Beyond Barriers with Jen

Beyond Barriers - An Accessibility Podcast - with Jen Devins - UX Director of Google Accessibility

In our recent episode of "Beyond Barriers," we discuss accessibility with Jen Devins, the UX Director at Google. This conversation highlights the transformative power of accessibility in technology and its impact on user experiences.

A Journey of Deep Importance

While she's always been passionate about improving user experience, her perspective really changed when she watched her father struggle with Parkinson's disease. This highlighted the limitations of current technology and sparked her commitment to inclusivity. "I'm not the voice of all users," Jen realized, motivating her to improve accessibility at Google.

Her role focuses on making Google’s products inclusive, shifting the emphasis from mere compliance to enriching user experiences. "Our goal is to ensure our products are truly inclusive, not just compliant," Jen states.

Universal Design

Jen champions the concept of "universal design," which improves products for all users. Enhancing screen reader compatibility and keyboard navigation are just a few adjustments that benefit everyone. "Inclusive design is just good design," she emphasizes.

Jen vouched for the integration of accessibility evaluation into the fabric of product development. By considering diverse user needs from the onset, products can be developed to be more intuitive and user-friendly.

Institutionalizing Accessibility

Google integrates accessibility evaluation into all levels of the organization. A centralized team sets standards, ensuring accessibility compliance is a key part of product development. "Without a centralized center of excellence, it's challenging to maintain consistent accessibility standards," Jen explains.

Accessibility is All About User Experience

Jen explains how it's not just about building accessible tools; it's about reshaping all experiences to be more inclusive. "There’s no such thing as an average user," Jen often reminds her team, pushing them to consider a wide array of user experiences in their designs.

AI and Accessibility

Jen sees AI as a transformative force in accessibility, enhancing assistive technologies and personalizing user experiences. However, she cautions, "We need to ensure AI solutions are accessible and equitable, preventing potential biases."


Jen emphasizes the need to broaden the impact of accessibility initiatives. Accessibility conformance should enhance the user experience for everyone, not just meet standards. "Accessibility is not just a feature; it's a fundamental aspect of design," Jen concludes.

Jen's parting thought resonates deeply: "Accessibility is not just a feature; it's a fundamental aspect of design." This philosophy underpins her work and advocacy, pushing the boundaries of what technology can achieve for all users.

Through her story and insights, Jen Devins exemplifies how a deep commitment to accessibility can lead to broader innovations in design, ultimately making technology more inclusive and effective for everyone.

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