Making accessibility easy to learn, use, build and master | Microsoft on the Issues

Making accessibility easy to learn, use, build and master | Microsoft on the Issues

Today, we are celebrating the eighth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The day was founded by two individuals, Jennison Asuncion and Joe Devon, who wanted to raise the awareness and visibility of accessibility around the world. Recently, I chatted with Jennison, an employee at LinkedIn, about where GAAD started and how the progress over the last eight years has surpassed all expectations. He noted that, “the goal of GAAD was to start a conversation, to get people interested about a topic that they may not think about on a day-to-day basis and raise awareness of the need for accessibility at every level.”

Jennison Asuncion
Jennison Asuncion

Jennison’s and Joe’s thinking has inspired our approach to GAAD this year. We want to make accessibility easy to learn, use, build, and master. Ultimately, we are all developers, whether we’re writing an email or making a website. Making accessibility part of how we do business around the world is essential. Thinking about it as a cultural shift, and how we manage a business is core to achieving this goal. Here are some areas where we can make a difference together.

 

Accessibility training

 

One of the most common questions on accessibility is, “Where do I start?” Whether an expert in the field or new to this gig, accessibility training materials are available to progress your skills and understanding. Over the last couple of years, we have been writing and producing materials, tried and tested them within the company and are now sharing with you all. Three resources for you to check out:

 

Snackable Training Series.Accessibility at a Glance” is an animated series of short, snackable videos that includes a mix of technical and non-technical subjects, highlighting everything from how to present inclusively to how to leverage User Interface Automation to build accessible Windows applications.

 

Webinars. The Disability Answer Desk team recently launched a monthly webinar series to fill up your buckets with accessibility knowledge on common use case scenarios.

 

Inclusive Design. One of the most important constructs to accessibility is Inclusive Design. Our Inclusive Design Series has hit a huge milestone with 1 million downloads of the toolkit series on https://www.microsoft.com/design/inclusive/.

 

What technology can empower you?

 

Technology is moving faster than ever before so our job is to make it easier to find what you need and empower you in that moment.

 

Summer Sway. Today we launch the 2019 Microsoft Accessibility Feature Sway (summer edition) for a quick and easy view of all features broken out by disability type updated with the latest wizardry.

 

Technology in the Classroom. Our friends at Microsoft Education are dedicating all of today’s episode to helping make it easier for teachers to include all their students.

 

Product features that change perspectives

 

Website Accessibility. Recently, we launched Accessibility Insights, to help software developers and website designers build more accessible software and websites.

 

Captions in PowerPoint now ready to use. Captions empower those of us who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, helping us get value out of presentations, engage in team meetings, and stay connected to friends and colleagues over long distances.

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At Microsoft, we are on a journey to be a learn-it-all company, not a know-it-all company. We don’t have all the answers, but we are constantly learning and working every day to improve our products, services and programs. We take pride in our approach and absolutely love your feedback! Please share your thoughts, feedback or questions with us through the Disability Answer Desk and Accessibility User Voice Forum. #LearningTogether

 

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Microsoft works with VA to provide Xbox Adaptive Controllers for veterans’ rehabilitation facilities

Microsoft has announced that it is partnering with Veterans Affairs to provide its Xbox Adaptive Controller to 22 initial VA rehab centers in the U.S. For those unfamiliar, the Adaptive Controller …

Source: Microsoft works with VA to provide Xbox Adaptive Controllers for veterans’ rehabilitation facilities

How Microsoft is helping other companies hire people with autism | A Certified Warditorial

Just as Microsoft makes its technology available to other companies to help them achieve more, it is doing the same with its model for hiring people with autism.

 

April is Autism Awareness Month. Autism Spectrum Disorder affects one percent of the world’s population, about 3.5 million, or one out of 59 American births according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Autism Society.

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder encompasses a range of conditions that present challenges with speech, social skills, non-verbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. On the flip side, many people with autism possess unique strengths in other areas that enable them to excel in certain disciplines.

 

Unfortunately, according to Easter Seals, 80% of people with autism are either unemployed or underemployed. Consequently, the skills and contributions that they would bring to many companies and to the products and services those companies offer are lost.

 

To address this untapped resource and to foster a culture of empathy and inclusion, Microsoft — on Autism Awareness Day in 2015 — established its Autism Hiring Program. This year, parallel to its commitment to open sourcing its technologies and tools to create a “Microsoft platform” that companies integrate into their businesses, the company is “democratizing” its Autism Hiring program. The goal is to bring more people with autism to the workforce so that they and the companies they join can achieve more.

 

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Microsoft plans to focus even more on accessibility in 2019 a certified Warditorial

by Jason Ward, an astute observer of all things Microsoft not named Mary Jo Foley.

 

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella is on a mission to make all the company’s products and services accessible to everyone.

 

If it seems like Microsoft’s accessibility efforts are getting almost as much attention as its cloud, Windows and productivity businesses, you’re not mistaken. Since becoming the company’s CEO, Satya Nadella has made “inclusive design” a core part of the company’s business model. It is almost impossible to see a major Microsoft event or hear a significant Microsoft announcement without hearing how accessibility is woven in.

 

Nadella acknowledged that historically companies, including Microsoft, would build products and address an accessibility “checklist” after the fact. This post-design focus on assistive technologies was limiting because it resulted in narrowly designing products for able-bodied people while excluding millions of others with disabilities.

 

from Windows Central – News, Forums, Reviews, Help for Windows 10 and all things Microsoft. http://bit.ly/2RRYzqy

John’s Crazy Socks spreads joy, shows power of hiring people with disabilities | Transform from Microsoft

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John and Mark Cronin, of John’s Crazy Socks H/T: Microsoft Transform blog.

This inspiring story slipped past my attention over the past week or so, but I am so glad I found it. Everyone has a talent; So thankful for the opportunity to highlight those who has nearly always been forgotten, but in today’s environment, might as well not even exist.

Then Cronin, who is 22 and has Down syndrome, reflected on his sartorial flair for colorful outfits and socks, a passion that began in fourth grade to the occasional shriek of his older brother: “Dad, you can’t let him go out like that!”

 

But Cronin’s fashion resolve led to his lightbulb idea for John’s Crazy Socks, a flourishing online store launched in late 2016. Based in Huntington, New York, the company has grown into a multi-million-dollar business with an inventory of more than 2,000 unique, cheerful and vibrant socks. They include socks with googly-eyed pineapples, smiling corgis, Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and trolls with hair you can comb.

 

“They’re fun, colorful, creative and let me be me,” Cronin says of his affinity for joyous footwear.

John’s Crazy Socks spreads joy, shows power of hiring people with disabilities | Transform

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