Elise Roy


Elise Roy, MS, JD, is a Principal Architect for User Experience at Salesforce where she leads teams in implementing inclusive user experiences. Deaf from the age of 10, Elise implemented design thinking from early on in life, needing to adapt her environment and its tools to serve her extraordinary abilities.

Elise has close to 20 years of experience working with the disability community with a diverse career path. Her professional accomplishments include collaborating with Google on Live Caption, running her own consulting business in inclusive design serving numerous Fortune 500 Clients, drafting policy for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD), laughing as a creative for the 2008 election campaign ads, and getting her hands dirty as an architectural salvage fabricator. As an internationally recognized thought leader, Elise has given talks all over the world including at Microsoft, Amazon, the United Nations, NASA, and the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Her TEDx talk, “When We Design for Disability, We All Benefit,” has over 1.4 million views.

Elise earned her BA in Psychology from Brown University, graduating with honors. She received her JD from Northeastern School of Law and a Masters of Social Design from Maryland Institute College of Art. She has an honorary Ph.D from Thomas Jefferson University and was recognized in 2022 as a Global 100 Inspirational Leader. She sits on the boards of AIGA and the World Institute of Disability.


Looking forward to 2023, are you optimistic about the role and impact of Graphic Design and Visual Communication in Business? Culture? Causes? Have the events and disruptions of the past few years changed the role or trajectory of Graphic Design?

The beauty of design is its ability to communicate. This means in each design we have an opportunity to create impact and change. My hope is that the events of the past few years have spurred more people to become more empathetic to difference, more invested in understanding our fellow humans, and less prone to jumping automatically to conclusions. I’m already seeing some change in the designs out there and hopeful we’ll see this increased empathy reflected in more and more designs of the future.

Most influential graphic design firm(s), ad agency(s), or inhouse department(s) of the past 60 years? Of today?

I’m huge fan of Patricia Moore’s work and OXO. Moore was ahead of her time, in that she not only spoke with and observed but also dressed up and limited her own functions to truly understand the experience of aging. OXO was brilliant in that it realized that smart design is inclusive design — it all starts by designing for the edges.