During my career thus far, I was lucky to have been employed at Apple INC for around 24 months. This piece will talk about the reasons I decided to resign of my own volition and chose voluntary redundancy in the end and where the firm can improve internal tools especially for blind people working in tech support.
Apple’s Accessibility Statement
There is no doubt that Apple is 100% committed to accessibility and this is very true of the company’s products. I still remember getting my first iPhone and being delighted at how magical the experience was. Before the advent of the iPhone, blind people had to purchase often expensive third-party software that had to be put on Nokia phones. Not only was this approach not a great cx notion, but you could forget about complex disabilities like dyslexia.
Where is the problem as it relates to employment?
Imagine you are a blind employee working in tech support as an At Home Apple-Care tech advisor. One of the main tools used is ARA. This stands for) Apple Remote assistant). It’s used to remote into a customer’s iOS or Mac-OS device via way of your Apple ID. Sadly by design, The person, in this case, you as the blind worker cannot control the Mac or iPad-OS machine. This is very disgraceful on the part of Apple. It often meant I was not able to meet the same KPI targets as my sighted colleagues. Compared to Microsoft’s MSDT, Quick Assist, JAWS Tandem, Or NVDA remote, Apple’s implementation leaves a lot to be desired.
One of the most frustrating aspects of my time there was the fact that feedback sent to management regarding this issue was either ignored or ended up falling by the wayside.
This is one of the reasons why I personally will never be applying to work at the firm ever again.
The outlook as a customer
I won’t be leaving the Apple Garden any time soon. I have every single product the company makes and many of my professional contacts use Apple. Furthermore, My Enterprise depends on both Apple software and hardware to maximise return on investment. I will say however that the company should take an inordinate look at current technical support tools and methodologies. I haven’t even mentioned iTunes for Windows and why Apple has discontinued iTunes for Mac-OS whilst paying very little attention to its customers who have a disability but might prefer the workflow of a Windows pc and an iOS device.
The state of web apps like iCloud on the web if a screen reader like JAWS for Windows is used?
Why when iTunes for Windows is mentioned Apple will say “It’s not our problem, you need to contact your screen reader manufacturer?”
If they were so committed to accessibility, they would take a more proactive stance with some of these issues.
I’ve raised all the above with apple both internally whilst I was there and as a customer. Unfortunately, unless some serious overhaul isn’t done, Apple will slip in terms of being the recommended employer for people with a disability. As a major company, your actions should correlate with your words all the time. I have stopped pushing Apple’s accessibility and inclusion message to my friends and professional contacts until these systemic problems are fixed. To be frank there are many other organisations where feedback is listened to and essential systems to do one’s job work as intended. In an area where under employment or total lack of a job is very prevalent, Apple can and should do better if it expects us to take the companies vision that “Accessibility is a fundamental human-right” to heart.