Ep 240 – Making Workplace Digital Communication Accessible

Universal design is the process of creating products that are accessible to people with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, and other characteristics. Universally designed products accommodate individual preferences and abilities; communicate necessary information effectively (regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities); and can be approached, reached, manipulated, and used regardless of the individual’s body size, posture, or mobility. 

Products that are designed according to principles of universal design are designed to be usable by everyone, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. What does workplace communication using technology have to do with universal design? Well that’s what we are talking about today. 

Episode 240: Making Workplace Digital Communication Accessible with Justin Herman (@JustinHerman

This episode of the Workology Podcast is part of our Future of Work series powered by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this year, we’re investigating what the next 30 years will look like for people with disabilities at work, and the potential of emerging technologies to make workplaces more inclusive and accessible. Today, I’m joined by Justin Herman. 

Justin Herman is Global Head of Public Sector for Twilio, a cloud communications company that powers many of the most innovative businesses and public services. Previously, Justin launched the U.S. General Services Administration’s government-wide Emerging Technologies program to support and coordinate citizen services initiatives in Artificial Intelligence, Social Media, Robotic Process Automation and others across more than 300 federal, state and local agencies. He also served on the White House National Science and Technology Council subcommittee on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for two administrations. 

What Does Omnichannel Communication Have To Do with Accessibility?

For those who are unaware, omnichannel is a cross-channel content strategy that organizations use to improve their user experience and drive better relationships with their audience across points of contact. Rather than working in parallel, communication channels and their supporting resources are designed and orchestrated to cooperate. It’s a common in marketing, and it is also an important part of accessibility. By offering your customers, employees, and community different ways to receive and send communication, you allow the individual to select the platform type that works best for their specific needs. Twilio offers the ability to do just that in a variety of different ways.

Justin’s work in this area first started working with the government and looking at ways to share and distribution informaiton, resources, and connect with the community using social media platforms and has expanded to support public and private companies as well as government agencies.

Omnichannel it's not just creating better access, but better contribution and empowerment and has in fact, that reverberates not just through effectiveness and efficiencies and cost savings, but to culture itself in the organization. - @justinherman… Click To Tweet

Justin shared that a recent study by Twilio has found that the pandemic has actually the accelerated timeline of modernization efforts for contact center modernization and how we communicate and engage digitally. He says these changes have accelerated our adoption timeline by six years because of this.


Justin’s enthusiasm and passion really comes through in this interview. I loved when he reminded us that people are not widgets. They are able to do so much more. By providing them with access to resources, information, systems, and creating a culture that embraces this, we can do, achieve, and be more. The opportunities are limitless. Thanks Justin for a great interview.

The future of work series in partnership with PEAT is one of my favorites. Thank you to PEAT as well as our podcast sponsor Workology.

Connect with Justin Herman on LinkedIn




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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

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