The evolution and Future Of Accessibility At Google – Laura Allen
Laura Allen – Head of Strategy, Accessibility, and Disability Inclusion at Google – shares her journey from 10-year-old child with unexplained vision loss to a leader and force for change in the world of accessible technology. Laura further highlights some of the accessibility initiatives at Google that are close to heart as well as what she believes the future of accessibility will look like in the years ahead.
About the guest:
Laura Allen is the Head of Strategy for Accessibility and Disability Inclusion at Google. She works cross-functionally across teams to improve the accessibility and usability of Google products and processes, and to make Google a more accessible and inclusive place for people with disabilities. Due to her personal experience with low vision, she believes that technology has more power now than ever to transform lives, and progressing accessibility and disability inclusion is her true passion.
Prior to her role as Head of Strategy, Laura was the Senior Accessibility Program Manager for the Chrome and Chrome OS teams at Google. For 6.5 years, she collaborated with engineers, designers, product managers, and researchers to make the Chrome family of products accessible and usable across platforms, for people of all abilities.
She also leads various accessibility workshops and trainings for teachers of the visually impaired, advocacy organizations, and special education classrooms. In addition, Laura helps to lead Google’s presence at major accessibility conferences, as she believes that connecting with the community and gathering hands-on feedback is critical. Laura also represents Google in the Teach Access organization, where various technology companies, higher education institutions, and disability advocacy organizations come together to drive the inclusion of accessibility in core computer science, design, human centered interaction programs, and other key disciplines to close the accessibility skills gap. As of 2020, she serves as the Chair of the Teach Access Executive Committee. Since 2017, Laura has also served on the board of directors for the San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. As of June 2020, she serves on the board of the Alphapointe Foundation, an organization centered around empowering individuals who are visually impaired to achieve their goals and aspirations and gain meaningful employment.
Prior to her role in accessibility, Laura worked as an Account Manager in Google’s Large Customer Sales division where she advised business-to-business technology companies on their advertising and marketing strategies. For her undergraduate education, Laura studied International Business, Marketing, and Music at Georgetown University. She also completed an Executive Leadership graduate program at Stanford University in March 2021.