Continuing the series of helping you get to know our awesome team, meet Darren Chew! Darren has recently celebrated his first birthday with us, having joined the Intopia crew in February 2019.
We sat down with Darren to ask about the highlights of his career in accessibility thus far, his career journey, and the future of Smell-O-Vision. 🙂
Tell us a bit about your work history, and what made you want to join Intopia?
I started as a graduate developer at ANZ (a few of us have worked at banks), was introduced to web usability (before we started coining terms like UX) back in 2001, then moved into the 4-person usability team. I chose to volunteer at a Deaf-Blind organisation in the CBD, and began to dive deep into the very young web accessibility world. There was lots of self-learning and experimenting back in those days. Eventually I managed the UX team at ANZ, before moving to NAB after 5 years. Over the next 7 years at NAB, I worked in several roles including as a Business Analyst, UX, CX, but predominantly in Accessibility. This is where Adem found me, or was it the other way around?
I took a break for a few years from IT to don my alter ego as ‘Handy DC’, helping solve people’s home improvement problems and repairs – for a small fee. I built decks, cleaned gutters, installed artificial turf and stuff like that. On the side, my wife and I own and run Grain and Nori, the best sushi shop in Hawthorn I say.
I joined Intopia because Adem had been hounding me for years, and there was no other way of stopping him.
What do you enjoy working on the most?
Programming my toddler to be just like me, but better.
What are the highlights of your time in accessibility so far?
Two highlights. One, through volunteering at the Deaf-Blind organisation, it dawned on me what a liberating tool the internet could be to people with disabilities. Two, when one of the applications I had worked on as a UX Designer was chosen by Vision Australia over other products, and they cited that it was due to the high level of accessibility of the product.
What’s next when it comes to achieving a world without digital barriers?
Smell-O-Vision. It’s been far too long that we’ve been unable to smell what we see on our screens.
What advice would you give those facing roadblocks with implementing accessibility / digital inclusion in their work?
Don’t lose hope. Keep at it, you’ll get there. Oh, and ask the brains-trust here at Intopia, the finest and sharpest minds around. We’re always happy to chat.
One fun random fact about yourself
My Chinese name may mean “to disperse 10,000”.
I have always wanted to learn…
How to do an ‘ollie on the skateboard, could never get it right.
In my spare time you will find me…
Creating; repairing something in my man cave; and pruning, planting and harvesting in my garden.