The following blog post was written by James Thurston –Senior Strategist for Global Accessibility Policy and Standards at Microsoft. James works with Microsoft’s global subsidiaries, NGOs, and governments around the world to develop public policies that support broad digital inclusion.
At Microsoft, our commitment to broad digital inclusion through accessible technology is global. Microsoft subsidiaries around the world are doing amazing and innovative work to leverage technology to benefit the estimated one billion(*) persons living with disabilities worldwide.
Microsoft India was recently recognized by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) for its “work towards the cause of accessibility.” Only four awards by NCPEDP are made in this category every year.
NCPEDP conferred this award on August 14th, at an event in New Delhi , celebrating Microsoft India’s work partnering with Government, Academia, Special Institutions and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), throughout India, to extend the use of technology to persons with disabilities.
Some of the exciting Microsoft Accessibility Initiatives that were recognized at the New Delhi event include:
- Office Templates for Public Forms: One way to achieve accessibility is to ensure that documents created for use within government departments, as well as for external consumption, are accessible. The 40 Accessibility templates, created and released by Microsoft India and tested by people with various impairments, help automate the Accessibility into content creation, enabling governments and businesses to have Accessibility incorporated at the time a document is produced. Once a template has been used to create an Accessible document, the document can then be converted into a digital talking book or into large print for a perosn who is visually impaired.
- Accessibility Guides for educators, governments and businesses: These guides provide information about various types of impairments and the accessible technology solutions that are available to ensure that the needs of people of all abilities are met. [US versions of the guides]
- Accessibility Learning Sessions: Microsoft India works closely with special educators, NGOs, and special schools to build awareness about accessibility in technology and help integrate students with disabilities into classrooms. This helps encourage a diversity of technology solutions that extends the use of technology to people of all abilities, enabling them to live independent and productive lives.
Please join me in congratulating Microsoft India for its recognition by the NCPEDP, and for their inspiring example of Microsoft’s global commitment to people of all abilities. If you are interested in learning more about the Accessibility initatives at Microsoft India, please visit the Microsoft India website.
(*) - according to the World Health Organization Report on Disabilities.