Disability Inclusion at Microsoft: A Personal Journey – Jessica Rafuse

“We need diversity! We need people who are diverse in abilities, diverse in thoughts,” said Jessica Rafuse, program manager with Microsoft Accessibility, and an employment attorney by trade. “It really makes all of us better to learn from those who aren’t necessarily as like-minded as we are.” Jessica is passionate about technology and the potential…


Businesses Focus on Empowering People with Disabilities at Upcoming USBLN Conference

People with disabilities are a strength and their inclusion in the fabric of the company is a strategic imperative. These are all words that you’ve heard and seen on the Accessibility Blog in recent months and years: we’re becoming a bit of a scratched record on the subject! While the goal of building a diverse work culture that embraces…


From Hack to Product, Microsoft Empowers People with Eye Control for Windows 10

Sometimes, a simple email can lead to a life-changing breakthrough. In 2014, former NFL player Steve Gleason, who has a neuromuscular disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sent an email to Microsoft, challenging employees at the company’s first hackathon. Steve’s ask to this diverse array of thinkers, doers and dreamers was to develop technology that…


Redmond, Around the World, and Back: Our Summer Trip Report

By Jessica Rafuse, NGO Program Manager, Accessibility, Corporate & External Legal Affairs  Over the last month, members of the Microsoft Accessibility Team traveled to places like Washington D.C., London, Nevada and Florida to spend time with the folks that help make our products more accessible: people with disabilities. We learned so much from you along…


Next Stop on our Accessibility Journey: One Week

By Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer Today we kick off the 4th annual One Week hackathon event at Microsoft! In addition to showcasing new technologies, this employee event brings together people from around the world for a massive 3-day hackathon. The purpose is to tap into everyone’s creative spirit and find tech solutions for all kinds of…


Seeing AI App is Now Available in the iOS app store

Seeing AI, a free app that narrates the world around you, is available now to iOS customers in the United States, Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to open up the visual world and describe…


Founder of Unlimited Tomorrow Looks to Change the World of Prosthetics

Easton LaChappelle is the creator of a robotic hand he spent six years researching as an alternative to advanced prostheses that can cost upwards of $100,000. He is the founder of Unlimited Tomorrow, whose mission is, “to make technology accessible to those who need it most.” LaChappelle stumbled upon the discovery of the financial burden…


The Path to Inclusion is Paved with Collaboration and Partnerships

By Megan Lawrence, PhD, Accessibility Technical Evangelist at Microsoft. As a passionate advocate for disability inclusion, there is nothing I like better than sharing Microsoft’s Accessibility story, swapping best practices and learning from my peers. I recently attended a great series of events on the east coast of the U.S. focused on the importance of…


ICT for Inclusive Urban Development: Smart Cities for All Toolkit Available in New Languages

By Laura Ruby, Director of Accessibility Policy and Standards at Microsoft Language should not be a barrier to inclusion. Microsoft is pleased to join G3ict and World Enabled today at the tenth session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at United Nations Headquarters…


Susan Hauser and Jenny Lay-Flurrie Recognized for Commitment to Accessibility and Inclusion

Last week, Microsoft employees were recognized for their commitment to accessibility and inclusion. Their leadership inspires us as we continue our journey to empower people with disabilities to achieve more. Susan Hauser, corporate vice president, Business and Corporate Responsibility at Microsoft, was recognized this week by the Cerebral Palsy Foundation for her commitment to accessibility…