IBM names West accessibility chief

Summary:IBM named Frances West Chief Accessibility Officer to work on Big Blue's policies and practices on accessibility and collaborate with other groups.

IBM on Tuesday named Frances West its first Chief Accessibility Officer.

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West, who is currently the director of IBM Research's Human Ability and Accessibility Center, will work on Big Blue's policies and practices on accessibility and collaborate with other groups.

IBM said there are more than 1 billion people with disabilities and technology and mobile devices can broaden accessibility. It's unclear if West's role will encourage other tech vendors to add accessibility officers, a relatively new title.

The company said that it has been integrating technology like text-to-speech, voice recognition, personalization and applications to improve accessibility.

West will speak on Capitol Hill Tuesday about the passing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a United Nations Treaty aimed at defining the rights of people with disabilities.

She sits on the board of the World Institute on Disability, is a trustee at the National Braille Press and an advisor to the National Business & Disability Council. West has served on other boards of groups focused on disabilities, technology and disabilities.

Topics: CXO

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Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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