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


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.


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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The Christchurch Call and steps to tackle terrorist and violent extremist content | Microsoft on the Issues

The Christchurch Call and steps to tackle terrorist and violent extremist content | Microsoft on the Issues

This course of action is the smart and wise thing to do as a society and a government. Then there is POTUS45 (Paywall).

On May 15, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron brought together government leaders and representatives of technology companies to announce the “Christchurch Call to Action To Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online.” In response to the Call, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft issued a joint statement. The companies also published nine steps they’ll take to implement the Christchurch Call.

The terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March were a horrifying tragedy. And so it is right that we come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence.


– Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter


In addition to signing the Christchurch Call, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft are publishing nine steps that they will take to address the abuse of technology to spread terrorist and violent extremist content. These nine steps include five individual actions that each company is committing to take, and a further four collaborative actions they’ll take together <snipped>.


As online content sharing service providers, we commit to the following:

Five Individual Actions


  • Terms of Use. We commit to updating our terms of use, community standards, codes of conduct, and acceptable use policies to expressly prohibit the distribution of terrorist and violent extremist content.


  • User Reporting of Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content. We commit to establishing one or more methods within our online platforms and services for users to report or flag inappropriate content, including terrorist and violent extremist content.


  • Enhancing Technology. We commit to continuing to invest in technology that improves our capability to detect and remove terrorist and violent extremist content online, including the extension or development of digital fingerprinting and AI-based technology solutions.


  • Livestreaming. We commit to identifying appropriate checks on livestreaming, aimed at reducing the risk of disseminating terrorist and violent extremist content online. 


  • Transparency Reports. We commit to publishing on a regular basis transparency reports regarding detection and removal of terrorist or violent extremist content on our online platforms and services and ensuring that the data is supported by a reasonable and explainable methodology.



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Yemeni Teacher Opens Doors -> AJ+

A Yemen man takes education into his own hands at significant risk. Here is a situation where a Non-Governmental Agency on the ground there can receive educational supplies to do an airdrop or some other logistical method of getting him and others the tools needed to educate these kids.

Universal Basic Income, Canada Style | PBS NewsHour

I have blogged about UBI for a minute now and still believe in its concept. Our neighbors to our north have made an official attempt at it (though later eliminated). Proven to work around the world, political courage is needed to adopt on a wider scale in the United States. Andrew Yang may be a long-shot for the Presidency, but he is advocating this social experiment. The hope is that it becomes part of the platform for 2020 and after last night’s election results, could be part of the incentive to continue the momentum and increase voter turnout, especially if paired with the removal of cannabis as a schedule 1 drug at a minimum.

The story attached to the video is older but still timely.

Dive into the Refugee Camp in Jordan that Runs on Blockchain | Hackernoon

Here is a good place to start. I would also add to this about voting rights independent of political parties that rather certain people, like those pictured, not able to vote. Although this article is published 4 months ago, with recent news events of political expediency, a topical evergreen article.

Imagine a situation where you can’t prove to the world that you even exist. You are alive but you can’t prove your physical existence. Sounds horrible, Right! But according to the World Bank, there are more than a billion people in the world that have no means to prove their identity.
Without legal proof of your identity you officially have no rights. You can’t do many things like you can’t vote , you won’t have access to government services, you can’t drive etc. The people who come in this unverified category generally include refugees, the homeless, trafficked children and the people who have slipped in the society without developing any institutional affiliations.

Screenshot 2018-10-31 01.10.57.png

via Dive into the Refugee Camp in Jordan that Runs on Blockchain

How Ethereum Could Deliver Universal Basic Income –

How Ethereum Could Deliver Universal Basic Income –

There are many reasons that the world is beginning to look toward the viability of universal basic income (UBI). Some studies on the practice of distributing income to those who are in need have proven that UBI can have a positive impact on impoverished communities.

Other independent research found that the US economy might see as much as $2.5 trillion in growth if a UBI were to be integrated. To that end, several cities outside of India are or will be testing their own UBI pilot programs, such as in the cases of Oakland, California; Utrecht, Netherlands; Ontario, Canada; and in the countries of Scotland, Brazil, and Finland.

Enter the Ethereum blockchain. The merits of Ethereum are numerous when it comes to distributing aid. It can deliver a level of autonomous transparency, allowing for easy system management and oversight. Furthermore, the Ethereum blockchain allows for the implementation of permission layers that can keep private consumer data from prying eyes. Ethereum can do all this more efficiently than bureaucratic organizations, eliminating from the equation third parties that manage funds and may take a cut in the form of processing fees.

via How Ethereum Could Deliver Universal Basic Income –