Each member of our team is passionate about the role we play in making a positive impact in
the community. Learn more about the people behind the passion and what makes them proud
to be part of the work we do.
Hi, my name is Larry. I live in Torquay. Outside of work I enjoy doing programming side-projects. I’m a big music fan and coffee lover. I’m pretty interested in history, so I like listening to history podcasts.
What is your role at the Information Access Group?
I am the team leader of innovation, tech and web. I manage my team which includes Laura, Shannon and Hilary. I manage the tech and web aspects of the business – helping our clients learn about accessibility and making their products more accessible. I also help our wider team learn about accessibility.
We’ve had so much growth in the business in the last year or so and it’s been great to see people come in and learn about accessibility. You see that light bulb moment when people realise how important accessibility is and the potential for what technology can do when accessibility is front of mind.
This is my first job out of uni. I started at the Information Access Group as an administration assistant. A lot of my life has been here at the Information Access Group. I’ve been lucky enough to work at a place that has helped me to grow in my role and pursue the things that interest me and make me feel fulfilled in my job.
What do you find most rewarding about the work you do at the Information Access Group?
The thing that I come back to around accessibility is the potential of technology and the internet to change people’s lives. So much of the joy, creativity and exploring of the world that the internet opens up to people – I’ve been able to benefit from that as a person without disability. But when you learn about accessibility, you realise that there are certain barriers that are stopping that potential from reaching everyone. I think if we can push for accessibility in our society there’s more of a possibility of that potential for everyone, especially people who traditionally have barriers. Those little wins can be so much bigger.
The stuff I get to work on for our internal team – the editors and designers and marketing team – the more I can do to make their lives easier and help them to do work that they’re proud of – I think that’s as rewarding as doing stuff for the community. The internal aspect gets me out of bed in the morning just as much.
Can you tell us about a client project you’ve worked on that you are proud of?
The client project that comes to mind straight away is the ‘What Do You Think’ project for Association for Children with Disability (ACD), which was designing and developing a survey platform specifically for children with disability. When organisations are trying to gather data, it’s usually the parents who are filling out surveys and doing the paperwork. ACD wanted to make a platform that is directly targeted at children with disability to help them have their say. I was really proud of the design work that Shannon, Annie and Renee did on that project and really proud of how that came through in the final product.
There were a couple of technical challenges that were tricky to get around. For example, allowing the user to record their voice to answer a question and upload an image so they can draw their answer. Those sorts of things were not possible if they were using a different survey platform. We got to combine the accessible design with technical functionality that I think made the end product better for the user.
Who’s your favourite artist or genre of music to play, while working on client projects?
Traditionally I’ve been a rock and punk music fan. But just recently, in the last 2 months, I’ve been getting more into electronic music. I’m a big fan of going to Meredith Music Festival and Golden Plains and have been getting a little bit more into the electronic music side. I’ve been listening to Four Tet quite a lot recently.
Is there an innovative internal project you’ve worked on that you are proud of?
Easy Read HTML (webpages) is something that I’ve been developing for a few years now. Traditionally, documents are published as PDF documents online. A few years ago, I developed an initial tool for our team to take our working files and create an HTML version that would be easier for people to use. For example, people who use assistive technology but also people who use mobile devices as the content reflows based on the size of the screen. I’ve been really proud of how we’ve been nudging our clients towards publishing documents as HTML.
We know that it’s the most accessible way to publish information online. The most recent addition to the HTML product is the ‘listen’ function. We generate an audio version of the content and when the user clicks the ‘listen’ button, it plays the audio and highlights the text as it reads it out.
We’re really excited about the potential for other ways we can improve the user experience of Easy Read content on the web outside of PDF documents. We know that technology and the world move fast, so you always need to be exploring new ideas that are going to make information easier to use in the future.
What does a day in the life of Larry look like?
Now that I’m living in Torquay, I’ve been going for a walk along the beach pretty much every morning. I've been loving that as a morning thing to do to clear the mind. A day for me includes quite a bit of coffee. I’ve got quite a hectic, nerdy coffee set up because I used to make coffee at my dad’s café while I was studying at uni. I still weigh the coffee beans before I put them in the machine. I love doing the coffee thing.
My day includes keeping up with web development – reading blogs and chat rooms where people are talking about web development. I probably haven’t got the work and life balance thing sorted, but they’re the sorts of thing I’m interested in. I’m also a big music fan and always trying to find new stuff to listen to.
At work, a typical day includes checking in with the team. I sometimes share knowledge, either with clients to help them on their accessibility journey, or with the team like recording a video to show them things. Some days I might be working on a web development project or helping the team with things they are working on or getting them trained up.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I don’t think I ever had a certain occupation in mind. But from the age of 5 or 6, whenever there was a computer around, I’d be playing on it. I’d be addicted to playing on the computer. So, I feel like I’ve achieved my life goal in making a career out of playing on the computer. I’ve always loved how computers work and how technology works and gadgets and that sort of thing. I guess I’ve found a good niche of a little bit of play, in terms of the experimenting and innovation side. But I think working in the accessibility space is the best possible use of those talents, because you get to work on things that really improve people’s lives.