Making Tech More Accessible

Ibrahim Yusuf wearing a beanie, sweater and leather jacket seated in his wheelchair.

The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) has been dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities obtain employment for years. We aim to provide our consumers with the resources and tools needed to place them in an employment position that matches who they are, and what they love to do. Ibrahim Yusuf is the perfect example of the successful participation DOR has with its consumers. Through DOR’s extensive resources, Yusuf was able to achieve his lifelong dreams in the field of computer science, even with the physical limitations of muscular dystrophy.  

Since he was in high school, Ibrahim had been working with DOR to achieve his goals and dreams in his career path. Yusuf was able to use DOR resources and programs to order to attend college at San Jose State where he completed nine total years of academics, eventually earning a master’s degree in computer science. Ibrahim believes that pursuing a college education was the best decision that he could have made. Little did Yusuf know, his lifelong achievements were only starting to come to fruition.

After college, Ibrahim decided to fully immerse himself in the land of emerging technology in San Francisco. Having an innate talent with computer science and product technology testing, he was able to land his first few jobs as a web developer for corporate Safeway, and a product tester (QA) for TiVo and Groupon. In these roles, Yusuf was able to excel in testing, certifying, and improving immerging technology, especially in the framework of newly developing (at that time) accessibility technology. Using his own condition to help others with disabilities, Yusuf was already establishing his contribution to the disability community in the tech world.

After leaving Groupon, Yusuf worked with tech giant Google, testing new features and products of their latest technology. Yusuf became an even bigger pioneer to the his community when he was asked to be a part of a small team of employees dedicated to improving and developing new accessibility features with Google’s products. Having a hand in the early stages of “Google Glass” before its release, Yusuf was even featured in an article by Google, as the first individual with disabilities to use and test Google Glass. Yusuf helped improve many of the features that made this product disability friendly, and had an extraordinary role with Google; so much so, that he was eventually sought after by neighboring tech giant, Apple.

In 2014, Ibrahim left Google to pursue a full-time role at Apple as a member of their highly developed and active “accessibility” team. In this role, Yusuf has tested and improved many different facets of Apple’s modern-day technology, including the development and implementation of the now widely used “Voice Control” functions of Apple. Along with many other aspects of Apple’s tech, Yusuf was a main factor in the change and formulation of one of the most widely used accessibility programs in any device.

Ibrahim looks forward to prospering in Silicon Valley and continuing to be an influential contributor to the disability community’s technological amenities. He has been extremely significant to the creation, innovation, and implementation of accessibility technology widely used by individuals with disabilities. Ibrahim will undoubtedly find more ways to improve the resources of individuals with disabilities. DOR is  proud to be a part of his success and continually strives to create more successful outcomes for individuals with disabilities.