The Launch of IA Labs
The official launch of Inclusion & Accessibility (IA) Labs and the Digital Accessibility Index was held on the 27th of April 2022 in Dublin, Ireland. The staff of IA Labs were delighted to welcome guests from a range of industries, such as representatives from Novartis, Bank of Ireland, NearForm, Cation, PRM Assist, Dept Agency, BDO, Stryve, and the guest of honour, Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte, to the event.
IA Labs is a spin-out company of Ireland’s national sight loss agency, the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI). Many of NCBI’s service users have complained over the years about the inaccessibility of certain online portals, websites, mobile apps, and digital documents. IA Labs was established to bring awareness to these issues with the companies who had them, and to provide guidance and solutions that would benefit pan-disabilities. Many of the organisations present at the launch had already worked or are currently working with IA Labs to improve the accessibility of their digital content.
The launch was opened with an inspiring speech from NCBI CEO Chris White about the core principles of IA Labs and its foundation. He emphasised how now more than ever, the company’s mission for web designers, developers, and content creators to keep accessibility at the forefront of their minds is paramount so the people who benefit most from the internet are able to use it.
This was followed by a speech from Minister Anne Rabbitte on her role as the Minister of State for Disability. She noted the importance of awareness: a lot of digital content falls short of accessibility standards, not necessarily because its creators don’t care about people with disabilities, but because they don’t know how to begin including them. She welcomed the release of the Digital Accessibility Index, which makes clear how far Ireland has to go before it is fully compliant with the EU Web Accessibility Directive 2016.
IA Labs CEO Kyran O’Mahoney spoke about his personal experience with technology enabling him to level the playing field, and how that and his experience as NCBI CTO spurred him on to found IA Labs. His speech focused on the Digital Accessibility Index being a call to action for organisations to prioritise inclusion and IA Labs’ key role in supporting them to achieve this. He also summarised the findings of the index and indicated where improvements can be made in the public and private sectors.
Copies of the Digital Accessibility Index were provided for all attendees and a full Braille version was displayed in the venue. Refreshments were served at the event for the guests throughout the day.
IA Labs would like to sincerely thank everyone at the launch event for their support and attendance. If you want to find out more about the work we do to make the technological world more inclusive of people with disabilities, you can visit the following link to view our list of services or contact IA Labs.