Blogs and articles
- Winner of Google-O’Reilly award — “Aaron has single-handedly succeeded in turning Firefox … to being the preferred accessibility solution going forward.”
- Mozilla’s executive director blogged, “Looking for more Aaron’s.”
- The Washington Post called Find As You Type, “best addition to Mozilla” (archive no longer available) … eWeek said, “coolest new feature.”
- “Aaron has a great track record of accomplishing every goal he sets for himself.”
- “Aaron’s main strengths are his concern for the end-user experience and his willingness to ‘get his hands dirty’, even in complex code.”
- “his passion and enthusiasm are infectious.”
- “He is patient and listens to any questions and tries to answer all of them.”
- “very innovative and creative” … “a great analytical thinker as well.”
- More peer review content available in hardcopy format.
See the comments below for some of my references. Excellent personal references are available upon request.
I’m the QA engineer for accessibility at Mozilla Corporation, and have worked with Aaron since the summer of 2007.
I found Aaron to be a strong leader with a clear vision while remaining open for feedback and possible change on the details, a great mentor, and a developer one can get very technical with but still get the job done swiftly. Even though he no longer actively codes in the Mozilla accessibility module, he offers very good guidance on what to concentrate on, always finding a good balance between necessary “boring bug fixing” and interesting new features.
I am a senior accessibility engineer and lead in a large computer company, and have helped lead accessibility solutions in the X Windows System space for nearly 20 years. I have worked with Aaron Leventhal for the past several years, with the main concentration being on access to Firefox and emerging web technologies such as ARIA. Aaron not only knew the Firefox accessibility implementation very well, but he also helped push and coordinate web accessibility standards and solutions across the industry and across multiple platforms.
Firefox and ARIA remain our hope for compelling accessibility to web content, and I thank Aaron for his energy, innovation, and insight in this space. Losing him will have negative impact on web accessibility — I hope someone will have the courage and foresight to help keep Aaron involved.
I’m an accessibility software architect with 12 years under my belt at the University of Toronto. My work with Aaron has ranged from investigating intricate software bugs, to strategic discussions about accessibility technology and resourcing. In all our discussions Aaron has been driven, quick, thoughtful, and open. I’m happy to be contacted to discuss ways an organization could benefit from someone rare like Aaron.
I’m director of grants and programs for the Mozilla Foundation, and have worked very closely with Aaron Leventhal on the Foundation’s grant program in support of Mozilla and web accessibility. Aaron has been an invaluable resource for the Mozilla Foundation in deciding where to focus our resources to get the maximum impact. Among other thngs, he provided great advice on viable technical strategies for web accessibility, identified promising new talent worthy of funding, done an excellent job helping to prepare proposals with and evaluate deliverables from Mozilla Foundation grantees, and has provided valued insight into the general areas of web accessibility and the assistive technology industry. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for someone to provide technical leadership in projects related yo accessibility, the web, and/or open source.
– Frank Hecker
Aaron is a champion and leader in the area of web and software accessibility. As a colleague and business partner, he has my highest recommendation. Please contact me for additional references.
I am Sun’s Accessibility Architect & a Sun Principal Engineer. I have known Aaron for nearly all of my 17 years in the field of accessibility. Throughout that time, I have been consistently impressed with Aaron: with his dedication, his passion, and with the concrete and important results of his work. Web accessibility generally and open source options for web access in particularly would not be where they are today were it not for Aaron’s tireless efforts. He has made major contributions in the code he has written, the communities he has engaged with and inspired, and the funding he brought through the Mozilla Foundation and its accessibility grant program.
I sincerely hope that Aaron finds a new “home” where he can bring all of his considerable talents, passions, and energies around accessibility to the significant remaining accessibility problems remaining in the field. And ideally, such a “home” would enable him to remain in the open source community, working on open source accessibility solutions.
I am the Digitial Accessibility Development Officer at the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the UK. I work in the area of accessibility for digital products such as software and web technologies and also participate in the development of standards internationally.
I have worked with Aaron since I became a member of the Protocol and Formats Working Group at W3C working on WAI-ARIA. However, his excellent reputation in the accessibility world preceded him and I was delighted that we would be working together. Aaron is dedicated and passionate about his work as well as being very talented and has always been there for me whenever I have sent queries and pleas for help.
Aaron has contributed to the world of accessibility in more ways than I can think
of and his work in Mozilla and on ARIA is changing the face of the internet for all people with disabilities. All I can say is that whoever gets the pleasure of working with him next will be a very lucky organisation.
It is a pleasure to recommend Aaron for a position in an organization that is committed to maximizing his technical and leadership expertise. Though I have not worked with him directly, I have watched and admired Aaron’s contributions over many years beginning with his involvement in developing MegaDots braille production software, to his work with AOL’s Netscape, through his most recent and important efforts to establish WAI-ARIA as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard for implementing interactive applications on the Web.
Aaron’s tireless enthusiasm to make access to the Web for all a reality is remarkable. Since 2001, I have been a consultant and independent contractor in a variety of roles related to standards development and Web accessibility testing. In my experience, what makes Aaron unique in the field is his comprehensive vision for the future. Not only is he able to develop code and lead projects, but he also never loses sight of all of the target audiences he seeks to help, including developers, assistive technology vendors, and end-users. The organization that has the foresight to hire Aaron and capitalize on his wide-ranging skills and abilities will have a valuable team player who is dedicated to improving digital information access for all.
Until recently I chaired the Protocols and Formats Working Group in W3C/WAI where WAI-ARIA is being standardized.
Clearly we owe the “vision thing” for WAI-ARIA to Rich Schwerdtfeger. He framed the strategy for the project, and sold it to IBM for funding and to W3C for a vendor-neutral venue. But the single thing that Rich most got *right* was to get IBM to hire Aaron to Do It — our Functional Demonstration Model — in Mozilla.
Rich understood the need to afford access to rich internet applications in a way that would be a lightweight change to the work habits of web developers. I understood that this task was in line with the W3C mission to “lead the Web to its full potential,” and how to bend the W3C Process to this task.
But in the end, when the time came to answer “Where’s the Beef?” we would have been empty-handed, spouting ideas about what could be done, were it not for Aaron.
Aaron had the hands-on of the Mozilla code to show it could work. He had the concrete knowledge of what browser and AT developers are up against to resolve design issues. And through it all he remained open-minded, always listening for another idea that could improve the product.
I could add his quiet effectiveness in reaching out to the developers of other browsers, and so on and so on. Let me make this short as follows:
WAI-ARIA is both essential accessibility infrastructure and complex platform-technology architecture. Aaron Leventhal has been very, very good for this enterprise that I had the privilege to supervise. I fully expect that the next enterprise to which he applies his talents will be similarly fortunate.
I am a Senior Accessibility Program Manager at Yahoo!, the largest and one of the most influential web portals on the Internet. Innovating with various web technologies is the key to everything we do and accessibility of web 2.0 applications is the big part of that innovation. Making rich Internet interfaces accessible would hardly be possible without ARIA technology and people, like Aaron Leventhal, who fought at every step of the way to make it as practically useful as possible for web development community at large.
I have been partnering with Aaron on various projects since 2003 and can assure any potential employer that you would be hiring a very pragmatic, knowledgable, forward-thinking, hard-working and easy-going person all in one. Good luck!
I’ve worked with Aaron over the past few years in IBM’s accessibility architecture group. From the first day I met him it was clear that our group was especially blessed to have Aaron on the team. When I was developing the IAccessible2 API his understanding of ATK/AT-SPI and MSAA was especially helpful in harmonizing IAccessible2 with AT-SPI and in IAccessible2’s co-operating with MSAA. Aaron also has a world class understanding of the needs of the AT user as well as the needs of the application developer implementing MSAA, IAccessible2, and ATK. As a result of this knowledge, coupled with his personal skills of communication, organization, leadership, motivation, and team work across globally diverse teams, Aaron’s teams have been very successful as can be seen in the level of accessibility in Firefox, and also in Lotus Symphony as a result of his influence on the IAccessible2 specification.
Senior Software Engineer
IBM Software Group
Accessibility Architecture and Development
I’ve known Aaron through my work at RNIB as Senior Web Accessibility Consultant and at Opera Software as a Web Evangelist.
Aaron has contributed massively to making accessibility more mainstream and furthering the WAI ARIA specification. His work on Codetalks and community efforts have been an inspiration to many and I firmly believe 2009 will be the year that WAI ARIA starts to appear in mainstream websites and this is in part due to his efforts. While his work has been attached to the Mozilla Foundation what he has done has and is helping browsers across the board.
I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending him.
I’m the CEO of Benetech, one of the leading nonprofit tech organizations in Silicon Valley and the operator of Bookshare.org, the large digital library for people with print disabilities. I have known and worked with Aaron for more than a decade, and see him as one of the top technical minds in our field. He has extraordinary dedication to seeing technology fully serve people with disabilities, a mission we share.
I’m the Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation. I’ve worked with Aaron in the Mozilla project for many years. Aaron is a self-starter – dedicated, determined and creative. Aaron is not afraid to take on big challenges, and to push himself to learn in order to meet those challenges. Aaron almost single-handedly moved Mozilla onto a strong, sustainable accessibility path, which required techical chops, vision and leadership. At Mozilla we rely on Aaron’s judgment across a wide range of accessibility topics, valuing the rare combination of talents he brings.
Please contact email@example.com for more references, or if you would prefer to communicate directly with one of my colleagues.