Vision-Aid brings leading panel of experts on Accessibility Testing to Boston Accessibility Conference

Vision-Aid hosted a panel of experts on Accessibility Testing at the Boston Accessibility Conference, an annual event that attract leaders from many fields who are interested in supporting accessibility, universal design and making the digital world a more universal place for persons of all abilities.

2019’s conference was held on Saturday November 2nd at the Fidelity Offices in downtown Boston. Vision-Aid co-sponsored the conference and hosted a keynote panel on “Accessible Accessibility Testing” and an information session on “Using technology to create wearable navigational devices for the blind”.

Accessible Accessibility Testing

The keynote panel brought together leading experts in the field of Accessiblity testing to explore the advantages of having people with disabilities do accessibility testing. The panel discussed some of the challenges of having people with disabilities conduct WCAG 2.x compliance testing as well as how these challenges be overcome. The panel also explored if accessibility-testing tools are themselves accessible and discussed how companies which want to conduct usability testing with people with disabilities could get started. They also discussed how people with disabilities who want to get paid to do accessibility and/or usability testing, could get started.The panel was moderated by Glenda Sims, Team lead of Accessibility Testing at Deque Systems Inc. of Austin, which is considered the global leader in this space. Other panelists included Becky Gibson from KnowbilityCheryl Cumings, Founder of Our Space Our PlaceJeanne SpellmanThe Paciello GroupRich Caloggero, MIT Assistive Technology Laboratory and WGBH National Center for Accessible Media and Ramakrishna Raju, Founder & Executive Director, Vision-Aid. The Vision-Aid team at the conference also included President Syed Ali Rizvi, Co-Founder & VP Revathy Ramakrishna, Directors Paramesh Garimella, Nirmala Garimella, Ujwala Phene, Ravi Rastogi, Loubaina Buxamusa and volunteers Sonal Patel and others.

Vision-Aid’s new program in Accessibility Testing

At this time, Vision-Aid is offering a path-breaking course on Digital Accessibility Testing which was launched in India, on 17th August 2019. The main objective of the course is to train visually impaired students to be ready for employment, as skilled accessibility testers, upon successful completion of the course. The students will learn valuable skills in accessibility testing and go on to help to make our digital world a more accessible and inclusive place for all. Following the curriculum offered by Deque University, the leader in this field, this course is being delivered over a period of 18 weeks, having a virtual class for 2 hours every Saturday. On successful completion, the students will be fully prepared to earn Deque University certificates along with hands on experience on several real life projects.

This is the first time Vision-Aid is offering this course, and the initial application demand was very strong We received 51 applications from all over India, and have screened and selected 13 students, all visually impaired  from various cities across India: ranging from  Surat-Gujarat, to Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The teaching team includes Mr. Ashwin Kumar, Mr. Bhargav Vaghasiya, Justin Philips, Pinky Gupta and others, under the leadership of Ms. Jayanthi Lakshmipuram.

In the following session, Vision-Aid Founder and Executive Director, Ram Raju presented an overview of the work being done by Vision-Aid and explained how the Vision-Aid model and programs are bringing direct impact in the lives of the visually impaired through its resource centers in India.

Sid Anantha’s Innovation

The next session featured speaker Sidharth Anantha, a senior from Lexington High School who showcased his innovative device “Seeing for the Blind” which includes the applications of technology to improve mobility and navigation for blind users. Mr. Anantha explains how machine learning and echolocation can be used to give the blind a greater sense of spatial awareness, and walked the audience through his own journey and motivations for innovation, which began four years ago when he saw a blind woman trying to navigate through a crowded train in Mumbai, India. The audience appreciated Sid’s presentation and a lively discussion followed.

Overall, the conference was a huge success and helped to shine a light on the important subject of improving accessibility and making the world a more inclusive place for all.

Vision-Aid India Relaunches its Website

The launch of this new website gives us renewed hope that India will see more lives of the visually impaired being transformed.

Vision-Aid Newsletter

Vision-Aid Course Catalog

Vision-Aid Model

A Digital Accessibility Testing Testimonial | Nibin Mathews

Nibin Mathews’ journey is a testament to resilience and determination. Despite facing

significant visual impairment challenges since birth, Nibin pursued education with unwavering determination. Losing sight in one eye due to a cricket ball stroke in 6th grade and later losing vision in the other eye to glaucoma didn’t deter him. He completed his Bachelor’s in English and even secured a job with Indian Railways. Yet, his thirst for knowledge led him to pursue computer programming, which he found through Vision-Aid. With their specialized training, he mastered coding and digital accessibility testing. With their financial support, he pursued a Master’s degree. Now, as the Accessibility Lead at Bosch Global Software Technologies, he’s excelling professionally. But Nibin’s achievements don’t stop there; he’s also an international tennis champion and a skilled violinist. He attributes much of his success to Vision-Aid, acknowledging their pivotal role in his journey. His story is not just one of personal triumph but also a testament to the impact of support systems in overcoming challenges and inspiring others.

A Job Coaching for Banking and other exams Testimonial | Gautam Gulati

Meet Gautam, a remarkable individual based in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, whose life story is a testament to resilience, determination, and the transformative power of organizations like Vision-Aid India.

Gautam’s life commenced with the diagnosis of Retinist Pigmentosa. Despite experiencing a 40% loss of sight, he persevered through attending a regular school, successfully completing his education and earning a B Com degree. His world took an unexpected turn after graduation, when, he had the major sight loss. Faced with the challenges of navigating everyday activities like driving, reading, writing print, and mobility etc. Yet, rather than allowing these obstacles to define him, he chose a path of resilience and determination. Undeterred by his circumstances, Gautam turned to technology, becoming dependent on tools designed for visually impaired individuals, including screen readers. His quest for independence led him to explore new technologies with the support of various NGOs. Through his social networks, Gautam discovered Vision-Aid India, an organization dedicated to empowering the visually impaired. Recognizing the potential for growth, he enrolled in Vision-Aid’s IBPS banking crash course, specifically tailored for visually impaired individuals, in April 2022.

Determined to enhance his skills further, Gautam pursued an additional course in mobile technology. This commitment to personal and professional growth showcased his unwavering spirit and determination.

Armed with newfound knowledge, Gautam faced the Bank of India Credit Officer exam after completing the IBPS crash course. His hard work, coupled with the right guidance from Vision-Aid, resulted in success. In 2023, Gautam proudly joined Bank of India as a Credit Officer, marking a significant milestone in his journey.

Gautam attributes his success and newfound independence to Vision-Aid India. With deep gratitude, he acknowledges the organization’s role in providing IBPS coaching and shaping his path towards independence.

A Python Testimonial

Tejas

Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.

Bindhu Sri

Meet Bindu, from Hyderabad. Who began her life with the gift of perfect vision? She embarked on her educational journey in a conventional school, but at the tender age of 9, her world dimmed as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) impacted her sight. Loosing major of her vision with lot of challenges she still could complete her graduate degree in 2020 and her post-graduate degree in 2022. Being interested to pursue her career in computer programming she discovered Vision-Aid India, a beacon of hope and opportunity. Enrolling in their online certification programs, Bindu successfully completed both Python and SQL languages. Armed with these newfound skills, she opened doors to her career, securing a position as a Data Engineer at RX Data Science, a renowned company.

“All of this was made possible through the invaluable support and guidance provided by Vision-Aid India” She Says.

A HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and ARIA Fundamentals for Accessible Web Development Testimonial

Tejas

Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.