How a Simple Browser Add-On is Changing the Way Visually Impaired People Use the Web

Meet the brains behind a powerful new tool that lets anyone contribute to making the internet a more accessible place.

Illustration by Jean Wei

It was at lunch about a year ago that Niamh Parsley first had the idea for her thesis—a tool called Depict, which could radically improve the lives of the visually impaired. She was with her husband and Joe Stretchay, his friend from high school, and she watched how Stretchay, who is blind, navigated the meal. “I noticed a few mannerisms that he had [developed] to deal with his visual impairment,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘Oh wow, he must have all these little quick fixes for a ton of things that I had just never thought of.’” She was nearing the end of her time at Parsons, earning her MFA in Design and Technology, and realized that the Internet was a place where those little fixes are nearly impossible for the visually impaired to develop.

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