Google shares accessibility and inclusivity secrets

“It’s always a journey, the nature of technology and the nature of people’s needs are always evolving," said Christopher Patnoe, Head of Accessibility Programs and Disability Inclusion at Google, discussing accessibility and inclusion at Google, as our guest in our Accessibility Insights webinar series, hosted by Robin Christopherson MBE, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet.


Highlights from the webinar


Christopher then discussed how accessibility is at the core of everything Google does. "Within Google I’m lucky that accessibility is actually part of our mission statement," he said. "For those people that don’t know our mission statement is to take the world’s information and make it accessible and useful."


Over the past few years, Christopher explained, Google has "really doubled down on building with people with disabilities, which I think is an important part of making products that resonate and meet needs."

Watch the full webinar below and download the transcript.

Also during the webinar, Christopher, whose background includes innovation roles at Disney Mobile, Sony Ericsson and Apple, shared inclusivity developments at Google and discussed topics including the future of digital accessibility and Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and product design.

Webinar recording, transcript, podcast and slides

A transcript, slides used in the webinar, podcast, and follow up Q&A responses from the webinar can be found below.

All of our webinars are recorded and you can find them on our website. For additional information read answers to frequently asked questions about AbilityNet webinars.

Questions and answers from the webinar

Christopher has responded below to some of the questions that were posed by attendees in the Q&A panel during the webinar:

Question: Is there an accessibility checker in google classroom?

Answer: Not at this time, but this is a feature that we've heard loudly and clearly that is needed. 

Q: It is very interesting to hear about these exciting future/near future developments. Are there any basic, downstream challenges now that frustrate these developments or that you would love to see addressed because they would better enable the velocity of progress?

A: The biggest challenge I see is awareness, then motivation. If someone isn't aware of the need, it's easy to lower the priority of making something Accessible. If they're aware of the need, but are not aware of the risks of not doing it, that's another issue.  Then it's a matter of influence without authority. Can you understand what motivates the decision makers, and can you create an argument that resonates with them, in their language (altruism, risk, FOMO/competition), etc

Q: I’d like to ask Christopher how we can collaborate on ‘Google for Startups - Disability’. I’m the founder of Think and Zoom.

A: Please reach out to me on LinkedIn and let's chat.

Q: Where can I get one of those Google shirts?

A: I get this question all the the time :-).  This is not for sale, it's something we create for our "Accessibility and Disability Inclusion week" (actually happening right now). If you come and work for Google and get involved with ADI, you'll get one like it for free! (And the other Google perks are cool, too.)

Further resources

Date of webinar: 
10 Nov 2020 - 13:00