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Nilofar Ansher


Can Awards Encourage Excellence in the Field of Accessibility?

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Can excellence in the field of accessibility be encouraged and sustained with industry awards and recognition? G3ict invited accessibility professionals to share their views.

Jenifer SimpsonJenifer Simpson
Evangelist for Accessible Technology, Washington, D.C., Co-founder and Co-Chair at Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT).
“This seems like a great idea to me. Awards and recognition are very important and are not only important to the recipient but also help the rest of us learn what's new and what's going on.”


Bill PikarskiBill Pikarski
Corporate Relations Manager at National MS Society; Director of International da Vinci Awards; Golf MS event director.
“We sure hope it provides the spark and keeps the creative desires flowing. We host the International da Vinci Awards and each year the audience, Finalists, and volunteers walk away inspired and reenergized in their goals of making the world accessible for all.”


Generic female user imageLori Golden
Diversity and Inclusiveness Consultant/Disabilities Leader at Ernst & Young.
“I think awards are a great way to spotlight an area beyond the immediate constituents and spur organizations to do more and better. Companies love awards and they give "the choir" both a target and a tool for saying to our leadership that excellence will be noticed and rewarded.”


Christine KantorChristine Kantor
Business Development & Engagement Specialist at Rip Road, Inc.

“I believe health issues and educational issues are both systemic. In our efforts to be efficient we lose connection with the systemic issues underlying the symptoms we deal with. I don't think that the answer is as simple as providing awards and recognition because what is meaningful to one person may not be meaningful to another. Inclusion at the expense of individualized meaning will be costlier in the long run and awards will merit/measure the wrong data only adding to the systemic burden creating further disparity. The key is coordinated care, coordinated education.”

Blair LancasterBlair Lancaster
Ward 6 Councillor and representative of the Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee, Ontario, Canada.
“The Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee has opened nominations for Burlington’s first accessibility awards. The introduction of the awards is especially significant at this time as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act came into effect for the private sector in January (2012). The program has become a valuable way to promote accessibility in our city.”


Robert PearsonRobert Pearson
Director of Accessible Digital Media, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), Toronto, Canada.

“It may be that awards are a method for encouraging the uninitiated while industry recognition will be of a benefit not only to itself, but those whom it serves. There is an advantage to be gained by meeting the needs of the widest possible audience, be they in the digital space or beyond.”

Debra RuhDebra Ruh
Global Disabilities Inclusion Strategist, Founder at Ruh Global

“As our industry continues to mature, accessibility had to become more than a compliance vehicle or a risk preventative measure. Our field has to encourage solid, replicable, sustainable, measurable, professional and creative designs. I believe the next logical step would be to create ‘Awards of Excellence’. Why? The bottom line is that people and organizations like being recognized for their efforts. Plus, awards help inspire others to do their best and can help set standards that others strive to match and exceed. Awards allow us to recognize the professionals and organizations that are striving for excellence. This not only encourages companies, organizations and individuals to replicate successes stories, but also allows them to share their best practices and enjoy the limelight for their efforts.”
Compiled by Nilofar Ansher.