By James Teh
Today I am making a personal announcement that is bitter sweet. After a great deal of difficult deliberation, I’ve decided to move on from NV Access. NV Access, NVDA and our amazing community have been such a massive part of my life over the last 10 years – so much more than just a job – so this was not a decision I made lightly.
I’m very privileged to have been able to work full time in my dream job, making computers accessible to so many blind and vision impaired people around the world who would otherwise have missed out. Not only has it been fulfilling from that point of view, it also gave me the chance to work alongside my lifelong friend Mick Curran – the man who originally conceived the idea of developing a free screen reader. However, I’ve always said working at Mozilla would be my second dream job, and recently, an opportunity arose enabling me to make that a reality. After nearly 10 years at NV Access, I decided this was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass by.
Over the years of close collaboration, I’ve developed an increasingly strong affinity for Mozilla. The opportunity to work at Mozilla, with its rare combination of devotion to public benefit and amazing resources, is a prospect that truly excites me. As the web continues to grow in complexity and scale and as browsers evolve accordingly, we’re reaching a point where existing techniques in both browsers and assistive technology must also evolve in order to be sustainable into the future. Mozilla is a great place for me to explore and realise such possibilities. Beyond that, I am deeply passionate about the open web, and Mozilla is a great vehicle through which to help move web accessibility forward.
Although I won’t be working for NV Access or full time on NVDA, I will still be participating from the sidelines. I will remain on the NV Access Board of Directors, helping to steer and advise the organisation at a strategic level. I’ll still be using it myself, so I’ll no doubt contribute the occasional patch in my own time. But beyond that, I’ll almost certainly be contributing to NVDA as part of my work at Mozilla, especially in relation to Firefox and the web. This opens some exciting possibilities for pushing web accessibility forward in that I’ll have the ability to make changes in both Firefox and NVDA.
I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to everyone who has helped to make NVDA the world-changing project it is today. Leaving is difficult, but it’s so much easier knowing that NV Access and NVDA are in extremely competent, caring hands. Mick, Quentin and Reef are an absolutely amazing team and I’ve been super privileged to work alongside them all. Mat and Tarryn, though rarely recognised, do essential work behind the scenes on our Board helping to steer the organisation and supporting Mick and me. As always, the fantastic NVDA community continues to grow in both numbers and strength, and we’re seeing more contributions (especially code!) to the project from the community than ever before. I can’t wait to see what exciting developments are in store for this next chapter in the NVDA story.