It took me almost 50 years to understand accessibility

This presentation was originally delivered to the IBM Research team as part of their Accessibility Day in May 2014. I shared my experience with assistive technology and my journey of understanding the meaning of accessibility.

While I’ve been passionate about accessibility for many years now, it’s not something I understood overnight. In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I wanted to share my almost 50-year journey of lessons and evolving understanding with you.


Accessibility = Democracy

I’ve experienced a massive shift in how not only I think about accessibility but in the way society thinks about accessibility; we’re moving from a one-dimensional mindset of what assistive technology is and can be to one where we are building things that enable and empower people in ways we never thought were possible.

So ask yourself, what if everyone had access to assistive technology that allowed them to reach their full potential?

It took me almost 50 years to understand accessibility. from Peter Mahoney


Peter Mahoney

About Peter Mahoney

Peter Mahoney is the senior vice president and general manager of Dragon for Nuance’s Healthcare division. He is responsible for all aspects of the Dragon speech recognition business, encompassing the healthcare, enterprise, and consumer markets. Peter joined the company in 2004 as the vice president of worldwide marketing for the speech division. Prior to Nuance, Peter held leadership roles in marketing, product management and operations at Performaworks, ATG, Engage and PictureTel after a successful career in sales and alliances at IBM. Peter also serves as the Chairman, Board of Directors for Easter Seals Massachusetts, a non-profit, community-based health agency dedicated to helping children and adults with disabilities attain greater independence. Peter earned a B.S. from Boston College with a double major in Physics and Computer Science.