Inspiration from the Microsoft Ability Summit 2017


This post is from Senior ADMs, Bill Bevan and Joseph Flanigen, who discuss incorporating accessibility into the product lifecycle in a sustainable way, including business and design requirements, leadership roles and responsibilities, design vs. remediation projects, and assessing legal risk.


For the seventh year, Microsoft has hosted an internal Ability Summit featuring inspirational talks from a diverse set of individuals who’ve contributed to society in tremendous ways. By the way, they’ve managed to succeed despite personal challenges. We heard from Satya Nadella, how Microsoft is striving to feature Accessibility as an integral facet to all of our processes to create products and services – not simply bolted on as an afterthought. We were challenged by the frank and entertaining assessment from Washington State’s Lieutenant Governor, Cyrus Habib. Many other speakers inspired us with their own personal stories.

imageOf the many lessons gleaned from the day, this one was repeated several times from different speakers: Created as a proof-of-concept during one of many Hackathons, the specific need of a certain accessibility was targeted. In each case, however, the POC extended to audiences never originally imagined. Suddenly the market expanded – the audience grown!

Creating inclusive software solutions is both socially responsible and profitable. As a developer, you too can differentiate your solution in the marketplace. Addressing the technical capabilities, best practices, and tools begins here: Windows Dev Center: Developing apps for accessibility. Visiting Microsoft’s commitment to Accessibility, you’ll find guides for vision, hearing, speech, mobility, and learning.

Building your application with accessibility features from the start is ideal, but you still can incorporate features into your current solution. Taking into account that over 1 billion people (or 15% of the world’s population) experience some form ability challenge, your market has room to grow.


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