Navigating office environments can be a challenge for workers with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities. As a result, the unemployment rate within the disabled community is extraordinarily high. Some studies have suggested that unemployment rate within the blind community, for example, may be as high as 75 percent.
Lexmark is committed to doing its part to eliminate barriers to workplace success-barriers like printing or scanning a document.
We apply the principles of universal design to the design of our products with the goal of delivering accessible imaging devices and assistive software solutions that allow all office workers to make the most of their unique skills and abilities in the workplace.
Lexmark has defined processes and methodologies that help us ensure our products and solutions are increasingly accessible.
As we develop products and solutions, we seek input from customers with disabilities to better understand their unique needs and challenges, and then incorporate their ideas and feedback into our designs.
We refer to guidance provided by current and developing standards and directives that prescribe best practices in the development of office equipment, software solutions and communications. Section 508 of the United States Rehabilitation Act, the European Union’s Mandate 376 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (W3C) are just a few of the many standards we reference.
Lexmark’s Accessibility Cross-Functional Team has established relationships with accessible design experts and accessibility analysts including the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Foundation for the Blind (NFB). Our product designers and software developers apply insight acquired through consultations with these experts to the design of future products and solutions.
To increase awareness of accessibility challenges and inspire innovation, Lexmark hosts education seminars and lunch-and-learn sessions on the topic of accessibility.
In 2011, Lexmark hosted a Design for Accessibility Seminar that educated the engineering community about the need for accessible design, and featured a speaker who talked about the need for accessible office equipment at his business. The seminar also featured representatives from Wounded Warriors, a non-profit organization that helps wounded veterans return to the civilian workforce; a local organization that provides assistive technology to school-age children; and a Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist (CPO) who demonstrated the use of prosthetic devices and discussed the challenges of using prosthetics with imaging devices and other office equipment.
In 2012, Lexmark hosted an education session on socially beneficial innovation featuring Dr. Mario Romero, former Director of the Georgia Institute of Technology Child Study Laboratory. Dr. Romero discussed accessibility challenges, the need for assistive technologies and his development of solutions including BrailleTouch, an eyes-free text entry application for multipoint touch-screen smartphones and tablets.
At Lexmark, we’ve made accessibility a key marker in every phase of our product development process. To further ensure that we meet our goals, we have established a cross-functional committee to manage and oversee our accessibility initiatives. As a result, we’ve been able to incorporate a number of helpful features into our products.
In 2011, the American Foundation for the Blind awarded Lexmark an Access Award for the Lexmark Accessibility Solution, saying "We congratulate Lexmark for taking the initiative to create this access solution in a product category where there are few options for accessibility.”