Global Accessibility Awareness Day at Box

Today marks the 8th Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) and Box is pleased to share our initiatives not only this week but also on an ongoing basis. GAAD started in 2011 with an aim "to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities." 

Global Accessibility Awareness Day at Box

Box is marking GAAD in a few ways. Today, Boxers from various teams across the company will take some time out from their daily schedules to use devices that mimic some of the experience of visually impaired users. Tomorrow, a company-wide Friday Lunch will focus on accessibility issues and be the primary way we're getting everyone talking, thinking, and learning about GAAD. In addition to raising awareness internally through this blog post, meetings and other activities, we're also taking time to engage externally with customers and partners.

Product Development Efforts

One area of ongoing focus for Box beyond GAAD is our Build team's work to ensure that the Box service continually improves its level of accessibility. In FY20, accessibility will be a special area of focus for us within Build. We're dedicating more resources than ever within our Web App team to focus specifically on accessibility. Additionally, we're working hard to ensure that accessibility is not only embedded within our build process, but also within our company DNA, through trainings, workshops, and other activities.

Accessibility Commitment Statement

8 years ago, Boxers established a set of company values that we refer to on a daily basis. One of these is to “Make Mom Proud.” Although this may manifest different interpretations in specific situations, as a general guiding principle. we all intuitively understand what it means. For many of us, it is centered around striving to do the right thing and taking actions that would make our moms (or dads/parental figures) proud. It is important to establish and maintain our business case for accessible design, technology, and product development, but most importantly because it is the right thing to do. Our commitment to accessibility is one of the ways we can "Make Mom Proud." 

Another important value at Box - and an important part of our culture - is "Bring Your _______ Self to Work." Boxers are a pretty mixed bag of different backgrounds and values around here, so the blank is different for each Box employee. This recognition of our individual uniqueness is  something we keep in mind when thinking about the importance of accessibility.

We're committed to working with our customers and experts, such as nonprofits who focus on accessibility, to ensure we do this the right way.

After GAAD, What's Next?

After this week and beyond GAAD, Box's engagement on and commitment to accessibility continues. Later this year, we're planning our first ever Accessibility Hackathon, which follows in the tradition of these events at Box. Teams from across the company tackle various challenges that can be “10X’d” with some concerted effort. Often these “hacks” are focused on our product, but just as frequently, they involve ways to improve business processes, operations, customer engagement, or other areas of the business.

More immediately, coming up next week, Box’s Product and Engineering team members will team up with a group of customers that meet periodically as an "Accessibility Working Group." This group provides input and feedback and all Box customers benefit greatly from the expertise they share with us. The Box team will provide updates and request feedback for prioritizing the next phases of development work.