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Who is KR Liu, the Google Accessibility leader who seeks to transform the view on people with disabilities

Yanina Sibona

“Disability is not a monolith. The People with disabilities we are all different. My role is that this is known through the stories we tell and the products we manufacture “, he tells TN KR Liu, Director of Accessibility of Google. Diagnosed with severe hearing loss at age three, KR was a strong advocate for using new technologies to improve the way people connect in the world.

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Liu has more than 20 years of experience working on different accessibility and inclusive design projects. Over the past few decades, it launched some of the most disruptive lifestyle technology brands on the market.

Today, being in charge of the Accessibility department at Google, he explains that a large part of his work consists of thinking about how to ensure that the voices of people with disabilities are amplified thanks to the contribution of your company.

For that, and to achieve true inclusion, Liu emphasizes that the contribution of people with disabilities in the creation of different work teams in the company is essential: “It is also important to think about how we can ensure that our creative assets stand out to the community of people with disabilities and in what way we can support artists and creatives who have a disability through this work ”.

Commitment to people with disabilities

Liu’s commitment to inclusion allowed him to be part of industry organizations that work for the accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities throughout his life. Some of them are the American Association of People with Disabilities. Also, from the board of directors of the American Hearing Loss Association and the World Hearing Foundation International.

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“I am a passionate advocate for inclusive design and a storyteller in the disability community. At Google we believe in building for all, which means thinking about accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities from the beginning of our products, programs and partnerships. “

In that sense, it clarifies that teams throughout the company seek to achieve this goal by hiring more people with disabilities, establishing more partnerships with community organizations and receiving direct feedback from people on how to improve.

A change in business mindset

Liu argues that not only is it important for companies to think about how to create inclusive products and engage the community, but they also need to consider how they are broadly showing off as a brand: “Technology has the power to make the world a more accessible space. by offering people with disabilities the tools they need to achieve their goals ”.

“Through my work, we have been able to increase the visibility of disability on Google websites, we create campaigns that show the incredible work of people with disabilities using Google tools, and we support the work of artists who have some disability”.

The bet is to make visible

The accessibility expert gives an account of the daily actions that are transforming the look of society: “We recently carried out a photo session with the intention of offering more lifestyle images of people with disabilities that could be used on our websites , including our Android accessibility site ”.

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“We saw this as an opportunity not only to increase visibility of disability in our work, but to use it as a chance to apply for a job for photographers who have a disability ”.

Hire people with disabilities to add value to the brand

“There is a lot of diversity in the community of people with disabilities and they all have a life history in which they have overcome the barriers that society has imposed on them. This gives many of these people a perspectiva invaluable It simply cannot be found anywhere else. That is why one of the most important things a company or organization can do is hire a diverse set of people with disabilities in all kinds of areas, including leadership and creative roles, ”she says convinced.

Liu reflects on his own story by mentioning that “people with disabilities they are rarely seen as artists, photographers, or creatives, which can often lead to a lack of positive representation in the media. As a result, I have spent most of my life without seeing myself reflected in the images of people with disabilities that I see in advertisements or advertisements ”.

The key then for the director of Google is hire more artists and creatives with disabilities to recognize the wide range of roles they can play: “In this way, we can begin to influence the way people with disabilities are represented in the world and show the true diversity that exists within the community.”

Open doors to grow

One of the most important lessons Liu says he has learned in his career is that when we help open doors for others and create examples of the different paths people with disabilities can take, we can create new opportunities for everyone to reach the highest levels. of any organization: “This is important because it ensures that people with disabilities are represented in all aspects of society.”

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