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Articles and Essays

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.

Microsoft Accessibility Leader Ann Marie Rohaly Wins National Broadcasting Award for Her Closed Captioning Work
Ann Marie Rohaly, a Microsoft accessibility leader, was honored as a 2014 Woman to Watch for her work to make movies, television shows, and other video accessible to everyone—including viewers with disabilities. The national broadcasting award from TVNewsCheck recognizes Rohaly for more than 15 years of work on digital media, including work on closed captioning standards that improved accessibility as video content increasingly moved online.
(April 2014)

Innovation Isn’t Just for the Young, it’s for Everyone, European Leader Says
“Aging isn't a problem, but a source of innovation and growth. It's not just an expanding cost to be cut, but a growing market opportunity to be served. We shouldn't protect powers and practices, but must come together to share, and see how we can do things differently,” says Neelie Kroes, chief of the European Commission’s digital agenda in this Microsoft Accessibility blog.
(April 2014)

Three New Samsung Smartphone Accessories Show the Universal Appeal of Accessibility
Accessibility is increasingly a mainstream issue, as companies, developers and consumers recognize that accessibility is about giving all people, including people with disabilities, new tools and ways to interact with the world. Samsung is one of the latest to expand the universe of accessibility by creating three new products for its Galaxy Core Advance smartphone. Learn more in this Microsoft Accessibility blog.
(April 2014)

It’s Official: The International Association of Accessibility Professionals Launches
The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) officially began accepting membership applications in March, 2014—an important step in elevating, defining, and improving accessibility as a profession around the world.
(March 2014)

Researcher Sees Accessibility Becoming an Integrated Part of Technology Design
Sara Hendren is a researcher and artist who works in the area of design, accessibility, adaptive and assistive technologies, prosthetics, and cultural and political representations of disability. When she looks at smartphones, laptops, and tablets she sees how these tools assist users. She also doesn’t see the difference between those devices and what has traditionally been known as assistive technology designed for users with disabilities.
(March 2014)

Europe’s New Accessibility Procurement Standard Can Be a Model for the World
Laura Rudy, Director of Accessibility Policy and Standards at Microsoft, says that, after years of study and deliberation, European standards bodies have released technical requirements for public procurement of information and communication technology (ICT) that can be a model for governments and organizations around the world on how to evaluate accessibility when buying information technology.
(March 2014)

Marlee Matlin: Xbox One Opened a New Gateway to Closed Captioned Movies and TV
Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin was instrumental in getting legislation passed that required closed captioning for broadcast and broadband content. She has been honored by President Barack Obama for her advocacy work on behalf of the deaf community. In this Microsoft Accessibility blog post, Matlin talks about accessibility and Xbox One.
(March 2014)

The Power of Technology Is Expanding the Use of Memory-Assisting Tools
Erin Beneteau, a senior learning and development strategist for accessibility at Microsoft, uses examples from her own life in illustrating how apps that help her manage her daily life can also assist people with memory impairments. “The key is to ensure these apps have interfaces that are easy to use, navigate, and access—then they can truly change lives,” she says.
(March 2014)

The Cloud Can Support a New Generation of Accessible Technologies
The cloud serves as a virtual glue that connects a user's devices, says Rob Sinclair, Microsoft Chief Accessibility Officer, in this Microsoft Accessibility blog. It can hold preferences and settings, including accessibility tools, and allows features to follow a user from device to device. Tomorrow, the cloud will support an even larger universe of accessibility services that will create a more inclusive society.
(March 2014)

Microsoft Employees Launch a New College Scholarship for Students with Disabilities
Microsoft employees have created a new scholarship that will encourage more high school seniors living with a disability to enroll in college, realize the impact technology can have on the world, and explore careers in technology.
(February 2014)

Recognizing American Sign Language on International Mother Language Day
Microsoft embraces the spirit of International Mother Language Day by helping to uphold local languages and cultural identities through its Local Language Program (LLP). On the occasion the Microsoft Accessibility unit celebrated American Sign Language (ASL) and its role in the lives of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
(February 2014)

New Skills for New Jobs: Challenges and Opportunities for People with Disabilities
Microsoft partnered with the European Disability Forum (EDF) to explore a roadmap for better employment opportunities for people with disabilities at the "New Skills for New Jobs: Challenges and Opportunities for People with Disabilities" event which brought together experts from disabled persons organizations, the European Commission and Parliament, and industry.
(February 2014)

Industry Standards at Work: Improving Closed Captioning of Internet Video
Eight years ago, five companies saw the future of video. Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Google, and WGBH realized television shows and movies increasingly will be delivered on the Internet and understood that industry approaches to closed captions on television were not compatible with the Internet. So, the companies formed the Internet Captioning Forum to work on solutions.
(February 2014)

Microsoft Asks People to "Do 1 Thing"
Ellen Kampel, Public Relations Manager for Accessibility at Microsoft discusses addressing online risks and how education and diligence are key to help ensure safer digital experiences.
(February 2014)

Scientists Explore How Technology Can Expand Human Rights for People with Disabilities—and Everyone
James Thurston, Director of International Accessibility Policy at Microsoft, discusses the annual meeting of the Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC, where scientists and technologists together explored how technology could expand and safeguard human rights.
(February 2014)

Blind and Low-Vision Seniors Dance and Bowl with Microsoft Xbox Games
A public-private partnership between Microsoft, NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA), and NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) brings seniors together to exercise and socialize. “Exergaming” combines technology with exercise, allowing seniors to improve their physical, mental and social well-being by participating in friendly competition and interactive gaming. More features: NYC LGBT Seniors Compete in Virtual Bowling Tournaments with Microsoft Xbox, and Breaking Barriers: Exergamers NYC Project at Selfhelp in Queens.
(February 2014)

Super Seattle Sunday Shows the Power of Accessible Technology
Microsoft aired its first national Super Bowl commercial during Super Bowl XLVIII. The ad highlighted “the essence of what we do every day,” says Rob Sinclair, Microsoft Chief Accessibility Officer, “help build technology that empowers people of all ages and abilities to achieve their full potential.” See also, Accessibility Makes It to Super Bowl.
(February 2014)

Windows Developer Quietly Creates Apps to Help People with Disabilities Communicate
Developer produces series of apps that help students with speech disabilities translate their handwriting into spoken language, children with autism learn to write, and adults with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) communicate by speaking words and phrases they choose on a screen.
(January 2014)

Nokia Contest Rewards Developers of Apps for Vision-Impaired Users on Windows Phone
Winners and runners-up were announced in Nokia Create’s Do Good Mission contest which rewards developers of apps for vision-impaired users.
(January 2014)

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