies with the needs of people with disabilities in mind. Founding members include Verizon Media (originally Yahoo!), Facebook, Adobe, Google, HP, Intuit, LinkedIn, Microsoft, The Paciello Group, California State University Northridge (CSUN), Michigan State University, Olin College of Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington. Currently, 80 individuals actively represent the Teach Access membership roster, which includes 14 companies, 23 academic organizations and 7 advocacy organizations.


Footnotes

[1] Virtual reality is a form of technology allowing a user to immerse themselves in a completely virtual world that blocks the real world from view; augmented reality is a form of technology that overlays digital images onto the real world, augmenting it with virtual objects; mixed reality is a form of technology that fuses elements of VR and AR, but takes the immersive experience a step further; users don’t just experience a fully virtual or altered reality but are able to manipulate virtual objects in a real-world setting.

[2] XR, also referred to as extended reality, is an umbrella term used to describe virtual, augmented, and mixed realities.