M. Nicholas Hoyt
Excellence in Access & Accommodations Award
2022 Larine Y. Cowan Make A Difference Award
M. Nicholas Hoyt was the 2022 winner of the Larine Y. Cowan Excellence in Access & Accommodations Award. Hoyt is a software development and interaction design specialist for Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES). Hoyt is recognized for his dedicated professional activity to the development of tools that assist in the creation of accessible electronic information. This award honors individuals or campus units for their efforts to expand and improve the utilization of programs and structures by persons with disabilities
Hoyt has served in his current capacity for the past 17 years. He led the software development, user interface design and interaction design of the Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE) 1.0 and 1.1 and AInspector for Firefox 1.0. In addition to these projects, Nicholas was the lead designer and developer of the Accessibility Bookmarklets, the A11yFirst Plugins for CKEditor 4, the SkipTo Landmarks & Headings browser extension for Firefox and Chrome and the Page Structure extension for Firefox.
Nicholas received his B.A. with Distinction in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1991, after beginning his studies in computer science at Harvard Extension School in Cambridge, MA. He also studied music performance, arranging and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and has had a lifelong interest in psychology and philosophy. Hoyt has developed several useful accessibility tools since the time that I’ve known him. Over the past few years, Hoyt was instrumental in the development of the AInspector WCAG for FireFox plugin, a valuable tool that aids in the creation of accessible websites that conform to current digital accessibility standards and guides developers to learn more about web accessibility in the process. The AInspector tool is utilized by many web developers across the Illinois system, and as a publicly downloadable add-on for the FireFox web browser, it’s reach extends far beyond the university. On the Illinois Campus, AInspector has become one of the primary tools of web accessibility for evaluators and developers.