Firstly, the new Ministry of Disabled People (Whaikaha) has come online, with some amazing people being appointed to key roles. We look forward to seeing what can be achieved. We’ve also seen the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa launched and the work on the IT Industry Transformation Plan continue. We are super proud to have been involved in this important mahi.
Also, The Accessibility For New Zealanders Bill began it's journey through parliament. We, along with many others, made a submission about how the Bill could be improved before it is made law. There is definitely more work to be done to make it all that it needs to be, but there is certainly hope for a workable legislation in the future.
Access Advisors has held a couple of successful webinars including Helen Keller's birthday in June with the Deafblind Association and International Day of People with Disabilities on 5 December 2022 discussing What’s in a Name, (this will be up on our website in the New Year). Both webinar discussions were insightful and well supported with more than 50 people at each. Thanks to all who attended and special thanks to the speakers as well. We really enjoy bringing you these webinars as they foster interesting conversations. If you have topics you’d like us to cover next year then please let us know.
This year we are thrilled to continue supporting our existing clients and taking on some new ones as well. One highlight was at a recent sales meeting, where a client who had worked with us at a previous company was singing our praises. All of our clients are amazing and we’ve enjoyed working with you all and helping in whatever way we could. Our Team has spent many hours doing team training, product assessments, coaching champions and providing support to help increase digital accessibility.
Our Access Panel has also grown with quite a few new members from different parts of the country and with different access needs. We have had some interesting projects this year with usability testing, collaborative design sessions and video reviews. We have more exciting projects coming up next year. Get in touch if you’d like to join the Access Panel or use our Research Services.
In 2022 we formalised a new partnership with Be.Lab as their digital services provider. We also continue to partner with Accessibility Tick, Blind Low Vision NZ and CCS Disability Action. With a shared vision of increasing accessibility in Aotearoa, these partnerships and the collaboration that goes along with them helps achieve the goal. We look forward to achieving great things together in the future.
In other activities, Chandra and Ross attended the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference in Rotorua in August, Chandra was a Keynote speaker at the ICT Tertiary Conference in October and they were both at Tech Summit in November. It is great to get out and talk with people about the joys of accessibility.
In 2022, we celebrated three years as an independent digital accessibility consultancy. We’ve come a long way in those three years. In 2022, three new team members joined our ranks taking us to 10 diverse individuals who make up one hell of a team. We are also thrilled to now have a proper office in Christchurch, based in the Blind Low Vision NZ building in St Albans. You may also have noticed we have had a big update on the Access Advisors website. Let us know what you think.
Who knows what next year will bring. Right now at the end of 2022 I’d like to acknowledge the contribution each and every one of you have made to our progress. To our clients, panel, supporters, partners and staff – We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and prosperous New Year.
Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia!
Chandra and the whole Access Advisors Team