Computer coding should be available to EVERYONE.

Computer coding should be available to EVERYONE.

Ideas from the heart could help make employment more attainable for people with disabilities

Braille devices being demonstrated
Microsoft Photo
Microsoft Photo

Kim Charlson was 11 when she started losing her eyesight because of glaucoma. An operation a year and a half later not only didn’t help, it resulted in complications that hastened her blindness.

Her pragmatic parents insisted she learn Braille, a key to literacy for people who are blind or have low vision. Without that literacy, Charlson likely wouldn’t have gone on to college or a career. Only 13 percent of blind students in the United States know Braille, and roughly 70 percent of adults who are blind or have low vision are unemployed.

Those troubling statistics are one reason Charlson is excited about an app that will help increase the amount of time students can spend learning and practicing Braille. ObjectiveEd, the company that’s developing the Braille AI Tutor app, is a new recipient of Microsoft’s AI for Accessibility grants to people using AI-powered technology to make the world a more inclusive place. Ten other recipients joining the program in conjunction with National Disability Awareness Month include City University of London, inABLE, iMerciv and The Open University…

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Accessibility with the new Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge Logo Image
Microsoft Edge (Chromium)

What’s new in Microsoft Edge accessibility

We try to make browsing with assistive technologies as easy and intuitive as possible. Check out the accessibility enhancing features we’ve added in the new Microsoft Edge:

  • Microsoft Edge supports the Windows high contrast theme and improved text scaling.
  • The Windows Ease of Access features are now integrated to Microsoft Edge with closed captions and appearance enhancements.
  • You can navigate Microsoft Edge using the same keyboard shortcuts that you know from Windows. For the list of shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Edge.
  • Tooltips appear on keyboard focus and include keyboard shortcuts.
  • You can select text with your keyboard by turning on caret browsing (F7).
  • Menus now support underline access keys on Windows.

For more info on accessibility, refer to Accessibility features in Microsoft Edge.

Source: Accessibility with the new Microsoft Edge

Code Jumper: Jumpstarting computer science interest in kids who are blind

Why didn’t I think of this. To represent code and actions based on tactile patterns is flat out genius.

The group went beyond my initial thoughts of a physical implementation of some tech akin to Scratch, a popular open source environment for primary school students to learn how to Code and think logically and sequentially. At the risk of a spoiler alert..

Research in Microsoft’s Project Torino leads to Code Jumper, which introduces kids who are blind and low vision to programming through a physical language.

Source: Code Jumper: Jumpstarting computer science interest in kids who are blind

Microsoft went all in on accessible design. This is what happened afterwards | Fast Company

Logitech photo as part of a Fast Company article.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is one of the most telling products in how design as we know it is changing. It’s a boxy controller with two giant buttons and over a dozen ports for external peripherals, to allow people with disabilities the option to play Xbox in any manner they can…

But the Xbox Adaptive Controller was just the first step into more inclusive video games and voting machines. And we’re seeing that proven in a new, companion product developed by the mouse and keyboard giant Logitech. Called the Adaptive Gaming Kit, it’s a collection of mix-and-matchable buttons that plug into the Xbox Adaptive Controller for additional customization…

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