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  • Chris McMillan

This Global Accessibility Awareness Day, let’s talk tech and employment for people with disabilities

19th May 2022

This Global Accessibility Awareness Day, let’s talk tech and employment for people with disabilities

By Jenny Lay-Flurrie - Microsoft Chief Accessibility Officer

The Microsoft Accessibility Team in the new Inclusive Tech Lab at Microsoft HQ

Today we honor the 11th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD is a day of awareness focused on digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities around the world. The pandemic has grown the disability demographic and widened the disability divide. Yet there are the seeds of positive change. As Caroline Casey, Founder & Creator of The Valuable 500 said at the Microsoft Ability Summit last week, “We’re seeing a move since the pandemic… recognition from businesses that accessibility is not a ‘niche’ issue for people with disabilities, it’s an issue that needs to be completely invested in for communication for consumers and employees.” We couldn’t agree more. We’re proud that accessibility is part of our culture here at Microsoft.

Here’s more on our journey to bridge the disability divide in partnership with disability community and accessibility experts around the world.


Technology has the power to empower. Our responsibility is to raise the bar for what is possible with technology for people with disabilities and deliver on the potential of inclusive design.

This month, Microsoft has introduced several new features and products that deliver on that potential, and many of those ideas came from you.

Windows 11 is the most accessible Windows ever. You asked us to make accessibility features easy to find and use, so we flipped the name from ‘Ease of Use’ to ‘Accessibility’ and added a new accessibility pane and human icon to make it easier to use and find accessibility features. Those new features include Live Captions (available online and offline); new Natural voices for screen reader users; Voice Access; and (my new favorite) focus mode, which allows you to turn off notifications.

Accessibility can make content more inclusive, whether or not you know if someone has a disability.


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