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Interview with Molly Watt

by | Jul 23, 2021 | Interviews,

Molly Watt

Molly Watt

Speaker, Accessibility & UX consultant at Molly Watt Talks

Key Topics:Accessibility, accessible design, inclusion, technology, digital & inclusive design, disability, diversity, deafness, blindness, deaf-blindness
Location:United Kingdom
Molly is 26 years old and has a condition called Usher Syndrome, which causes deaf-blindness and has no cure. She is director of Molly Watt Talks, a usability and accessibility consulting group, and co-founder of the Molly Watt Trust, a non-profit helping to raise awareness about Usher Syndrome and provide access to technology. Molly now works part time in Nexer Digital's design team in the UK, as an accessibility and usability specialist Molly is a motivational speaker, author and illustrator of 2 children's books and avid blogger. She is an advocate and ambassador of both GN Resound and Sense, a national deaf-blind charity in the UK. Using her negative experiences to make a positive difference to others, Molly is proud to have spoken at the Houses of Parliament, Harvard Medical School, Apple Campus, Camp Digital, Spotify, ASOS, Atos, the BBC, the NHS and for private audiologists around the UK. Her passion is accessibility and the use of assistive technology to enable and enhance the lives of people living with life-changing conditions.
Molly recently featured in Onalytica's Diversity & Inclusion report.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

My own personal story living with a disability. Working with technology from personal experiences and using my end user experience to help consult and design better experiences for accessibility and inclusion.

What sub-topics are you most passionate about?

User experience (UX) Design, Content design. Vlogging and blogging my experiences. Mentoring others.

Who influences you within these topics?

I am a big advocate for Apple and their products. Their built in accessibility features are the very reason I have been able to run both a charity and company as well as just living day to day life as a deaf-blind person.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

Misinterpretations on what accessible design is or who/ what their users are. The risk of ableism when recruiting people with disabilities or advertising they build accessible services and digital products when they haven’t fully understood their users. Lack of training and awareness.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

The world of technology is constantly innovating which is fab. But that means we all have to move with the timed and always find room for improvement / listen to your users, involve your users and be open minded when creating and designing services and digital products. EVERYTHING is digital now, let’s take advantage of that in the best possible way by designing for a more inclusive society. This includes taking a hard look at ourselves and re evaluating a lot of attitudes and understanding we have all made and will make mistakes, but so long as we learn from them, that is okay.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

Apple. Microsoft. AbilityNet. Atos, Twitter.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

Speaking opportunities – talking about the importance of designing accessible, inclusive services and/or digital products. A chance for me to speak from my experiences as a deaf-blind person who relies on technology. Break down stereotypes that surround disability and even demo how I and many others use technology today.
Consult and/or audit your website for accessibility. Test using the tools I use and advise on areas where there are room for improvement – again, SHOW people how and why these design patterns aren’t easy to use, etc.
Happy to partake in podcasts, be interviewed, anything to help spread word and educate etc etc.

What are your passions outside of work?

Drawing. Music. Dogs. Travelling, seeing news places and experiencing new cultures. Family.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

Via email.

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