Yahoo! India Research & Development has been making great progress in the field of accessibility. In one of my earlier blog posts, I mentioned some of the initiatives that were undertaken by the Yahoo! Bangalore office. The successful collaboration between product, engineering, and quality teams to make the Yahoo! properties more usable to the widest audience possible is seeing signs of success over the past year.
In recognition of these efforts, the National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), in association with AccessAbility and BarrierBreak Technologies, has awarded the NCPEDP - Mphasis Universal Design Company Award to Yahoo! India R&D! for the year 2010. This award was given to Yahoo! India in the category of companies or organizations who have taken up the cause of accessibility and universal design.
As mentioned on their website, Universal Design benefits every human being to some degree at some point of time. Universal Design has attained major ground in the developed nations, but in developing countries like India, this concept has yet to attain popularity. In fact, awareness of Universal Design is close to nonexistent, and there have been very few attempts to educate architects, designers and others about this. Through this award, they hope to spread awareness.
Yahoo! India R&D has been closely working with the accessibility teams around the world to bring in some best practices and standards to the development cycles of products. Following the Accessibility lab set up in Yahoo! Inc. headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, Yahoo! Bangalore set up its first lab little over a year ago. We brought in all the right equipment and people to get the initiatives rolling. Such a facility is available in only select companies in India.
Some of the projects that have been influenced or supported by the Yahoo! India Accessibility task force are Yahoo! EU Life Styles, Yahoo! Homepage, Yahoo! Mail Classic, Yahoo! Search, Yahoo! India Weather, and Yahoo! India Careers.
Apart from setting benchmarks on Universal Design, Yahoo! India R&D is also building awareness about accessibility outside the company, by supporting and participating in accessibility-related events such as Techshare India. Yahoo! India R&Ds accessibility leads are members of the National Advisory Committee of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) India and the Disability Working Committee of NASSCOM.
The Accessibility team will receive a trophy and a citation at a ceremony in New Delhi on August 14, 2010, on the eve of the Indian Independence Day. Congratulations!
Meanwhile, check out the Yahoo! Accessibility blog for more general information.