Class of 2019

Darren Burton profile picture

Darren Burton

Online accessibility expert

“Mentoring has been a huge part of my career, both as a mentor and a mentee. I cannot say enough about the people who mentored me as I first recovered from losing my eyesight and began my new odyssey as a blind person. Meeting successful blind people and seeing how they made their way inspired me to make my own way.

Then as I began my career, both blind and sighted mentors paved what was often a bumpy road. As my successes began to bear fruit, I realized that I was also mentoring other blind and disabled people along the way, and seeing their successes was often more fulfilling than my own successes. When I retired from Yahoo, a long line of non-disabled colleagues thanked me, and it was very emotional to realize that I had inadvertently mentored them too. Several told me that not only did they learn how to build products that were accessible to people with disabilities, but they learned to live a more purposeful and dignified life.”

We are proud to induct Darren Burton into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Darren Burton retired in June 2018 after a 25-year career working to further the independence and capabilities of people with disabilities, a career focused mainly on improving the accessibility of modern technology. His retirement life has focused on taking care of family ad mentoring young people with disabilities, and he still does consulting with Silicon Valley tech companies on occasion.

He ended his full –time career after a 4-year stint as an Accessibility Specialist at the Internet giant Yahoo, where he focused on mobile app accessibility and teaching Yahoo designers and developers about how to build products that are accessible to everyone.

In 2014, Darren Burton was the Director of AFB Tech at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB.) Darren joined AFB in 2002, coordinating its AFB Tech product evaluation lab, where consumer electronics and medical devices are evaluated for accessibility to people who are blind or visually impaired. He also headed up AFB Consulting, AFB’s consulting arm that helps industry make their products and services more accessible for people with vision loss. He led AFB Tech’s efforts to design accessible apps for mobile devices, and trains professionals in the use of Apple’s iOS and Android mobile devices. In addition to his technology-related work, he also advised and participated in AFB’s CareerConnect mentoring program. Burton was the first blind person to use VoiceOver, the revolutionary screen reader software for Apple’s iOS mobile platform, and advised on the development of that software.

Burton used assistive technology extensively while earning his business administration degree, and in the process, he started his own consulting business to train blind people to use computers, and to spread awareness of assistive technology and other blindness issues. In 1998, he took a position as senior program coordinator for the West Virginia Assistive Technology System, housed at West Virginia University (WVU). He also taught an assistive technology class for the Vision Itinerant Teachers program at WVU and Marshall University Graduate College, and he set up an accessible courtroom for a blind magistrate in West Virginia.

Burton traveled extensively to give presentations at various conferences and in educational and industrial settings. Topics range from lectures on assistive technology for disabled people to accessible Internet web page design to discussions of AFB Tech’s product evaluations.

Burton received a B.A. in Business Administration from West Virginia University in 1997.