Inclusive Innovation Showroom Demonstrates Accessibility
The Microsoft Inclusive Innovation Showroom demonstrates how accessibility features in Microsoft products and assistive technology solutions developed by Microsoft partners can make it easier for anyone to see, hear, and use a computer at work or at home.
The Showroom uses real-world scenarios to illustrate how people of all abilities—including those with vision, mobility, learning, and hearing impairments—can use accessible and assistive technology to customize their computing experience according to their own preferences and needs.
"There's such a tremendous need for assistive technology (AT) to meet the needs of those with disabilities, and our partners play a critical role in helping create solutions that are practical and easy to use," said Daniel Hubbell, a technical evangelist at Microsoft. Hubbell works with many assistive technology companies worldwide to ensure that Microsoft products are compatible with a wide variety of AT products that run on Windows. According to Hubbell, the ultimate goal of his work is to enable people of all abilities to have access to a computing experience that is both comfortable and highly functional.
Accessibility Solutions for Home and Work
The scenarios on display in the Inclusive Innovation Showroom illustrate home and work solutions for people with disabilities and for the aging population. The workspace portion of the showroom is arranged in a cubicle-style setup with three work spaces, each representing a separate workplace persona with varying degrees of disability. The home space highlights a retiree with age-related impairments and a student with learning disabilities. The interior is divided into a living room, a student dorm-style workspace, and a home office.
"The Inclusive Innovation Showroom allows us to demonstrate the technology solutions in both home and work environments for professionals, students, and aging baby boomers who have specific needs," Hubbell said. "For example, by making the computer easier to see with bigger fonts, or more comfortable to use with ergonomic mice and keyboards, people can more easily lead a digital lifestyle: working, playing games online, creating family photo albums, and communicating with colleagues, family and friends. Our hope is that seeing these products in action will inspire more individuals and companies to become a part of our collective accessibility effort to develop new innovative technology solutions."
Real-World Scenarios Illustrate Different Needs and Solutions
The Showroom features four personas, each designed to illustrate a different set of unique needs and technology solutions.
In addition to conducting research and overseeing Microsoft's overall accessibility efforts, the accessibility group creates tools, such as the User Interface Automation platform, which help industry partners ensure that their accessibility applications and devices work seamlessly with Microsoft products. The solutions on display in the Inclusive Innovation Showroom are a result of this ongoing work.
All technology products featured are available on the market today, including the latest personal computing products from HP, featuring the new HP TouchSmart computer. Find out more about assistive technology products including what they are and how to find them.