These articles and essays feature people and organizations using accessible technology to realize their full potential, and discuss new and developing products, technology, and policy issues impacting people with disabilities.
Breaking Barriers: Celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Rob Sinclair, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, reflects on the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities that focuses on the progress, challenges, and goals of persons with disabilities.
Nokia Contest Will Reward Developers of Apps for Vision-Impaired Users on Windows Phone
The explosive growth of app development for mobile phones has been particularly helpful to blind and low-vision users. Nokia is building on that growth with a new contest called the Do Good Mission that calls for apps that will enhance the lives and mobile experiences of visually impaired people.
Interview: Developing Accessible Applications for Windows Phone
David Dzumba, Accessibility Program Manager at Microsoft, says that in the earliest stages of development it is important to design an application for everyone, including those of us with limitations in vision, hearing, speech, dexterity, or cognition. By creating an accessible app, we ensure no one is excluded and reach a larger customer base.
Microsoft and the European Disability Forum Host Discussion on E-Government
Microsoft co-hosted an important policy discussion with the European Disability Forum (EDF) at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. James Thurston, Director of International Accessibility Policy at Microsoft, outlines keep points of the discussion.
Microsoft Helps a New Resource Center Connect Veterans with Accessible Technology
With the help of a Microsoft grant, RallyPoint/6 builds a state-of-the art resource center to help veterans transition to civilian life.
Researchers Turn Kinect into an Accessibility Prototype that Translates Sign Language
Microsoft researchers have created a new prototype that uses Kinect to translate sign language into spoken and written words and spoken words into sign.
Integrating Accessibility for a Student Can Open Doors in the Classroom
Ellis Straley, Senior Supportability Program Manager, Microsoft, shares her experiences in adapting the environment in a mainstream school so her son with disabilities can live his life to the fullest.
Rethinking the Role of Keyboards—Part Two
In a previous blog post, Alex Li, Senior Accessibility Policy and Standards Strategist, Microsoft, challenged the assertion that a keyboard must control all of a computer’s software. In this blog he discusses, “so, if a keyboard is not required, what alternatives could meet the needs of users with disabilities?”
Aging Gracefully with a Little Help from Technology, Senior Centers and Exergamers NYC
In a new public-private partnership, Microsoft teamed up with New York City’s Department for the Aging (DFTA) and Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) to develop Exergamers NYC. The program uses Kinect for Xbox in unexpected ways to promote more active and social lifestyles for New York City seniors.
It’s Time to Update the U.S. Public Accessibility Procurement Standard
Public procurement policies have been powerful tools in efforts to make information technology more accessible says Alex Li, Senior Accessibility Policy and Standards Strategist at Microsoft. Now, he suggests it’s time to update U.S. Procurement Standards.
Microsoft Wins a National TDI Award for Its Commitment to Making Technology Accessible
Microsoft has earned the Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc.’s Andrew Saks Engineering Award, recognizing Microsoft efforts in making technology accessible to people with disabilities. Ellen Kampel, Public Relations Manager for Accessibility at Microsoft, accepted the award on behalf of Microsoft, and discusses its significance in this blog.
Why I Learned Sign Language
Ann Marie Rohaly, Director of Accessibility Policy and Standards at Microsoft, discusses her experiences learning a new language—American Sign Language—ASL, in a 12-session class she attended at Microsoft, "Signing for the Workplace."
Rethinking the Role of Keyboards in Accessible Technology—Part One
This blog by Alex Li, Senior Accessibility Policy and Standards Strategist, Microsoft, discusses developments in the field of accessibility over the past ten years since he learned that “the first golden rule was that a keyboard must control all software and content features.” Li proposes that it’s now time to re-examine the underlying assumptions of this once undisputable idea.
Pushing for Inclusive Global Development at the United Nations
“People with disabilities belong at the heart of international development.” That was the message hundreds of government officials and representatives from around the world delivered when they gathered for the United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD) in September, 2013.
Why Accessible Technology Matters—To All of Us
In a recent article, Microsoft's senior director of worldwide health, Bill Crounse, MD, provides thoughts, comments, news, and reflections about healthcare IT and how information technology can improve healthcare delivery and services around the world. As a long time champion of accessibility in healthcare, Dr. Bill Crounse reflects on the important role that accessibility continues to play in existing and emerging technologies in healthcare.
Celebrate the International Day of Older Persons
On the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, a date the United Nations designated nearly a quarter century ago to focus on the lives of seniors, James Thurston, Director of International Accessibility Policy at Microsoft, reflects on what that means to all of us.
Be Open to New Ways of Finding Joy
This blog by Laura Ruby, Director of Accessibility Policy and Standards at Microsoft tells the inspiring story of Tommy Hollenstein who learned to paint with his wheelchair and his dog, and reminds us to be open to new paths of finding joy.
Signs and Buttons Alone Don’t Make a Building Accessible
This blog by Rick Baker, Senior Accessibility Strategist at Microsoft, with more than 25 years of experience making technology easier for people, cautions that implementing accessibility is more than meeting a single requirement that barely benefits users.
Using Windows 8 with Eye Tracking Technology
Microsoft partner, Tobii, released the latest in its line of accessibility solutions—the Tobii EyeMobile. The EyeMobile connects to Windows 8 tablets to enable full functionality of the tablet using eye gaze. The technology was optimized to work with the Microsoft Surface, and was built to mirror the functions of Windows 8 that were designed for touch—such as swiping, tapping, and scrolling. With EyeMobile, users can enjoy full Microsoft Surface functionality at home, at work, and in the classroom.
Accessibility Policy Has Moved Onto the Global Stage
James Thurston, Director of International Accessibility Policy at Microsoft, reflects on accessibility progress around the world after attending the sixth gathering of the 125 countries that signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where leaders of disability organizations get together to share their experiences in implementing the convention.
Demonstrating Microsoft Surface to People with Visual Impairments
Larry Weiss, Accessible Technology Strategist at Microsoft, talks about demonstrating the accessibility improvements in the Surface RT and Windows Narrator at the International Technology and Persons with Disabilities conference in San Diego (CSUN), in March.
My Favorite Windows 8 Feature: Magnifier
Bonnie Kearney, Director of Accessibility & Aging Marketing at Microsoft, talks about her favorite Windows 8 feature—Magnifier, the tool that enlarges your screen, or portions of it, making words and images easier to see.
Back to School: Personalizing Technology for Individual Needs and Preferences
For students with disabilities, computers are often the most essential tool they can employ for full participation in their classrooms. Specialized assistive technology, teamed with built-in accessibility features in Windows, can give all students the means to personalize their computers to make them easier to see, hear, and use comfortably.
Microsoft Enables Vendors to Hire Workers with Disabilities
Microsoft is supporting an employment program which encourages its vendors to hire people with developmental disabilities.
A Gamer Shows How Accessible Technology Can Build Community
Today, we know video games have many benefits, ranging from supporting education to relieving extreme pain. It hasn’t always been easy for players with disabilities to enjoy this same connection, but accessible technologies can make it easier.
The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 23 on July 26, and Microsoft Director of Accessibility Policy and Standards, Laura Ruby, recommends more steps industry can take to ensure a more inclusive future.
2013 Imagine Cup Team Omni-Hearing Solution Takes Second Place in World Citizenship Competition
The Omni-Hearing Solution is three-fold: it’s a smart phone app to replace a traditional hearing aid; a cloud service to identify your potential hearing problem; and a sound processing technology to enhance the quality of all forms of vocal communication.
Windows 8 Training Focuses on Built-in Accessibility
TECHConnection, the New Jersey Microsoft Accessibility Resource Center (MARC), presented a free workshop to demonstrate built-in accessibility features in Windows 8.
Video: Inspiring Future Technologies for Everyone
"A Family Day Out" demonstrates concepts for innovative technologies to enrich the lives of people with vision impairments.