Technology Microsoft’s five-year accessibility pledge begins with AI improvements for Office and more
Microsoft exchange hack: China still part of Microsoft's game plan, even after Hafnium incident
Microsoft has blamed a huge attack on its Exchange email service on a group linked to China. © Sipa USA The picture shows Microsoft China Company Building, an Internet software giant in caohejing Development Zone, Shanghai. But fallout from the incident, which is estimated to have affected hundreds of thousands of customers worldwide, is unlikely to blunt attempts by one of the most successful Western firms in China to continue making inroads there.
Big Tech's efforts to improve accessibility are a. Microsoft, which has been around a lot longer than its counterparts, has been leveraging that experience in its bid to improve inclusivity across its and . In 2020, it offered insights into how it's in the past, along with its first-ever report on . Now, it's using some of that wisdom to plan for the next five years.
Today, Microsoft has announced a "technology-led" commitment to create more opportunities for disabled people. The strategy takes in its productivity software, AI datasets, retail presence and internal diversity statistics to build toward "a workplace that is more inclusive for people with disabilities."
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Grover Norquist, the high priest of Republican tax-cutting, may not be as prominent as he was in the 1990s, but he is the reason that Joe Biden can’t afford to lose a single senator or more than a handful of House members without losing his entire economic agenda. Norquist, who once said his goal is to starve the government down to the size “where we can drown it in the bathtub,” has been remarkably successful at shaping a political environment that makes it hard to even talk about, let alone succeed in, raising taxes. He’s in a tight corner now, but it would be dangerous to write him off as old news. When President George H.W.
In terms of consumer-facing changes, Microsoft is launching “accessible by design” features in Microsoft 365. The options include a new background checker that can help fix content accessibility issues across the core Office apps and Outlook. While AI in Microsoft Word will detect and convert to heading styles for blind and low-vision readers. By utilizing artificial intelligence Microsoft is hoping to automate accessibility, so that one day it's as straightforward as "spell check is today."
Excel is also getting a new navigation pane designed for screen readers that can help people discover objects in spreadsheets. In keeping with the focus on comprehension, Microsoft is expanding Immersive Reader (originally designed for people with dyslexia and dysgraphia) to PowerPoint slides and notes.
Why tech accessibility matters, and the long road to improving it
A growing list of companies including Google and Apple are incorporating more accessible design, but progress lags. Here's why experts say that needs to change."Tech is the most exciting area because there's so much that you can do around accessibility to create universal access for people," Anner said.
Not forgetting LinkedIn, the social network is adding auto-captioning for live broadcasts and launching captions for enterprise content and dark mode later this year. Finally, high-contrast mode in Teams can be used to access shared content using PowerPoint Live. This, according to Microsoft, will help to reduce eye strain and accommodate light sensitivity with dark mode in Word.
Beyond consumers, Microsoft's new educational and workforce initiatives are targeted at students and its own personnel. The company is releasing Reflect in Microsoft Teams, which offers support for social learning to help students with their emotional vocabulary. A Microsoft Reading Progress app is also in the pipeline to help teachers digitally test for reading fluency over time.
Internally, Microsoft will expand its disability representation survey to 45 additional countries and 90 percent of its workforce. In October, the company revealed that 6.1 percent of its US employees self-identified as having a disability.
NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for April 17, 2021
Players in the protocol are: Colorado's Bowen Byram, Philipp Grubauer and Joonas Donskoi; Edmonton's Dmitry Kulikov; Los Angeles' Matt Roy; Montreal's Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson; Philadelphia's Jackson Cates; Toronto's Nick Foligno, Riley Nash and Ben Hutton; and Vancouver's Nate Schmidt and Jake Virtanen. Read more here.APRIL 15The NHL has confirmed that the Vancouver Canucks will not return to play from their lengthy COVID-19 pause Friday night versus the Edmonton Oilers as originally hoped.
On the data side, Microsoft is promising more partnerships with the disability and accessibility community worldwide, with details to be announced in the coming year. The company previously joined forces withto create an open dataset of pictures of people with ALS, designed to help in the development of better tools for eye or facial control of devices. Finally, Microsoft Stores is announcing ASL video call capability to connect deaf customers with dedicated support staff that can help them to shop for products.
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