Digital Accessibility Specialists at Envision Gain Industry Knowledge and Forge New Connections | Envision Blog

Digital Accessibility Specialists at Envision Gain Industry Knowledge and Forge New Connections

By Beth Walker • Apr 26, 2024
A photo of the conference room with tables set up.

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Terese Goren, Senior Accessibility Analyst at Envision and Mika Pyyhkala, Digital Accessibility Director at Envision, had the privilege of attending the renowned California State University of Northridge (CSUN) Assistive Technology Conference in Anaheim, CA. They also had the pleasure of visiting The Seeing Eye in New Jersey, one of the leading guide dog schools, to provide invaluable client training. These experiences not only enriched Goren and Pyyhkala’s understanding of the ever-evolving landscape of assistive technology (AT), but also underscored the importance of continuous learning and collaboration in their roles as digital accessibility specialists at Envision. 

At CSUN, the breadth of topics covered was impressive and diverse. From discussions on new product developments, to updates in AT and digital accessibility, the conference served as a melting pot of innovation. Exhibits, workshops, and sessions led by industry professionals like Vispero, Google, Amazon and Humanware provided invaluable insights into emerging trends. A main highlight from the conference for both Goren and Pyyhkala was the prominent role of AI, with screen reader software products like AIRA and JAWS integrating AI features into their offerings. The introduction of fully accessible Zoom audio recorders showcased exciting advancements in hardware accessibility.   

Networking was an important part of both the conference and training and provided professional growth for Goren and Pyyhkala. “There are so many opportunities to see what is up and coming in the AT world,” shared Goren. “If you are looking to maintain credentials or see what new cool tech is out, there is just so much to see and do. My absolute favorite part of these conferences is getting the chance to meet and talk with industry leaders.”  

“Terese and I are always networking both to find new products and services we can use at Envision in our roles, and for our own growth and digital accessibility certifications,” said Pyyhkala.  “These conferences provide us with a lot of information about the AT training we provide, and we also receive credit hours that can go towards ongoing digital accessibility certifications.” 

The training with The Seeing Eye was one of Pyyhkala’s and Goren’s favorite parts of their trip. “As a leading guide dog school, The Seeing Eye has many constituents who are blind from applicants to current students to graduates, and they want to ensure their documents and web sites are both accessible and easy to use, "shared Pyyhkala. “Terese and I spent two days in person with The Seeing Eye staff which is part of a larger annual contract where we work with them throughout the year on digital accessibility. So, this was a concentrated work period, but they realize it's important that we focus on digital accessibility year-round.”  

What truly sets these conferences apart is the opportunity for hands-on interaction with emerging technologies. From trying out beta products, such as an interactive device that makes it possible to feel live sports, and a personal navigation device system prototype, the experience goes beyond theoretical discussions to practical, real-world applications. “Our experiences at the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference and The Seeing Eye training have not only broadened our knowledge but also reinforced the importance of staying at the forefront of digital accessibility,” shared Goren and Pyyhkala. “And of course, no trip to California would be complete without In and Out Burger!”  

Now back at Envision, both Pyyhkala and Goren are newly inspired and committed to driving accessibility forward, ensuring that technology remains a tool of inclusion and empowerment for all. Goren and Pyyhkala recently provided a presentation to Envision Xpress employees which recapped updates in assistive technology from the CSUN Conference, to offer employees with vision loss the most updated tools and software to help them thrive in the workplace.

They are offering these presentations to other Envision employees and program participants who are interested. Please contact or for more information or to schedule a presentation.