AXSChat Podcast

AXSChat Podcast with Ryan Graham, CTO of Texthelp

June 29, 2021 Antonio Santos, Debra Ruh, Neil Milliken talk with Ryan Graham, CTO of Texthelp
AXSChat Podcast
AXSChat Podcast with Ryan Graham, CTO of Texthelp
Show Notes Transcript

 As CTO, Ryan is responsible for leading and directing Texthelp’s team of engineers to deliver assistive technology and accessibility products that are used by tens of millions of people every day around the world. With a customer base that spans educational institutions and corporates alike, he ensures that Texthelp’s products are safe, secure and easy to use.

Texthelp believes in a world where difference, disability or language are no longer barriers. It is focused on helping all people learn, understand and communicate through the use of digital inclusion and accessibility tools.

Having started his career as a software developer, Ryan is passionate about all aspects of technology and the innovations that can be created with it. He carries this enthusiasm across Texthelp’s suite of products and hopes to help even more people around the globe to understand and be understood.

Believing it’s important to have purpose and give back, Ryan regards himself as incredibly fortunate to work in a sector that has such a positive impact on society, while using technologies that are so compelling to work with. 

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Debra Ruh: Hello everyone, welcome to axschat but it today is i'm the only host Antonio is having technical problems and so he might join us whenever the technical problems, get better and Neil is visiting his.

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Debra Ruh: His parents and his father is 80 years old today so congratulations to Neil's father, today we have Ryan, Graham he's the cto for text help and.

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Debra Ruh: they've been around a long time, and so we're going to have a really rich conversation about you know what they do, but also where they've been and what they've learned along the journey so welcome to the Program.

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Ryan Graham: Thanks Deborah great to be here, of course, a happy birthday as well to Neil's father.

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Ryan Graham: And so like to start off just with a little bit just about myself.

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Ryan Graham: And what I do text hold textile so, as you said, I'm the chief technology officer here text hope and just a bit about me personally, I am from a family of teachers.

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Ryan Graham: So my dad has a degree in special education, he was a special educational needs teacher for a lot of years, my sister is also a special education teacher as well.

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Ryan Graham: On my wife is also a primary school teacher so I'm from a very big family of teachers surrounded by teaching all my life, unfortunately, for me, though I am not a very good teacher so.

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Ryan Graham: There was no job regional director for me.

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Ryan Graham: But what I was passionate about is I was passionate about software and helping kids and helping students, you know, helping them their day to day lives and helping kids with disabilities well in particular.

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Ryan Graham: So that is what drove me to text hope that's just one of those companies that really does truly make a difference in people's lives through years of assistive technology software.

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Ryan Graham: so little bit by text of them and our background, so we are an assistive technology company and we create software that helps everybody across the globe.

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Ryan Graham: be understood and also to understand as well, so we create Apps that help people read, write and understand content and whether that's their own language or whether it's mathematics, for example as well.

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Ryan Graham: And the company itself is actually funded by currency you Martin MCI over well over 20 years ago and I actually.

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Ryan Graham: Am the whole sort of journey for us started actually started for Martin and whenever his father actually suffered a stroke and he struggled to communicate.

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Ryan Graham: On Martin obviously as a technology enthusiast just saw an opportunity here to help his father.

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Ryan Graham: and communicate better so he developed a piece of software that he could give to his father that he could type on a keyboard and very, very quickly build out a sentence, so he was able to effectively communicate.

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Ryan Graham: And from those beginnings that was again over 20 years ago we built a our software over those years, and now really formed the basis of our product reading right that we are today.

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Ryan Graham: And so we've been around for a long time we've been you know, helping people building is accessibility products for a long time.

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Ryan Graham: And since then, is all we've also been building out a whole suite of products, helping people with not just reading English other languages and, as I mentioned mathematics as well.

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Debra Ruh: yeah I know that i've known about text to help for a long time, I know, with my former company tech access.

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Debra Ruh: We actually had browse allowed loaded on our site, because we really we really appreciate what you're trying to do, and I, when you say you're an assistive technology company.

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Debra Ruh: I know that's part of the journey and because, when I was working with text help browse allowed you know, many years ago.

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Debra Ruh: You you know we were using we were saying you were an accessibility company right, so one thing that you could do was you could put tech browse allowed in your website and the website.

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Debra Ruh: would read to you now of course it wouldn't solve all of your other accessibility issues, but it could solve these issues that part of the issues right so.

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Debra Ruh: That one thing that we were suggesting to clients is this is one way to solve part of it, while you're working on the rest.

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Debra Ruh: But at the same time, I know that started, causing confusion and there's a lot of confusion in the marketplace right now would like overlay tools which are not an overlay tool, but do you mind talking a little bit about that journey because.

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Ryan Graham: yeah you're you're absolutely right that that is so important that the distinction is me there because you know price light is there to you know, offer a tool to help people if they need it.

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Ryan Graham: or for people who don't know that they need it, there are a lot of people like that who do not have access to assistive technology software.

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Ryan Graham: A lot of people that don't know those tools are available and that's where most surprised I kind of stepped in.

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Ryan Graham: But it does not try to be the magic solution, in fact, as you well know, Deborah there is no magic solution, there is no one button one piece of software, you can drop on your website i'm tired are.

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Ryan Graham: All accessibility issues are fixed and it helps everybody everywhere that's just not how the world works.

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Ryan Graham: And you.

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Debra Ruh: Know providers say that is the way it works just saying.

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Debra Ruh: This is so confusing because really wow, but that is what they're saying they say that all the time.

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Ryan Graham: They are, on the face of it, if you're, for example, an organization that sounds good doesn't it.

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Ryan Graham: So it sounds like something you would want but.

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Debra Ruh: yeah.

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Ryan Graham: But there is danger there, and there are so many trade offs there as well, which is you know that's why we decided, with buys like not to go down that road.

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Ryan Graham: And in fact just that is just kind of a good journey that we've been on really a taxonomy we started off with buyers live.

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Ryan Graham: And where we are the same version you're at debra where it's not the only tool, you need to have more tools in there, not just toes the people behind those tools as well.

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Ryan Graham: So that's the that's the journey that we're we're taking that product on high, so what I can want to talk about with you today.

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Ryan Graham: On seems up that we were we were talking about this together, and you know, given your work in the field is a by building an accessible and it culture within organizations.

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Ryan Graham: And like we all know, not you know being accessible, is the right thing to do.

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Ryan Graham: We all know that, but we don't always know higher, it is that we can get there, and much less do we know how we can build a culture for how we can get there as well.

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Ryan Graham: Because a culture is one of those things that just culture can just happen it just happens overnight, you can you can create a culture, we can lead it, you can lead it in the direction you want to go.

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Ryan Graham: And the start of that journey, and I think is really who starts that journey he does it one of the questions I always get asked actually as a cto is who looks after your accessible I didn't text help.

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Ryan Graham: Just that one person.

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Ryan Graham: The right person.

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Debra Ruh: You know.

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Ryan Graham: One person right yeah exactly I know that even accessible in itself that's an all encompassing single term so whenever I hear that question that I usually break in the smile on their help to clear about 3045 minutes in my calendar.

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Ryan Graham: But you know accessibility is no one person's job it's everybody's job, through your entire organization everybody has a small part to play.

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Ryan Graham: In making sure the your organization is more accessible, so if you don't have a.

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Ryan Graham: Successful workplace for example you're creating a culture and Dana we don't want to attract top talent, or you do want to attract on from disabled people.

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Ryan Graham: If your website isn't acceptable and accessible then you're turning away people he may rely on your website for information on products if your social media as an accessible you're excluding disabled people from the conversation but everybody else is having.

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Ryan Graham: Right, so you know accessibility as a harder everything that we do in the workplace, like it can people dying just one person can be boiled down just to one thing.

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Ryan Graham: And so the answer the question, who looks after your accessibility, but everyone everyone in your organization.

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Ryan Graham: But obviously you need management at the top of that to say it is a focus for us at as a focus for our culture and as our focus for our people that we can improve our inclusion excessively by the organization.

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Ryan Graham: So attacks hope actually what we've done as we sort of stood by obviously we're an assistive technology company anyway.

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Ryan Graham: And so we've been doing things obviously over the years and Magnus an inclusive and accessible place to work.

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Ryan Graham: But we wanted to step back and really give us a definition of the high, you know how do we be better as well, how do we get to being a more accessible and a more inclusive organization.

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Ryan Graham: And so we put together a 10 point what we call the accessibility journey of tax help and because every organization is on the journey or building culture, so this is our own personal journey.

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Ryan Graham: And you can actually find out more about our journey text dot help forward slash journey there's a lot to do the points.

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Ryan Graham: And, but it's essentially 10 points are going to help us become more impressive and a more successful organization.

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Ryan Graham: And that involves every there's one point in there for everybody in the organization.

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Ryan Graham: developers HR content specialist marketing design everybody and involves all aspects of the organization as well, and things that you might not even really initially think about like the documents that you're sharing within your organization.

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Ryan Graham: or they accessible.

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Ryan Graham: Can they be well basically meters can your staff and your employees understand those documents it's not just your public facing website it's everything that happens within your organization.

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Ryan Graham: And I think as well, I mean I know you've done awful work in this field, but having a clear plan on how you can meet those goals and having easily achievable goals as well, is the first step to driving cultural change across the organization.

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Debra Ruh: I agree, and when I wrote my book inclusion branding I talked about that also talked about it in the book before that tapping into hidden human capital.

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Debra Ruh: And I did what it sounds like you're done in that I explained that accessibility belongs to everybody.

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Debra Ruh: But as you're pointing out, we all have different roles to play with accessibility you're the chief technology officer.

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Debra Ruh: You have to make sure you have the right processes in place and the right quality control quality assurance and testing the marketing people have to make sure everybody has.

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Debra Ruh: everybody's responsible for it, but they have different roles and I would be very interested in your 10 points i'm going to can we find those on your website.

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Debra Ruh: Is that.

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Ryan Graham: party conquer yeah they're on our tax health.com website and there's a short text dot help forward slash journey and i'll show you the 10 points on a little bit detail with them as well.

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Debra Ruh: Well, I just think it's such an important point, and I want to dig into some more in a minute, but I want to.

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Debra Ruh: just talk a little bit about the confusion in the marketplace, and so I of course i'm in this state and you're joining from Northern Ireland and.

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Debra Ruh: Here in the states, we have a lot of investors stepping up and wanting to buy companies like text to help as a matter of fact i'm sure you're already being approached and.

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Debra Ruh: there's quite a few dollars that you know, are being spent, I mean the essential accessibility just got a $55 million investment.

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Debra Ruh: So, and then level access, I think, got like 35 million, or something is so we're seeing money being spent, but I will say that.

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Debra Ruh: I don't necessarily see the community of people with disabilities, benefiting from the money that is going into these companies and sometimes I feel they actually hurt our Community, because we.

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Debra Ruh: We lose what we already have, which is fine there's just confusion in the marketplace and I still have investors reaching out to me all the time asking me who.

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Debra Ruh: to buy and I continue to remind them, please also remember to look outside the states, we see a lot of innovation happening outside the States, but.

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Debra Ruh: there's so much confusion, at the same time, and I was speaking and i'm not going to say who because.

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Debra Ruh: It would be so inappropriate to, but I was speaking to somebody yesterday, who just got into the accessibility field.

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Debra Ruh: And so they were like Oh, I have a grandchild with autism, which is great I have you know my daughter has down syndrome my my husband has dementia, I myself am a person with disabilities and visible disabilities.

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Debra Ruh: So I welcome everyone everyone's welcome, but what worries me, sometimes when these people come into the field and they do not understand the nuances of the field.

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Debra Ruh: For example, this person said, you know, we had a friend that was wheelchair bound well, people are not tied up to the wheelchair their wheelchair users and it's just a little nuance.

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Debra Ruh: But you know the Community doesn't like you know it's it there's a lot of you know a lot of work that we need to do, but.

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Debra Ruh: The so once can come into the field yay, but please be responsible enough to learn the fields, so that you don't accidentally do more damage than good.

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Debra Ruh: which we see happening right now, especially in the States and then of course we're litigating everything we're suing each other in the states which.

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Debra Ruh: is good in a way, because if you're not connect things, accessible and i'm going to have to hit you over the head with a stick to make you do it.

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Debra Ruh: i'm sorry that I had to do that and i'm sorry that you didn't understand that you actually have a very powerful business case for doing it, as you said, but.

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Debra Ruh: we're going to make you do it in the states, and so I am proud of us, at least for doing that, even though I think it's ridiculous, we have to do it and so that.

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Debra Ruh: I know that Antonio is having technical problems so he's trying to come back in but.

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Debra Ruh: But it also what's confusing and I know this is part of your journey is that we have providers stepping in and saying all you have to do is put this overlay tool over.

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Debra Ruh: And you're done woohoo and all you need is put this assistive technology tools here and you're done and it's just not true and i've had people say to me.

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Debra Ruh: at conferences they'll come and get me because they know i'm talking about this and they'll have big signs behind him advertising like behind you right now that you have text to help logo hey hello, Antonio can you hear us.

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Antonio Santos: Yes, I can.

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Debra Ruh: Oh yay welcome welcome and I told the audience that you were having technical problems so so this particular point, and then.

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Debra Ruh: But so so what's happening is that they'll say to me Oh, we have this wonderful overlay tool and.

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Debra Ruh: You know, I have to do is just do this one thing and you're done and i'll say okay great that's all you have to do in this particular instance.

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Debra Ruh: They had behind them on the sign behind them that you're fully accessible and your 508 compliant which by the way, is of course the US thing.

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Debra Ruh: And so I, being a little bit cheeky was like great so all I have to do is put this overlay tool and i'm totally done.

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Debra Ruh: So all my videos are capturing Well, no, no, no, no, what i'm all my pdfs are accessible Well, no, all my Apps are accessible well know what.

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Debra Ruh: i'm so confused because it says behind you that i'll be fully accessible and by weight compliant.

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Debra Ruh: Well, no, no, no, all it does, and so it causes a lot of confusion and I know that was also part of your journey.

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Debra Ruh: which you talked about, but why did text to help say no that's we don't want to do that, we want to help we don't want to confuse but I was just wondering if you would explore that and then you know.

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Ryan Graham: To actually because.

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Ryan Graham: You know, as you said there if there was some sort of magic algorithm we could use to make everything accessible in every way possible, that would be fantastic.

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Ryan Graham: text up i've been doing this for 20 years we have been talking to people with accessible and the needs and disabilities for 20 years and gathering feedback every day, every single last one of our products.

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Ryan Graham: Has a button inside the you will be able to click on are open and give feedback as a disabled user.

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Ryan Graham: And we get that feedback and like Australia, the product straight and our and our product owners streeters we've been looking at that and.

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Ryan Graham: There is so many things in here that you would never be able to do with one line of code.

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Ryan Graham: Not for people with you know you cannot you cannot cover everybody with an accessibility term give a cognitive impairments motor impairments visual impairments.

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Ryan Graham: You know and temporary disabilities long term disability is there are so many different ways that you can you need to help people that no one to know one line of code is going to fix obviously everything for you.

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Ryan Graham: But what you can do is you can give people the information necessary to create the most accessible experience for your users.

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Ryan Graham: You can give them the knowledge necessary, and you can give them the ability to spread awareness as well, of accessibility on die is by far and away the most powerful tool, you can have much more powerful than any other one liner special toolbar.

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Ryan Graham: As you mentioned, as well in the past, we had our price lower toolbar which added on supports.

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Ryan Graham: On top of your existing.

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Ryan Graham: supports so they weren't designed for replacing a screen reader, for example, you still need a screen reader and by side and side by side.

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Ryan Graham: and your website still needed to be accessible for buys lead to even work on your website and.

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Ryan Graham: So what we what we have done is we've obviously noticed that there are some gaps, people are saying you know.

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Ryan Graham: Behind make my website accessible, we would sit tight and give them a lot better and explain how to do that, you know I can make a little bit better.

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Ryan Graham: And, but there was obviously a gap there, so what we've done is we've kind of evolved idea briars lead, and it has no longer just bright light on its own, we call our new product reach deck.

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Ryan Graham: And it is actually a suite of tools and that it doesn't fix anything Okay, but what it does, is it encourages and promotes an accessibility culture throughout your entire organization using terms, using using tools, I should say.

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Ryan Graham: And so that that's sort of both and well being technically accessible and I like to use the word technically accessible, which is stuff like.

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Ryan Graham: wk compliance, you know, making sure your content is structured correctly on your website.

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Ryan Graham: And then and content accessibility, as well, which is reading content that your audience can understand and reading in a way that they can consume as well.

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Ryan Graham: So we've got a suite of tools that allow you to make your your website, technically, accessible and your content content accessible as well.

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Ryan Graham: We kind of broken into and freedom tools and the first one i'm going to talk about price lead nast because it's a nice to have, at the end of the day.

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Ryan Graham: But the first tool we have in here is called the auditor and what the honored aws has helped you with our technical accessibility.

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Ryan Graham: goes to scan your website and it identifies in a w 2.1 compliance errors you've got there and it will report those to you.

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Ryan Graham: It does not fix them for you, it is not magic I wish it was magic but it's not because you know even the wk guidelines themselves not everything can be fixed.

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Ryan Graham: automatically through fear machine requires somebody looking at that, and you know, making their own decisions, having human input at the end of the day.

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Ryan Graham: And what it does do is quickly highlight areas of your website that are obviously an accessible and give your developers, the information that they need to be able to fix it quickly and because that's part of that idea of you know.

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Debra Ruh: Making these.

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Ryan Graham: doing a magic bullet that hides away all that information from you, you want something that tree and your developers, this is how you spot issues.

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Ryan Graham: This is how you identify them this is how you fix them so that they can then whenever they're developing nature those issues do not creep into their and their websites.

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Ryan Graham: And i'm better than that gives you all this information, but at the end of it at generate a report for your entire website, and we all know how much management of reports.

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Ryan Graham: Reports they can't get enough of them.

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Ryan Graham: And so now report will tell you exactly what areas of your website need work.

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Ryan Graham: And, and what areas of your website, you need to spend time in and perhaps even deliver training to your staff on how to make that part of your website accessible as well, so that.

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Ryan Graham: helps you then refer back to in our case, our 10 point plan and say okay well hi far along our way in creating a wi fi accessible website.

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Ryan Graham: Report grid we're not there yet, we need to get better, and you know, we also have to remember that your website doesn't just.

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Ryan Graham: be finished, one day, and as magically access one stays that way forever it's a constantly evolving thing you need to be making sure that the the new content you're putting on there is accessible.

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Ryan Graham: That there's no other areas of crept in and if any changes in your website or again accessible for your end users as well.

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Ryan Graham: So, not only does a check for technical accessibility, but also checks for that content accessibility as well.

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Ryan Graham: So it keeps an eye for things like the use of complicated phrases or will become the mechanic jargon words.

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Ryan Graham: And, especially for English language learners as well, he sometimes struggle with their English language if you're putting in sort of colloquialisms and your website can be very difficult for them to understand.

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Ryan Graham: And it also keeps our product and unnecessarily long sentences and so people like that, with memory impairments and sort of you know.

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Ryan Graham: Well, wanted information chunked into smaller pieces, some are smaller consumable pieces for them, as also keeps an eye for that as well.

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Ryan Graham: And i'm reading it as well, in particular, is very important, and one of the stats that you know I always said, people, as well as in the UK here, the average winning edge of somebody in the UK is just nine years old.

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Ryan Graham: Man, so if you're writing content on your website, for example, and say you're a government website or local council website, or something.

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Ryan Graham: And you're running your your reading is for somebody is 1820 years old, there is a good chance that 50 to 70% of the people who need content will not be able to understand it.

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Ryan Graham: And they will they will go somewhere else for like content or they might not get it at all, you know, and that is not leveling the playing field in any way, shape or form.

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Ryan Graham: Everybody has the right to access that information and it's our responsibility and organizations responsibility to make sure that they can as well.

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Ryan Graham: So that the other schedule website, but not means that those problems have happened there there there either your users are saying them right now.

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Ryan Graham: So Heidi sort of prevent that from happening in the first place well training as an obvious thing you know reach out to your accessibility experts, there are loads of and feel, as you well know, Deborah.

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Ryan Graham: or lose them either in the field that can give you advice give you training high to be more accessible accessible website.

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Ryan Graham: But from a content accessibility point of being That is something that is, you know that we can manage with tools, you know we can help you identify things and help you.

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Ryan Graham: make things better write your content for your audience that's where we've introduced our editor to enrich tech.

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Ryan Graham: So that's a tool that can be used by anyone in your organization that writes content if you're using.

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Ryan Graham: Word processor if you're using Microsoft word or Google docs all day you can use the editor and in real time.

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Ryan Graham: It will tell you what jargon merge you're using what confusing terms you're using that people might not understand and also give you helpful metrics like spelling punctuation and grammar.

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Ryan Graham: So the objective, there is to catch those errors before your users him and present something to your users, they can understand, they can access and then they can consume.

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Ryan Graham: That make sure that we had on level playing field, probably everybody.

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Debra Ruh: Well, I know that Antonio has a.

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Debra Ruh: question, but I think that I can I was impressed before by browse allowed but I haven't talked to in years but.

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Debra Ruh: You make the website more usable and accessible as people are making sure they're following all the rules and the programming in the background, which is powerful and Tony Let me turn it over to you and welcome to the.

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Program.

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Antonio Santos: Thank you, thank you, that we're thinking right now I was talking with some companies in Germany this fake about.

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Antonio Santos: services for from from text to speech speech to text, I was on an event on on privacy and security under the banner of the European Commission this week.

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Antonio Santos: And so my question goes in anything to do those two areas, considering that you are dealing with the text to speech and speech to text out.

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Antonio Santos: How can we make sure that the privacy of the users.

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Antonio Santos: Is that up front and I will also make sure that you know that sometimes.

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Antonio Santos: This is something that we are observing is that people working in in information security, sometimes disregard the needs of the users with disabilities.

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Antonio Santos: And they don't they don't even try to make an effort to understand the importance of these type of services and even without doing any kind of assessment they already blocking them.

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Antonio Santos: So is also a level of ignorance and awareness that needs to be created, so how can we make sure that security that we all care about doesn't limit the rights of people disabilities from just doing their work.

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Ryan Graham: Such a really good question so new and you know what I see yesterday a security architect at techstars in it, and my previous role so it's Another thing I care, you know passionate about it, security and privacy.

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Ryan Graham: And so, to answer your second question first about how do we stop those buyers from happening, if somebody needs a piece of software, they should get it.

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Ryan Graham: If they need something to understand the content they need something to help us that they should get it.

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Ryan Graham: And that is a cultural change that's that's what we're we're talking about here that doesn't needs to be not just siloed away that all developers deal with accessibility.

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Ryan Graham: because everybody security and the people who run your network of people who authorized your applications and your your senior.

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Ryan Graham: Everyone right from the board members, all the way down to the across the organization should know that accessibility tools exist on our our requirement for people they really are.

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Ryan Graham: On to your first point there and by the privacy and specifically with speech to text and text to speech tools as well.

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Ryan Graham: that's something we're absolutely looking out for boys like I don't want to go into much detail about the robot and future plans.

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Ryan Graham: but rest assured the content on website and leaving em particular obviously in the realms of the EU.

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Ryan Graham: is something we've been looking at, and I think actually technology is not as a really good standard whereby we have access to local.

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Ryan Graham: text to speech and local speech to text so that we don't need to go to the deploy to the cloud for everything, things do not need to leave you know users machines.

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Ryan Graham: And if we have that and we have that on there so we've created the culture we've removed the technical barriers to giving access to people the tools they need you're going to be doing very hard as a as an administrator at our organization to say no to that, I think I should you.

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Antonio Santos: know, I was quite quite glory because, as you as you might know.

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Antonio Santos: Around the European Commission is organizing know working groups to work on on track on security on accessibility on on privacy and these groups, they tend to influence sometimes sometimes policy and often doesn't.

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Antonio Santos: We have the accessibility advocates on the accessibility groups and not on this particular group so when there's a conversation on privacy.

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Antonio Santos: there's nobody that say sorry we need to address this, and this happens, you know i've been tracking events you know, over the last couple of years it's systematic.

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Antonio Santos: And, and it is quite and we're talking about events that are sponsored by MPs, so I think it and we have in place the European accessibility guidelines and there's always this fact that people forget that needs to be a discussion on the topic of accessibility and privacy.

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Ryan Graham: yeah absolutely systematic is exactly the right word to use that's exactly what it is and.

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Ryan Graham: It goes back to the point where.

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Ryan Graham: That Deborah was making earlier on, as Bobby and people trying to create accessibility solutions without listening to the people with accessibility needs and those those are the people you need to be listening to.

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Ryan Graham: You know you shouldn't be trying to push security agenda, with only a security agenda lance not going to work, you need to take the people in kind, he required to his toes and to be able to live their daily lives.

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Antonio Santos: So, so, if you look looking back to the change the old technology that we have been observing the last month, and you know we, we know that today.

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Antonio Santos: Some tools that allow people to improve their very experienced the that they improved massively you know they're more they're more present.

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Antonio Santos: Sometimes they don't address the issues of all users, but at least they fix them small person, you can have a text to speech on your browser and and and it works fine it works for some people, it might not work for forever, so that the the tools, the tools are here so.

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Antonio Santos: If you if you work, particularly in the area of education, because today we have so many kids doing part of their tasks from home.

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Antonio Santos: And sometimes parents are not that this skill it to best advise them in terms of the tools.

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Antonio Santos: What do they need to consider, to make sure that if children have certain needs that they're able to help them and, at the same time, they.

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Antonio Santos: they're able to make sure that the kids don't feel frustrated because they're not able to learn or they're not able to use the tools that are predefined it to them, so what solutions are out there that can help families.

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Ryan Graham: yeah.

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Ryan Graham: really good point as well, Antonio so obviously as a source of technology, so we have a lot of products for students and.

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Ryan Graham: Teachers as well, so we've obviously observed over the past 12 months the issues that students are coming in to the issues that.

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Ryan Graham: Parents as well, but coming anti one of the big issues really is as a lack of access to devices.

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Ryan Graham: You know, this is the all long good settings saying that you know that's all work from home we've all got some nice laptops.

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Ryan Graham: cameras and you know, but when the students go home they may not have access to those things the video and there may be one device price or their shared between number of people very often see technology companies say we've got an ios APP.

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Ryan Graham: Nothing else nothing for chromebooks nothing for android nothing for any of those other platforms.

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Ryan Graham: And if you're doing that you're excluding access for one child who may have an android another child he may have an iPhone or a chromebook.

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Ryan Graham: And if they can all use the same tools, they are not being afforded the same right, they are not being for the same, and the same experience as their peers.

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Ryan Graham: And I think that is a real key thing that people tend to overlook when they're thinking about how do we deliver our software.

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Ryan Graham: Having a solution that works across all platforms is a must, and today's technology environment.

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Ryan Graham: And another thing as well is and I haven't really mentioned not today and i'm surprised I haven't because I always talk about this topic whenever we're talking about accessibility.

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Ryan Graham: And that's the ux of your applications to because accessible in ux are the same thing they they they are you know together as one whenever we are developing software and you need to make sure that that ux is not.

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Ryan Graham: a barrier to your students being able to use it, either at home or in a classroom.

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Ryan Graham: You need to make sure your tools as well, work with other tools that's very important, because there is no way as you, as you say, on to new new one tool can do everything.

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Ryan Graham: But you need to make sure the year tool is compatible with another, to make sure your toes compatible with screen readers to make sure the year Anders compatible with other editors and other formats.

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Ryan Graham: And i've been able to be read as well, and so I think there's a lot of stuff there and particular incidents and protective over the past 12 months, those are the key takeaways for me.

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Debra Ruh: I have.

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Debra Ruh: I think this is such a.

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Debra Ruh: Good points that you're bringing up, especially as Antonio was mentioning the the privacy and security because it must all be done together and also when things are really accessible.

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Debra Ruh: It benefits everybody and that's what we continue to remind people, but I i'm curious Ryan, who you know, so it sounds like you do what you y'all work with a lot of schools and universities, but are you working with corporations i'm just curious who your customers are.

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Ryan Graham: Sure, I mean for for our reach type product and previously bri slide as well that, as a lot more corporations.

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Ryan Graham: And we also have a product as well version of reading right for the workplace specifically and coworkers needs and that again goes back to the ux.

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Ryan Graham: difference between you know students who need a particular ux and people in the workplace in your particular ux and so like that and we we take an awful lot of feedback from people in the workplace as as well as students, as well and.

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Ryan Graham: Having said that, you know people always tend to think that once you go into the workplace you.

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Ryan Graham: leave your your accessible in needs behind skilled people tend to always think you know and for example dyslexia just stops when she leaves go which doesn't.

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know.

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Ryan Graham: This.

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Debra Ruh: are still dyslexic yeah.

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Ryan Graham: They still need access to those tools there as well, and I think that's important.

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Debra Ruh: Even more so because you want them to be productive and they want to be productive so one thing that we saw during coven 19 and Antonio alluded to some of this is.

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Debra Ruh: We saw here in the states where people with disabilities, do not want I identify, if possible, just because you know we have disenfranchised people but.

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Debra Ruh: We saw more people disclosing that they had disabilities, because a lot of people started understanding what we've been talking about all this time.

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Debra Ruh: And you know and it sounds like your tools could be a very important because, when I wrote an article a long time ago, I think it was around 2016.

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Debra Ruh: And I said can overlay tools be part of your strategic plan for accessibility.

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Debra Ruh: Because I was hopeful that maybe some of these tools could help people as they were doing the work they needed to do to make sure that accessibility, has been implemented through all of the process, all of the DNA of the corporation the organization.

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Debra Ruh: But sadly a lot of those tools just didn't even do what they said they were going to do so, but I do believe.

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Debra Ruh: That your tools could do that your tools it's not going to make everybody accessible, but it is definitely going to make your website your products your services more accessible.

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Debra Ruh: And at the same time you do the training and encourage them to still do the work you have to do you have to blend accessibility into the DNA of your whole organization.

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Debra Ruh: yeah so but I right now i've lost major confidence and most of the overlay tools major I just can't recommend any of them, but I was wondering it do y'all do you believe that's true.

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Ryan Graham: I believe there is a place for and certain tools to be used to be able to help people to do the things that they need to do, and also then to raise awareness as well, that those tools are there.

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Ryan Graham: Particular in the workplace actually one of the things we see quite often and tactical is what appears to say we don't.

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Ryan Graham: Either we don't have any disabled people, we don't have that many disabled people, and then they get a product like which deck or written right on the right and say hey loads of people are using this what's that about.

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Ryan Graham: Right yeah yeah exactly and then, then you realize, then you realize that the part and do his toes can have so because, then you make people aware that they they do need certain supports.

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Ryan Graham: If you're using certain supports and certain places, then that highlights to the organization hey you know what people are using reading supports, for example in our documents and really have like, why is that.

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Ryan Graham: Is because your your documents are unreadable and you're you're using telephones that nobody can read or your brand colors are things that.

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Ryan Graham: Users cannot see or didn't have an appropriate con contrast as well, and I do think there, though, is that that is the key thing as.

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Ryan Graham: We can use these tools for good, but we need to use them in the right way, we need to communicate it in a way, where we need to remember.

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Ryan Graham: That the fundamentally, they are not there to solve a problem they are there to make sure that that problem does not exist in the first place.

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Ryan Graham: was because everybody everybody is entitled to the same experiences everybody else the tools should not need to be there, but if it is there, it can be there at the right time job is just to remove those bio for absolutely everybody.

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Debra Ruh: Right, I agree, I knew that the time has gone by really fast, and I want to.

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Debra Ruh: First of all, I want to thank our supporters Barclays actual access my clear text and micro link we really appreciate you keeping us on air but.

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Debra Ruh: I want to give you the final words so if you don't mind telling people, you know how they can reach out to you, you know what is your website things like that, but I also want to say that.

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Debra Ruh: I hear people one person comes to mind that says.

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Debra Ruh: We don't need assistive technology we don't need assistive technology and assistive technology is limiting people with disabilities and.

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Debra Ruh: If your websites are fully accessible you don't need assistive technology, I totally disagree with that comment, and I said that on air because I keep trying to remind this person that.

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Debra Ruh: I use this if i'm using a screen reader I use a screen reader to start my computer and navigate to your website and then, and so I keep reminding him that I have to have assistive technology, but he just feels it's a scam being put on.

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Antonio Santos: There I think we should not dictate what people what people are going to use, you know.

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Antonio Santos: People need to find.

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Antonio Santos: What works best for them, you know as people may have been sufficient for this booth in different stages of their lives.

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Antonio Santos: And though they can borrow and and it's important that everyone is able to choose solutions basis, no visit in in what they can actually do with that tech themselves, no.

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Antonio Santos: need to do.

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Debra Ruh: I agree, and let's give you the final words Ryan.

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Ryan Graham: yeah and we'll finally just thank you very much data Antonio and access challenger know, for having me on today it's been an absolute pleasure i've actually had a lot of fun, we could probably talk about this for hours on end but we'll we'll keep it short.

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Ryan Graham: And so, just to remind everybody our text help website is www dot txt help talk calm and you can find more about our textbook journey at text dot help forward slash journey.

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Ryan Graham: And just as a as a last reminder as well, that these are tools, but these tools are to help you drive that culture in your organization.

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Ryan Graham: To remove those barriers, because we want to make sure that everybody is entitled to be able to access the content and the same way as everybody else that's all we want and you're right Antonio.

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Ryan Graham: It doesn't matter what tools you use to get there, as long as they work for you that's, the important thing.

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Debra Ruh: I agree, well said, well, thank you, everybody.

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Ryan Graham: Thanks everyone.