Nicki Rios (she/her), CPWA


Nicki Rios

As a business owner and lead accessibility engineer, I've worn a lot of different hats to accomplish various goals. I'm innovative, resourceful, and know how to get things done. I'm incredibly organized, am able to strategize and break down complex goals into manageable tasks, and am not shy about finding the right people in an organization to start important conversations, all while showing my passion for what I do.

I'm certified by the IAAP with their highest designation of CPWA, which includes WAS and CPACC certifications. I have expert level knowledge of WCAG and ATAG, understand principles of Universal Design, accessibility laws for various countries, how to use assistive tech to do testing, how to identify accessibility bugs using automated and manual testing, and how to write code to fix those bugs. My background in software development and lived experiences as a person with disabilities have proven to be useful in informing my work in accessibility.

Comfortable working in large organizations on large, complex teams, I'm currently the lead principal accessibility engineer for a massive, high-profile project consisting of about 20 teams (over 600 people). I also volunteer to help with DEI efforts and various accessibility department subgroups to further the accessibility department's goals and reach across our organization of over 330,000 employees.

I'm passionate about teaching others about accessibility and finding elegant and sustainable solutions to complex problems. I enjoy helping other accessibility engineers build on their knowledge and am considered a leader that other accessibility engineers can turn to when they need advice and guidance. I find mentoring very rewarding, and that has been a consistent theme throughout my career.

I have created a significant amount of trainings to teach teams about accessibility and created processes to scale accessibility in a cost effective way. I've worked with teams of all sizes and varying degrees of accessibility maturity and understand how to meet teams where they are by partnering with them to build their accessibility practice.

I'm currently looking for a remote or hybrid job in the Seattle, WA area that will allow me to contribute in a meaningful way. If you're interested in speaking with me about this, I'd love to chat! Please reach out on LinkedIn.



  1. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Nicki! She is very informative and always willing to collaborate. She is very knowledgeable in many subjects and her background is very strong in regards to technology. She is a great presenter and would frequently hold sessions for me and my teammates on varying accessibility topics. I think Nicki would be a great asset at any company especially given her area of interest. There needs to be more people like Nicki who does what it takes to see the growth and development in everyone.

    Zyahn, Software Engineer
  2. I had the pleasure of working closely with Nicki at UHG, where Nicki consistently impressed me with her expertise, dedication, and passion for improving accessibility in the tech industry and beyond.

    Nicki demonstrated a deep understanding of accessibility standards and best practices, and used this knowledge to develop innovative solutions that improved the user experience for people with disabilities. Nicki continues to be a key player in several high-profile accessibility initiatives, including essential training, establishing new process that brings accessibility to the first approach, and created Accessibility pledge with me, which received praise from both clients and internal stakeholders.

    In addition to her technical skills, Nicki is an exceptional collaborator and communicator, always willing to lend a hand and share their knowledge with colleagues and teams. Nicki's positive attitude, team-oriented mindset, and ability to work under pressure them an invaluable member of our team.

    I have no doubt that Nicki would excel in any leadership role for accessibility, and would bring her wealth of expertise and enthusiasm to any project she may work on. I highly recommend them for any accessibility leadership position, and I am confident that Nicki will make a valuable and essential contribution to any organization for her accessibility expertise and disability advocacy.

    Josh, Principal Digital Accessibility Engineer
  3. Inquisitive and problem-solver are words that come to mind when I think of Nicki. As colleagues, I have seen Nicki in action when it comes to coaching clients and partners on the why, how, and what next of accessibility. Her extensive background as a business owner, entrepreneur, developer, and accessibility expert makes her an asset in the digital space. Nicki is highly skilled in the nuances of accessible development and integration. Not only does she align priorities with accessibility standards in working with clients, she brings a wealth of technical knowledge that solves problems in real-time. One of the qualities that I admire about Nicki is that she brings awareness and transparency in difficult conversations, and she does this through asking questions and education. She wants to get to the root of the issue and is a long-term thinker. In my time with Nicki, she has never been one to shy away from challenging assignments. In fact, she welcomes them with gusto! She’s a great colleague, a technical wizard, and a passionate accessibility advocate.

    Nora, Principal Digital Accessibility Engineer
  4. Nicki has been a possitive and highly respected Team partner leading its accessibility efforts with her evangelistic passion and depth of knowledge. Examples of her leadership include: Designing and facilitating workshops to mentor others, and engaging with leaders of various altitudes to remove accessibility research frictions. Nicki's contributive impact is clearly felt and she is an amazing asset.

    Shann, Principal Experience Researcher
  5. I had the pleasure of working closely with Nicki at Optum while she was on my team. It was the first time I worked with an Accessibility Engineer and she was amazing. As a UX Designer she ensured what I was handing over to our developers had the a11y stamp of approval and I felt confident everything I was designing was accessible. I learned so much from her and she not only helped me, but our entire team. She also took the time to have A11y educational sessions for all the designers and developers. She lead and guided our team and I am a better designer because of her!

    Andrea, Senior UX Designer
  6. Nicki consistently goes above and beyond to educate others on the intersections of disabilities, accessibility, and inclusion. She has provided training for hundreds of teams and individuals and excels at cultivating team engagement. She is a critical thinker, well organized, thoughtful, collaborative, and manages multiple projects with ease. Nicki is an excellent mentor, leader, and is always willing to share her knowledge and elevate her peers. She knows how to effectively communicate to key stakeholders, including product owners, designers, and developers, to achieve successful launches of accessible digital products. She is well versed in accessibility policies and WCAG. Her background in web development and user interface design is well-coupled with her broad knowledge of digital accessibility. Nicki is a reliable, trustworthy person and a wonderful colleague!

    Angie, Principal Digital Accessibility Engineer
  7. Nicki is an outstanding professional and a top performer. There are many good things I can tell about her, but I want to focus on these two:

    1. Nicki will make you care about accessibiity in your product. I knew some basic a11y principles, but to be honest I never took it seriously. In my design process a11y was rather distracting optional piece. After working closely with Nicki for about a year, I learned so many different layers to this deep and important topic, that I started to sincerely care. If you want your team to understand and like accessibility (especially stubborn devs or designers), I doubt you can find someone that can do it better than Nicki.
    2. Nicki is practical and experimental in her methods. Besides many interesting presentations, and countless design/code reviews, Nicki was inventing new ways how to help us build our products accessible. For example, Nicki spent a lot of time leveraging Figma for a11y purposes. She found all sorts of plugins and developed frameworks for our design team. She maintained or improved established processes, and provided trainings so we could use it effectively. Seeing this level of engagement makes you respect the hard work that she does. It also inspires you to be better at what you're doing.

    I have no doubt Nicki will exceed your expectations.

    Dima, Senior Product & UX Designer
  8. I worked with Nicki during my time at Optum, and I was impressed with their passion and ability to teach how to apply accessibility best practices. Not only does Nicki have a deep understanding of how to apply accessibility principles to front-end development, they advised me how to make sure I was planning my studies to include accessibilty, as well as how to set up my reports so that they were accessible. If you're looking for a world-class accessibility expert, work with Nicki!

    Brendan, UX Researcher
  9. Nicki has been mentoring me for the past three years. During this time, I have been able to learn invaluable industry knowledge from Nicki due to her years of experience in software development. Nicki has a unique ability to explain technical topics in a way that is understandable and clear to technical and non-technical folks. Nicki has been instrumental in my growth as a software developer.

    Brianna, Software Development Manager, Accessibility
  10. Nicki is a talented developer I was able to work with at CBRE. She has a deep understanding of and concern for accessibility, an outstanding attention to detail, and strong values that result in high quality work.

    Isaac, Senior Product, Website, and Brand Designer
  11. Nicki is an exceptionally well-organized front end engineer. I was impressed with her efforts to maintain and support a UI pattern library for our products, which was the best I have seen from my experience with many other organizations I have worked with.

    Nicki is good at collaboration and optimizing the place where UX designer and front end engineer meet.

    I have all confidence in Nicki's knowledge and experience in the latest front end tools.

    Nicki is friendly and approachable, and is a good team player.

    Jürgen, UX, Interaction, & Product Designer
  12. I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with Nicki. We collaborated on a few projects through our time working together. She was fantastic at explaining complicated systems to someone who didn't know much about development, and always helped when I, or anyone else, had any questions. She was also able to juggle a lot of different projects at the same time, all while maintaining availability to her co-workers. I hope to work with Nicki again in the future, and I give her my highest recommendations.

    Martha, Product Designer
  13. Nicki is an exceptional engineer she has a deep knowledge of modern frontend development especially when it comes to CSS/page layout. Nicki is also an expert on making web applications accessible to all users, and more generally about accessibility best practices. She worked on my team as a critical bridge between non-engineer designers and engineers. This helped us to ship product that was correct the first time; avoiding over-iterating on features and saved our team a lot of time in the long run. Nicki has a great focus on code quality and preventing technical debt that makes a huge difference in long term product development cycles. She does a great job at dissecting a UI mock up into small actionable user stories and in many ways set the standard on my team for how to break out tickets. Aside from her technical skills Nicki is one of the most effective mentors I've encountered in my career as software engineer. She worked with less experienced engineers and helped them increase their technical capability while helping them ship a great product. Nicki's a highly effective engineer and team builder and I would highly recommend her to any development group.

    James, Software Engineer
  14. Nicki is an exceptional developer with a true knack for CSS and accessibility. She is highly organized & sees her tasks through to completion and produces nothing less than high quality work. I have had the pleasure of working with Nicki and through that experience she was an excellent mentor who was eager to teach and excited to share her knowledge. She also has a great ability to communicate effectively and explain things thoroughly. She’s an impactful team player and a powerhouse on any team!

    Kaylyn, Software Engineer
  15. Nicki would be a valuable asset to any software development team. She is an incredibly sharp engineer, who draws on her deep base of knowledge about front end technologies to build, review, and push high quality code. She is committed to understanding and implementing best practices, and advocates for those best practices where necessary. Above all, Nicki values mentorship and collaboration; she regularly goes out of her way to help struggling junior devs (not to mention peers) solve challenging problems. I recommend her strongly.

    Rachael, Senior Software Engineer
  16. Nicki is a talented Senior Front-End Engineer and a valuable asset to any team. Above all else, Nicki is a master of her field. She's an expert at modern front-end methods and advocates for institutionalizing best practices. Nicki is also just really nice to work with, a great mentor for junior engineers, and a positive presence on the team. I highly recommend her.

    Julien, Site Reliability Engineer
  17. Nicki has deep expertise, and a true passion, towards making the online world both accessible and more engaging to our fellow humans of all abilities. Working alongside her has made me a better engineer.

    Nicki is thorough and highly organized, caring a great deal about quality and usability. She was incredible at breaking down tough requirements into organized tasks, then managing and quality assuring a team of developers. All that and a great attitude!

    Peter, Independent Full-stack Engineer & Technical Architect
  18. Nicki was a trusted team member with a very strong work ethic and really strong ability to define a strategy approach to front-end development. She demonstrated leadership in helping non-developers understand preferred development approaches, as well as understand considerations when evaluating adaptive vs. responsive design. I trusted her to present well in front of clients. Nicki is a very strong asset to have on a team.

    Naomi, Digital Transformation Leader
  19. Nicki was great to work with. She has an in-depth understanding of every aspect of front end development. She was saught after for her advice on a problem or to think through possible solutions. She is an asset to any organization and definitely someone I would work with again. I think technically I was senior to Nicki at GLG but she got short changed, she was definitely more of a peer.

    Robb, Software Engineering Manager
  20. Positive attitude and can do spirit. Nicki is a great collaborator and brings smart solutions to each project.



If you're interested in working with me, please send me a message on LinkedIn.