Accessibility in the Voice First Era


Presented at 4:00pm in Virtual D on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.



  • Mark Greenfield, Web Accessibility Officer, University at Buffalo

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 45 minutes
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Voice Technology including voice assistants like Alexa and Siri has the potential to drastically improve web and digital accessibility. During this presentation I will be show how Voice Technology can be the catalyst to move away from the outdated medical model of disability to the much more inclusive social model of disability.


Voice Technology, including voice assistants like Alexa, Bixby, Google Assistant, and Siri, combined with smart speakers and other voice enabled devices, represents the next great paradigm shift in user interfaces. As technology continues to evolve beyond the web to artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and mixed reality, Voice will become the natural and most intuitive way to interact with the digital world. Voice Technology has the potential to dramatically improve accessibility by removing the physical and cognitive barriers in the current keyboard and screen interfaces that are currently the norm. In this forward thinking talk, Mark will explore how voice technology can dramatically improve web and digital accessibility and provide guidance and recommendations on accessibility best practices in voice user interfaces.


  1. Voice technology represents a major paradigm shift in user interfaces
  2. Voice can be the catalyst to move to the social model of disability
  3. Voice can address a number of accessibility challenges

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Assistive Technology, Institutional/Campus Change, Research, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Mark Greenfield

Mark Greenfield has worked at the University at Buffalo (UB) for 35 years in a variety of technology related roles. He currently serves as the Web Accessibility Officer providing central oversight, technical expertise and guidance, leadership and vision to support campus accessibility efforts. Mark has also served as a visiting instructor in UB’s former School of Informatics, teaching a graduate level course on web accessibility. His research interests include accessibility, inclusive design, emerging technologies, social media, the Millennial Generation and their use of technology, and the impact of globalization and technology on the academy.

Mark is also an experienced consultant and an award winning speaker who is known for his thoughtful vision of the future of the web and technology on college campuses. He is very active in the higher education web community serving on numerous boards and committees.