The Center for Hearing and Communication announced today that Apple is being awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for its “major strides in creating accessible technology for people with disabilities.” The award was first noted by reporter Steven Aquino on Twitter.

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Accepting the Eleanor Roosevelt Award on Apple’s behalf is Sarah Herrlinger, the company’s senior director of global accessibility policy and initiatives. Herrlinger will be presented the award tonight at the Center for Hearing and Communication’s “Transforming Lives” event in New York City.

In an interview with the Center for Hearing and Communication, Herrlinger explained that accessibility is a “core” to how Apple designs and builds its products. She added that the company’s goal is to create “great products” for everyone, not just some people:

It’s been core to how we design and build our products from the very beginning. Our goal is to make great products that empower all of us — not just some of us. It stems from a belief that we all have something unique and special to share with the world.

Our products should reduce barriers so you can do just that, regardless of ability. This work is never done. But it’s exactly the kind of design and engineering challenge Apple was built for.

One interesting tidbit Herrlinger touched on is how every Apple store has an “audio kit complete with portable induction loop” to make its Today at Apple sessions, and Genius Bar appointments more accessible to everyone. Further, customers who need ASL interpreters can schedule to have one available during their visit.

“Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Retail, and our retail team have done an incredible job of evolving the Apple store experience so that we play an even bigger role in bringing the community together to create, learn, and discover,” Herrlinger said.

Herrlinger’s full interview with the Center for Hearing and Communication can be read here.


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