Nic Steenhout


A developer in the mid-'90s, Nicolas Steenhout was approached by clients facing issues not yet part of the public consciousness. On the emerging web, accessibility hurdles were keeping people with disabilities from engaging with a technological revolution. Confronted by this gap within the digital landscape, Nic began championing web accessibility. He transitioned into the non-profit sector where he collaborated with people with a wide variety of impairments and was introduced to new assistive technologies. Twenty five years on, Nic continues his accessibility work as an independent consultant for both the private and non-profit sectors. Having worked on three continents, he’s engaged with thousands of individuals with disabilities. Blogger, podcaster, public speaker, Nic offers real-world insight into everyday accessibility issues.

All Sessions by Nic Steenhout

9:00 am - 10:00 am

Forget accessibility! Think inclusive design

Nic will talk about the idea of disability vs impairment and look at some barriers related to disabilities and technology. He will also explore how thinking about inclusion rather than accessibility helps everyone. And more importantly, some things we can all do to reduce or eliminate those barriers. Disabled people use technology and the web to function and communicate. That's pretty straight forward. What happens when a site or an app isn't coded in a way that makes it accessible and usable by people with disabilities? We've created barriers, we've caused the person's impairment to become disabling, reducing their ability to communicate. Effectively, we're shutting people with disabilities down! Developers and designers are more aware than ever of the need to build accessibility for disabled people into their product. But thinking about ""making things work for people with disabilities"" risks creating an us vs them mentality. And that mentality will, in the end, cause more harm than good to the disability community.