By Jenny Lay-Flurrie – Chief Accessibility Officer
The Microsoft team and I were in San Diego last week at the 2017 CSUN Assistive Technology Conference. There were so many moments of inspiration and learnings for us that it’s hard to choose just a few highlights. This year, Microsoft had the largest crew ever with over 70 accessibility engineers, program managers and world-class researchers hosting a record 16 sessions throughout the week. We were all busy gathering feedback and demonstrating how Microsoft is pushing the potential of what technology can do, for people of all abilities. If you missed a session or didn’t make it to the conference, you can find links to our CSUN presentations here.
Some of my favorite moments include:
• CSUN is a significant event for the Accessibility community and it was exciting to see the groundbreaking strides we’ve made as an industry and how fast technology is evolving – to scientific advancements, UX/Usability standards to job growth in the sector and inclusive hiring efforts. Hats off to everyone and onward to the next chapter!
• A few of the Microsoft highlights include: the what’s new in Office 365 session, the Windows 10 Accessibility presentation, Microsoft research pushing the boundaries with Cities Unlocked and of course - Introducing KNFB Reader available on Windows 10.
• We had invigorating conversations with peers across the AT and NGO sector and many other cohorts. Much buzz centered around the future with AI. But it was also great to see continuing innovations like testing infrastructure with companies such as AudioEye, the explosion of low cost braille devices and new things like EI braille, a braille display docked in a hand-held Windows 10 PC that supports 17 hours of battery life (Wow!). Other pragmatic but equally innovative advances were in areas like tactile, high-color contrast maps designed to be universally accessible. Wouldn’t it be cool to see more of these in the future?
On behalf of the entire Microsoft Accessibility team, we’d like to thank CSUN for hosting such an incredible event. And a huge thank you to all of the attendees who stopped by our booth, participated in our sessions and attended our party. The real value for us was interacting with all of you. The insightful feedback we get from you at events like CSUN are invaluable to us as we plan how to continue to improve the accessibility features in our products. Please keep it coming!
While we’re talking conferences, if you’re heading to SXSW in Austin next week, I am participating in a panel, Unlocking technology for people with disabilities, on March 13 at 12:30pm. I’d be thrilled to see you so stop by and say hello if you plan to attend!
Welcoming attendees to the Microsoft booth!
Just a reminder to bookmark our refreshed Microsoft accessibility site, www.microsoft.com/accessibility where you can find our blog or follow us on Twitter for all the latest information. Finally, we crave and appreciate your ongoing feedback so we can continue to do better! Please keep reaching out via our Accessibility UserVoice forum or the Disability Answer Desk is available to answer questions.
Love from the entire Microsoft accessibility family, until next time!