“Accessibility isn’t just a moment in time for Microsoft,” says Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada. “One in seven Canadians has a disability. This is a sobering statistic, and according to the federal government we can only expect this number to grow given our aging population.”
“Empowerment is at the core of the tech industry,” writes Michelle Simmons, Microsoft Asia-Pacific’s General Manager of Southeast Asia New Markets. “When we talk about empowering people, we simply mean that with the right tools, anyone can become anything. Empowerment, therefore, is key to building a diverse and inclusive workforce.” Here are her suggestions for driving diversity and inclusion.
“Companies are often held back by a perception that recruiting people with disabilities is too difficult and costly,” says Jill Miller, in a special report in the Financial Times. Jill Miller is the Diversity and inclusion adviser at the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. “However, a lot of the ‘reasonable adjustments’ are low-cost and relatively easy to implement.”
Skype has several improvements to its accessibility on the way, as part of Microsoft’s mission to “make technology more accessible and empower people to achieve more.” According to an article on Microsoft’s news site ON-MSFT, the Skype development team has been using user feedback and comments to address “accessibility issues.”
Tech giant Microsoft is constantly looking for ways to not only increase its market share, but also do so in ways which enhance the experience of both existing and new customers. The company has revamped its OneNote notetaking application, which was originally targeted at businesses and college students, to accommodate the growing number of elementary and high school students who now use one-to-one devices in the classroom.
Microsoft has published Accessibility: A Guide for Educators to help educators empower students with accessible technology that enables personalized learning. This guide provides information about accessibility and accessible technology to ensure that all students, regardless of their abilities, have equal access to learning and technology.