Accessibility And Inclusion In Voice
The Future is Spoken presents Marco Pasqua as this week's guest.
Marco Pasqua was born on July 4, 1985, weighing only 2 pounds 10 ounces and was 3 months premature; he would later be diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. When he was only 10 years old, Marco was invited to be the ambassador/host of the Timmy’s Christmas Telethon with local radio legend Red Robinson. This was his first opportunity to speak in front of a large audience; it was then that he realized the impact that words can have but he had no idea that this would later turn into his career.
He went in pursuit of a career in technology and after graduating from the Art Institute of Vancouver, he spent 5 years in the video game industry. During the recession of 2010, he lost his job, which turned out to be the biggest blessing in disguise. Marco decided it was time to use his voice to make a positive impact on the world, so he built his own brand as a professional speaker and entrepreneur. Throughout his life, Marco has been involved with a number of organizations as a spokesperson, helping to spread advocacy for persons with disabilities across Canada.
As an entrepreneur, Marco has remained focused on social impact and has helped to build brands such as Reality Controls, Rick Hansen's online community, "Planat" and Hunky Haulers. Some of his most memorable talks include TEDxStanleyPark, The United Way as an impact speaker and The Duke of Edinburgh Awards. In 2013, he was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Self-Employment and Entrepreneur Development Society and was recognized in 2016 as a “Paul Harris Fellow” by Rotary International. Other nominations include BC Businesses' Top 30 under 30 award, Notable.ca‘s award in Personal Branding and Coast Mental Health’s Courage to Come Back Award in the category of Rehabilitation. Advocating for universal design and inclusion is among his passions.
This work has led him to consult with municipalities & business leaders on inclusive employment strategies for people with disabilities, including the Province of BC's employment advisory committee the Presidents Group. Marco is motivated to speak because he's seen firsthand the power that a positive outlook can have on changing others perceptions. He knows he may not be as physically able as some individuals, but has been given a voice. With his voice, he's learned that success in business should not purely be based on financial transactions. It is the human interactions that matter most, and he continues to show this through his message.
Starting with their own experiences, they end up discussing the act of accessibility and inclusion in Voice Design.
Tune in Now!
[00:02:11]: 2008 Lay off which lead to a career in Accessibility
- Learn Marco's journey from the video game industry to evangelizing Accessibility.
- During the 2010 recession, losing job opened new avenues for Marco in the world of accessibility expert, public speaking and entrepreneurship.
[00:06:06] LIKE Venture and Marco's Journey towards building an accessible future
- Marco talks about LIKE Ventures all virtual Accessibility conference scheduled for October 14th
- Discusses ways to make online events and conferences accessible for everyone
[00:13:02] Accessibility and Meaning Access are two different things
- Marco explains Accessibility is not about making different products for different people and making one that everyone can use.
- Marco's interesting example for explaining difference between accessibility and meaningful access:
"for example, for a building to have a ramp outside a door and then say, Oh, people can get inside the front door. Right. But then ask yourself, where is that ramp located? Is it actually at the front door or is it at the back of the building near a trash can or near the dumpster? So that you're saying, well, by the way, we have accessibility, but it means that you have to come through a different entrance, but thats ok.
Right. Because you're just like everybody else. No meaningful access is when every single person who's expected to use a product or service can use it in exactly the way it's intended without having to feel like they have to adapt themselves to meet the function of the product. But rather that the product is already thinking about how everyone, whether you're nine or 90 can use it."
[00:18:22]: Accessibility by Design
- Marco explains Accessibility is always an afterthought for many
- Accessibility is more of a money minting machine for the government
- He explains how there is a lack of accessibility awareness with many companies and individuals
[00:23:04]: Making Voice Application more accessible
- Knowing user personal circumstances and preferences how we can make voice interactions more accessible
- Using dialogues and conversation design how we can make show empathy and guide disabled users
[00:45:11]: Must Listen
- How Voice technology is helping Marco prepare for the arrival of his baby
Learn more about Marco at
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Follow Shyamala Prayaga at @sprayaga