Thursday, September 28, 2006

Helping the disabled helps everyone

Microsoft provides software options to assist people with disabilities ...

"Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system offers several ways for people with disabilities to tweak the software. There's a screen magnifier for the vision impaired, for example, and ways for people with limited dexterity to use the keyboard instead of the mouse.

But a few years ago when Microsoft researched how those technologies were being used, "most people didn't know about them," recalled Rob Sinclair, head of Microsoft's assistive technologies group.

That was particularly disappointing because the same research showed that accessibility-enhancing functions didn't just affect a small subset of users considered to be somehow "disabled." It turned out that 57 percent of computer users between 18 and 64 could benefit from some such feature, such as increasing text size or screen contrast to ease the job for tired eyes.

These realizations sparked an overhaul of how the world's largest software maker deals with disability access technologies, changes that will appear in the next generation of the company's flagship programs. Rival Apple Computer Inc. is also planning to upgrade the accessibility of its upcoming operating system for Macs."    (Continued via Belleville News-Democrat)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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