Programming for Accessibility

Rory Preddy (~rory)





My life is a hilarious roller coaster of miss-intended programming bugs because at 4 foot tall and 50 kilograms I completely fall off your radar.

Why did my scale call me! Why does facial recognition see me as a child? These are all valid questions I often ask myself as I navigate my weird and different world. Have you heard the phrase “You have to be this tall for Micro-services”? well what about: “You have to be this tall to operate a mobile phone?”. I am finding it harder and harder to reach any button except for “#” and “9”.

Building accessibility into the planning stages of programming can eliminate barriers for participation and create an inclusive environment for people with disabilities. Programming for diversity serves as an unquestionable indicator that your software embraces the diversity of your users and cares about their safety and comfort.

Join me on a fascinating and thought-provoking look at how you can program for accessibility.

Talk Details:

I begin my talk with explaining the everyday challenges that I encounter. I show, how too often, adaptation and dissemination to technological innovations widen the gap towards equal access for persons with disabilities.

I then introduce the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) which are the technical guidelines created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for creating accessible mobile and web-based applications.

I conclude by going through a very simple coding and design process that shows how accessibility can become a feature set and not a hindrance.

My Inspiration

I often forget that I’m a little person. It’s the physical environment and society that remind me. In giving you an insight into who I am today I wanted to offer you a new perspective. I wanted to challenge the idea that design is but a tool to create function and beauty. Design greatly impacts people’s lives, all lives. Design is a way in which we can feel included in the world, but it is also a way in which we can uphold a person’s dignity and their human rights. Design can also inflict vulnerability on a group whose needs aren’t considered.

So today, I want your perceptions challenged. Who are we not designing for? How can we amplify their voices and their experiences? What is the next step? Design is an enormous privilege, but it is a bigger responsibility. I want to open your eyes.

Why am I the best person to do this talk

1) I will do the topic proud!: I have broad experience in public speaking on accessibility both to mine and my disabled son’s local community. I head up the Middle East and Africa Programming for Accessibility pillar for Microsoft.

2) I will do the conference proud!: As a seasoned speaker I often speak at both conferences and user groups. I have experience in delivering talks to large groups (1000+) and have been professionally trained.

3) I will do the community proud!: I believe strongly in accessibility for software and this conference is in a privileged position to address important accessibly issues. That being said I am also aware that this may be a sensitive topic and will ensure that I take the utmost care in wording my talk in the most sensitive manner.


No Prerequisites required

Video URL: (I will obviously be changing the content for Pycon India)

Content URLs:

Speaker Info:

Rory works in the Developer Relations team at Microsoft as a Senior Cloud Advocate. Cloud Advocates use their deep research skills to help professional cloud developers discover and successfully use Microsoft’s platforms.

Rory also heads up the Middle East and Africa Accessibility Tier for Microsoft and travels around the world empowering developers to achieve more.

Speaker Links:

Section: Culture and society
Type: Talks
Target Audience: Beginner
Last Updated: