Richard Orme: My Journey to Improve Access and Technologies

Richard Orme, the new CEO of the DAISY Consortium who started in May 2015, shared his background and aspirations at the DAISY Board Meeting in Paris:

Photograph of Richard Orme

After 25 years working in different roles in technology and disability, I am 3 weeks into my latest dream job! My first experience of accessible reading solutions was when working with a blind farmer, a student at a college where I was teaching. My job was to support his access to study materials. We used some of the earliest talking technology to read about animal feeds and pig breeding!

After teaching young students with physical disabilities at another college, I joined RNIB where I worked for over 20 years. My roles included software developer, technical consultant to government departments and companies, as well as planning and developing technology services across the UK. As Head of Accessibility, I led RNIB’s programmes to improve access to technology, television and eBooks, and developed strong engagements with technology companies such as Apple, Amazon, Adobe, and Microsoft.

I was vice-chair of the UK Right to Read Alliance, a group of 18 organisations concerned with accessible reading. Together with Dyslexia Action I led the development of the UK accessible curriculum platform, Load2Learn, which RNIB is now taking to another level.

For the last two years I have worked at Dolphin, a long-time DAISY Friend and Developer. With Dolphin I experienced life in a small commercial company with customers all around the world. I've also continued to volunteer for RNIB as a home visitor, for a small local blindness charity as a board member, and in a small way for Bookshare. All of these have given me new perspectives that I hope will be helpful in leading a consortium comprised of a diverse range of stakeholders.

This is a great time to join the organisation. George is staying around, so I'll have his support, wisdom and guidance. Since I started three weeks ago I have met with many of the staff and board members. I been in contact with several friends and associate members. I want to thank you all for such a warm welcome.

I’m joining a talented team of staff and member organisations, who are hungry to ensure more people get the best access to reading, and friends who are creating innovative solutions to give our customers more choices. In summary, I'm thrilled to be here among you all. I am looking forward to two days of stimulating discussion, and working with you all in the future.