This is my first time here on medium.com. Have seen many great people writing on this platform and looks like medium.com has a great reader base. Thought let me introduce myself in this first post. Before writing more about me, reason of using this platform is that this could be yet another fantastic platform to use as a tool to spread the word about accessibility.
As my bio says, I’m an Accessibility enthusiast with a focus on digital accessibility. I have been working in the area of accessibility for about 13 years now and there is a story behind why I chose to work in the area of accessibility.
Back in 2002, I used to work for The National Association for the Blind, Karnataka Branch where I was teaching use of computers to people with vision impairment and I was also playing a role to produce Braille books. during my stint, I have also got an opportunity to build its first website for the organization. I have teamed up with a few volunteers. Guess what; we have build this beautiful looking website and very soon realized that our very own students and members with blindness cannot use this website. That made me to start thinking about accessibility. In 2005 through my teacher, mentor and good friend Shilpi Kapoor, got an opportunity to begin my journey into accessibility area at BarrierBreak (then Net Systems Informatics India Pvt. Ltd) where I worked for about 4 years. During my stint at my BarrierBreak, I got a chance to work in the areas of testing for accessibility, building awareness. I have played an important role for Techshare India 2008 India’s first Accessibility and Assistive Technologies Conference and Exhibition.
In 2009, I have joined Yahoo! India to build accessibility practice for India, Singapore and Meddle East in lines to what Yahoo! already has in the United States. It has been a fantastic tenure to work with leaders like Alan Brightman, Victor Tsaran and others. Yahoo! got me an opportunity to closely work with industry leaders like World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), NASSCOM etc., During my tenure at Yahoo!, i got a chance to work on some important products like Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Mail etc., But journey with Yahoo! has come to an end in 2012 when Yahoo! laid off several thousands of us.
However, that lay off has created plenty of opportunities in the industry and not just that I got another job at PayPal, but a few others (who I have referred) have also got jobs in the accessibility area.
I worked at PayPal for about 2.5 years. Besides working on various PayPal’s products, I have also played an important role in some of the open source projects of PayPal including Automated Accessibility Testing Tool.
In 2014, I have joined HCL Technologies to build its global accessibility team and got a chance to work with Google on a few assignments including YouTube, Search and hangout. However, soon I realised that HCL is not a place for me due to various reasons.
Then in 2015, I have joined Deque Systems Inc., where I got to work on several interesting projects and built skills to generate qualitative accessibility reports. Again, my tenure at Deque is not very long though Deque is a great company to work with, we wanted to return to Bangalore and I got a chance to return to product industry.
Currently I work at Informatica leading its accessibility initiative. One of my efforts to build a culture where we consider accessibility not only as a legal requirement but as a right thing to do. I work very closely with design, development, quality assurance and product management teams to up-lift the passion for accessibility. Besides working on accessibility, I play an active role for company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
I’m also a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility — this is combination of two certifications by International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).
- Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies
- Web Accessibility Specialist
As my passion is to spread the awareness about accessibility, I have founded ServeOM Inclusion through which I provide accessibility consulting and write blogs related to digital accessibility.
I’m also an Advisor at Prakat Solutions which has accessibility as one of its core services. Prakat also puts in great efforts to raise awareness about accessibility by hosting accessibility meet-ups and Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
I have been awarded Yahoo! Ratna in 2010; this is the highest recognition for employees at Yahoo! India. I am also recipient of NCPEDP-MphasiS Universal Design Awards in 2013.
Some of the people I have been fortunate enough to meet in my life are:
- Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Former President of India
- Prof. Sadagopan, Director IIIT Bangalore
- Shri. Malladi Chandrasekhara Sastry, A scholar in ancient literature
- Dr. Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, Former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
I love speaking, making friends, reading books, playing chess, listening music, watching story based movies in Telugu, swimming. Lives in Bangalore with wife Hema, daughter Khushi Varshini and son Sai Shikhar.
I intend to use this medium as yet another tool to raise awareness about accessibility and disability.