How Microsoft is creating Accessibility for All: Empowering persons with disabilities

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There is no physical disability that should dampen the spirit of ability and perseverance in humans. It is to this effect that the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed December 3 as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) in 1992. The aim is to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. This year, the theme is centered on “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”

Accessibility can empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.  Accessibility makes it easier for everyone to see, hear, and use technology, and to personalize their computers to meet their own needs and preferences. For many people with disabilities, accessibility is what makes inclusion in the digital world possible.

With more than one billion people in the world with disabilities, it is imperative that technology reflects the diversity of the users to foster digital inclusion for all.

Microsoft is working with other organizations around the world to push the boundaries of what technology can do to empower people. This year, as part of the WE Are One campaign, they are enabling educators to make their classrooms more accessible and inclusive through the use of Microsoft technologies such as Immersive Reader, ease of access tools, Microsoft Translator, and more.

At Microsoft, they believe that diversity is a strength for any business or community. It is imperative for people with disabilities to be empowered to create, consume, and share content in their preferred way. It should be noted that voice commands and remote controls evolved from design solutions for people with disabilities, yet they benefit us all.

At this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), some new improvements made to the Accessibility Checker were announced. Before sharing content, you can run the accessibility checker, which is now easily discoverable in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and Visio, to find and fix any issues that might make your content difficult for people with disabilities to use.International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)To ensure the Middle East and Africa benefits from the advancement in accessibility, technology and inclusive education for all learners. Microsoft recently collaborated with InAble and the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) hosted a Roundtable Discussion Among Kenyan Leaders and the Ministry of Education in Kenya, to discuss strategies for a more inclusive classroom.

There are no limits to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it.

They recognize that people living with disabilities are not limited nor disabled, but differently abled. And all they require to blossom is accessibility to the right technologies and skills that will enable them to achieve more. This is why they organized the first Assistive Technology Hackathon in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2017 in partnership with Al Noor Training Centre, the hackathon brought together companies, students, families and people living with disabilities to develop the technology they need at affordable price.

They believe technology is a powerful force for inclusion. There are no limits to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it. And they pledge together with the 2030 Agenda to “leave no one behind.”

To learn more on Microsoft Accessibility visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility

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