Nell Chitty is a Digital Media and Design Specialist with Strategic Public and Employee Communications at the City of Toronto where she specializes in accessible digital document design and media. She is the accessibility contact for Strategic Communications’s Innovation Working Group, was a member for the Employee Disabilities Network steering committee during its inaugural year, and has represented the City as a guest speaker at the Elevate Tech Fest and the University of Guelph’s Accessibility Conference.
Nell is on the organizing team behind #a11yTO, one of the largest digital accessibility Meetup groups in the world! #a11yTO holds regular Meetups, an annual camp, and three conference in Toronto, now part of #a11yTO Week. She has also volunteered as a guest teaching assistant for the AODA certification at Ryerson University where she shared her passion for accessibility with students.
Nell became interested in inclusive and accessible design while witnessing the accommodations and lifestyles changes her family members made to adjust to their aging eyesight. This prompted Nell to dedicate her fourth year Bachelor of Design thesis in Fashion Communications at Ryerson University to designing a typeface for people with vision loss.
After working in the Montreal fashion industry within sales and marketing, Nell returned to Toronto to pursue her Master of Design in Inclusive Design in the program’s first cohort at OCAD University. Nell researched areas relating to art, design, and disability while studying how we can create more inclusive digital environments for individuals’ unique needs.
As part of her Master’s at OCAD, Nell’s Major Research Project (MRP) looked at how designers can reduce user fatigue through changes in the visual user interface of eye controlled computers. Her MRP was completed in 2013.
Nell is active on social media and as a photographer documenting her interest in travel, nature, food, and culture. She sits on the organizing committee for the Friends of St James Park where she is active in her local community. While Nell has had to take a step back from public speaking and reduce the amount of volunteer work she takes on since becoming a new mom, she looks forward to continuing her work in the field of accessibility by working within policy, technology, and design.