As a freelance usability researcher, Jayne Schurick works for companies including Pearson, Mile7, and HomeAway. Schurick has been connected with Knowbility for more than 10 years.
It all started in December of 2006, when Schurick was living in Austin, Texas, and wanted to learn about accessibility. She met for lunch with Jim Thatcher, a computer scientist and prominent leader in digital accessibility, and he encouraged her to meet Sharron Rush, Knowbility’s Executive Director. Knowbility’s Christmas party was scheduled that same evening, and Schurick decided to stop by.
A few years later, in 2011, Schurick stepped in to help organize Knowbility’s annual John Slatin AccessU conference. Experts from around the world gather in Austin to teach courses on topics ranging from accessible social media to user experience design. The conference is held every May, but Schurick starts preparing the previous September. She works closely with Knowbility and St. Edwards University, which hosts the conference.
“John Slatin AccessU has become the go-to place for people to acquire the practical skills they need to strengthen their accessibility practice,” Sharron Rush, Executive Director of Knowbility said. “Jayne’s selection of instructors, choice of themes, and curation of class content is a large part of why this is so. I can’t imagine doing this without her.”
Volunteering for Knowbility lets Schurick fulfill her wish to help others.
“I love the work, I love Knowbility,” she said. “I love Knowbility’s mission. I like everybody that I meet in the community. I like helping Knowbility in every way that I can.”
Besides playing a critical role in setting up AccessU, Schurick helped launch and maintains Access Works, a platform that connects people with disabilities with companies looking for usability testers with disabilities. Companies pay Access Works to host their usability tests. At the same time, testers are paid for their time and feedback.
“There’s a real need for that program,” Schurick said of Access Works. “I want to see it happen. I want to see it come to fruition.”
Schurick has a master’s degree in psychology from Cal State Northridge and completed graduate work in industrial engineering at Virginia Tech. She lives with her husband, dog Luna, cats Elliot and Smokey, and four chickens in the Santa Cruz Mountains near San Francisco.