25 Years of Tech - and AbilityNet

Happy 25th birthday AbilityNet, plus graphic of a birthday cakeI’m very proud to have been with AbilityNet since its birth in January 1998. Today marks our 25th birthday - and it’s worth taking a look at just how far we’ve come…

Changing lives through tech… for a quarter of a century

It’s almost unbelievable how many changes we’ve seen in the landscape of technology, both for consumers and behind the scenes.

When AbilityNet was first founded in 1998, televisions were still bulky boxes in the corner of our living rooms, the internet was still young and fresh, computer speeds were measured in megahertz, mobile phones weren’t nearly so mobile (and definitely weren’t so smart) and the terrifying Y2K digital-apocalypse loomed large on the horizon.Robot sitting on a bench outdoors
Today, the unstoppable rise of the smartphone has created a tsunami of smart gadgets and wearables, the internet is everywhere (and in everything from your watch to your washing machine), self-driving cars are on many of our streets and AI is almost everywhere.

Through all these changes, one thing hasn’t altered; AbilityNet has remained at the very cutting-edge, using our expertise to help people with disabilities, to advise government on inclusive policies,  and to assist companies who really care about making their products and services accessible to all.

Do you need advice and expertise to improve your organisation's digital accessibility or inclusive practices? AbilityNet can help you.

Robin Christopherson and guide dog Hugo receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Suffolk Computer Science departmentCelebrating the power of tech

Over these last two and a half decades, the technology has evolved in eye-opening ways - but its potential to help overcome impairments has existed from the very start. In education, at home and in the workplace we’ve continued changing lives through the power of technology - helping many millions of people across countless countries reach their full potential.

Without tech and its awesome ability to include everyone in this digital world, I wouldn’t be Head of Digital Inclusion for such an excellent organisation as AbilityNet - and been able to play a small part in enabling others to also achieve their ambitions over these many years.

How AbilityNet can help you

I know what you’re thinking; of course AbilityNet wouldn’t exist without tech. So I need to be really clear; without the power of tech to include everyone I wouldn’t be in work at all.
I and millions of others wouldn’t stand a chance. But tech has given us so much more than an equal chance at a career – it’s also given us access to all those things that YOU use tech for every day.

I may need to tweak my computer and smartphone to do the things you take for granted, but that’s where AbilityNet comes in.

So, please use our website and delve into the enormous range of factsheets and simple step-by-step guides to customising your tech, and do check out our free webinars or contact us for free tech advice or support.

25% off accessibility and inclusion training courses!
In celebration of AbilityNet's 25th anniversary, for 25 days we are offering 25% off live training sessions*. Use the code Happy25thAbilityNet to redeem this discount and build skills in accessibility and inclusive design.
Offer ends Thursday 16th February 2023 at 23:59 GMT.

Further resources