Creating accessible digital experiences is now more critical than ever. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, millions of people have been subjected to stay-at-home quarantine orders and forced to perform more tasks online.
The internet has become more than a source of important health updates and news; it is now a safer way to purchase groceries, educate students, and connect with friends and family (not to mention doctors, colleagues, supervisors, and other support systems).
Though the pandemic rages on, even when it’s nothing but a memory, everyone, including people with disabilities, will continue to rely on websites and mobile apps in their day-to-day life more than ever.
The urgency of accessibility
With COVID-19 rapidly accelerating the reliance on digital communications and technology, now is the time to prioritize accessibility.
Students are learning remotely, and the gap in accommodations for children with disabilities will only put them further behind. A new reliance on remote office work lays bare the need for accessible technology that will allow people of all types of abilities to perform their work from home.
There has never been a more critical time to focus on accessibility because, without it, we risk excluding a part of the population that has only just begun to feel included in the technological revolution of the past few decades.
Recognizing Microsoft’s accessibility efforts
Microsoft was invested in accessibility long before COVID-19 started ravaging the planet. They developed the tools and software to create, test, and enjoy digital technology with accessibility in mind. For them, creating innovative, accessible technology was not only a responsibility but also an opportunity to ensure employees of all abilities feel valued and part of a team. Accessible products offered the chance to reach more customers, expand their business, and help as many people as possible.
Thanks to Microsoft’s native integrations and supplemental tools, people using Microsoft Office products can easily make documents, presentations, websites, and mobile apps accessible to people with disabilities.
Utilizing Microsoft’s native features and supplemental tools for accessibility
Inclusive digital content and programs are critical to the success of your employees and customers. Fortunately, Microsoft’s accommodations help support people with all types of abilities. For example:
- Microsoft Teams is a great accessible platform for collaboration and meetings
- Microsoft Stream provides automated video captioning
- Microsoft’s native Accessibility Checker feature helps create and maintain accessible documents, presentations, websites, and apps
Resources to get started
Microsoft offers a variety of resources that communicate their accessibility efforts and features to help support your initiatives:
- Microsoft Enable YouTube Channel
- Overview of all their accessibility initiatives
- Seeing AI app – assistance for visually impaired
TPGi has been helping to raise awareness and providing support for digital accessibility guidelines since our inception in 2002. We applaud Microsoft’s commitment to accessibility and look forward to their future initiatives.
Contact us today for support to help reach your organization’s accessibility goals.