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Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024: Inclusion Benefits Us All

By Tom Wlodkowski

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024: Inclusion Benefits Us All

By Tom Wlodkowski

Published 06-11-24

Submitted by Comcast Corporation

At Comcast, we want everyone to get the most out of their connectivity and entertainment experience. But for the disabled community, connectivity can remain a challenge. A study from the Pew Research Center found that disabled Americans are less likely than those without a disability to report using the internet daily (75% vs. 87%). And Americans with disabilities are three times more likely than those without a disability to say they never go online (15% vs. 5%). That’s why we work to advance digital inclusion for everyone from every angle: through our products, our services, our partnerships, and our content.

Last week we celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) by taking the opportunity to amplify our shared commitment to digital inclusion – no matter your age, ability, or background. For over a decade, our approach has been grounded in the belief that when you make an experience more inclusive, everyone benefits.

At Comcast, inclusion drives innovation. Our goal is to develop solutions to bring people closer to the moments that matter most. From enabling the use of Xfinity services with eye-tracking technology through our web remote for people with physical or speech disabilities to offering voice control to make entertainment easier for everyone — our innovation has advanced a more inclusive entertainment experience for our customers.

Two people holding different remotes next to each other over a table.

These stories keep us inspired and motivated to continue to push the envelope and forge ahead in our work. While chatting with Sheletta Brundidge on her podcast last year, she shared with me the story of her father-in-law, whose home entertainment experience had become frustrating and difficult when he developed some dexterity issues making the small buttons on his remote cumbersome. An avid football fan, he had accidentally enabled Spanish language audio and couldn’t disable it. Sheletta shared that for him, it was “devastating” to not be able to press a button and be independent. His family visited their Xfinity store where they learned about our Large Button Voice Remote; with it, he was finally able to watch his games on Sunday without needing assistance from others.

Sheletta learned about this solution at our retail store, but for many, a visit to any retail environment presents a challenge. Knowing how many of our customers rely on in-person support for technology services, our inclusivity lens led us to explore ways we can make our retail experience more accessible as well. So last year, in partnership with the Communications Services for the Deaf (CSD), we kicked off American Sign Language (ASL) Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) services in select Xfinity retail stores and have expanded this year to additional stores across DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Greater Philadelphia.

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For people with visual disabilities, the Xfinity Voice Remote eliminates barriers to enjoying their favorite content.

Enhancing customer service for deaf or hard-of-hearing customers is a game-changer for those who speak ASL. At our ASL VRI launch event in Philadelphia, Alycia, an Xfinity customer and teacher at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, shared with me that being able to communicate with our retail associates through a live interpreter made her store experience more efficient, more enjoyable, and less stressful.

In addition to focusing on the customer and product experience, we’re also working with community partners to advance digital inclusion for people with disabilities. That’s why we team up with partners like The Arc to help people with disabilities leverage technology to open doors to new experiences and opportunities.

Kris, a 59-year-old man with cerebral palsy, is an active member of his community but needed to deepen his digital skills to broaden his civic service. As a result of their partnership with Comcast, The Arc of Weld County was able to provide Kris with tech coaching and help him in his role of giving back to his community. Through a grant over two years, The Arc will be able to continue providing these critical digital-skills services.

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Our Xfinity Large Button Voice Remote that was designed for users with mobility, dexterity, or vision impairments.

Continuing to better understand the diverse needs of our customers is central to achieving our goal of delivering inclusive products and services. We closed out GAAD by keeping this conversation going with our employees. This year, I was thrilled to welcome Michele Sullivan, a globally recognized disability advocate, leader, and author of the acclaimed autobiography Looking Up, who joined our teammates for a discussion about accessibility, action, and allyship.

Opportunities like the event with Michele Sullivan to engage with the disability community and sharing stories like Alycia, Kris, and Sheletta’s are critical to better understanding what it means to be “inclusive.”

Tom Wlodkowski is Vice President of Accessibility at Comcast

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Alycia, Xfinity customer and teacher at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, using the American Sign Language (ASL) Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) service at an Xfinity retail store.


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Michele Sullivan, author of the acclaimed autobiography Looking Up, Tom Wlodkowski, Comcast’s Vice President of Accessibility, and Nat Lavelle, Comcast’s Learning Experience Designer, engaging in a discussion on accessibility, action, and allyship. 


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Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. NBCUniversal operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts.

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