Many of the tools we use daily — from messaging apps to videoconferencing software — are not designed for people with disabilities. The situation is more than an inconvenience. It’s a major factor in the unemployment rate for people in the labor force with hearing, vision, mobility, or dexterity challenges, which has risen to more than double the rate of those without disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the spirit of International Persons with Disability Day (December 3), I thought I’d talk a little about what we are doing at VMware to make digital life and work more accessible for our own employees, as well as our users, customers, and partners. We are committed to providing the best possible experience for every employee and everyone who uses our products. We have an active Disability Power of Difference (POD) community, which focuses on creating the most accommodating and inclusive environment possible for the estimated 3,000 VMware employees with disabilities. It raises awareness and builds allies in the workplace, as well as with our vendors, partners, and customers.
Last year, we proudly announced Crest, the only machine-learning-based open-source tool that checks for compliance with the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which are designed to help people with disabilities use websites, software, and documentation without assistance. Over the last year, our Accessibility Compliance team has made tremendous progress towards ensuring that our products are accessible and usable by everyone. And our executive leadership added disability inclusion to its agenda.
All of this work is paying off. Our score on the Disability Equality Index (DEI) — a benchmarking tool that provides an objective score for disability inclusion policies and practices — places VMware on the list of the best places to work for people with disabilities.
Check out this video and the following links to learn more about these efforts, as well as how you can become an ally for people with disabilities. Together, we can make the world a more welcoming, inclusive place for all.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act: https://www.ada.gov/
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/
- The VMware Accessibility Blog: https://medium.com/vmware-accessibility
- The Public-Facing VPAT Inventory and customer feedback form: https://www.vmware.com/help/accessibility.html”