About Shakti Collective

Shakti Collective Goals

We created this collective to share the knowledge within accessibility through storytelling.

We also aim to influence and inspire more professionals in the technology field to adopt accessibility practices and create an inclusive work environment.

Origin

Nandita is a purple plaid shirt, smiling at the camera

As someone who identifies as a person with a disability, Nandita founded the Shakti Collective to highlight and showcase the power of storytelling in digital accessibility.

The idea was conceived during her journey within accessibility, where she wanted to connect with other people within the field to learn more about their stories. It started with one conversation, and as she spoke to more people within the field, she realized that there was a need to provide an accessible platform where people could learn about the work others were doing within digital accessibility and create connections within the community.

“Leadership is not only about leading a team—sometimes it means being a voice for others who are not being heard.” – Nandita

She wants this collective to be a platform for people to be heard, and hopefully, inspire more people to speak up and take up the mantle to push the limits for inclusion and empower everyone through technology!

What’s the problem?

According to the CDC, 26% of the population identifies with some form of a disability and there is a huge need for more accessibility professionals globally. While there are various resources out there, including implementation and education-based resources, there is a lack of social and people-based resources around accessibility practice.

This project started as a Masters’ Thesis Project at Georgia Institute of Technology, where Nandita is completing her Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction. We believed that interactions with allies and team members influenced people’s ability to work on accessibility practices. Our hypothesis was that there is a need for more people-based resources to share knowledge with UX practitioners and related tech workers through storytelling.

Screenshot showing a Qualtrics survey with questions and the Georgia Tech logo

Research

We conducted qualitative research through semi-structured interviews with various UX professionals in the technology industry. These interviews probed into past experiences of these professionals and we uncovered various insights.

Insight on People: Allies and team members around accessibility influenced people’s ability to work on accessibility practices. They found these interactions valuable.

Insight on Motivation: Negative experiences and detractors around implementing accessibility practices influence people’s motivation towards working on accessibility practices.

Insight on Confidence: Users’ confidence on integrating accessibility practices into their current workflow was influenced by prior knowledge and practical and educational experiences. 

Thus, based on those conversations, we saw the need for people-based resources and the idea of this collective was formed.

Video

This video visually demonstrates the need for the Shakti Collective followed by a demonstration of the website.

Video discussing the Shakti Collective and the overall project goals and needs.