Brad Smith, the President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, recently announced a new hire and strategic initiative that portends an exciting future for accessibility in Microsoft’s product offerings.
Those magical words of “culture change” towards an inclusion-oriented thought process when it comes to the development of anything from internal human resources structure to communications to the actual products themselves appear to be manifesting themselves at Microsoft. Jenny Lay-Flurrie leads the way as Microsoft’s new Chief Accessibility Officer and along with Susan Hauser and Rob Sinclair will continue on a path towards a future where access is the norm rather than something to be advocated for.
We continue to believe that access is smart business practice because any business with services and products that cost significant resources to develop wants to cater to as large of a market as possible. With moves like these by Microsoft, businesses can reap previously unimagined rewards.
But the greatest rewards take place in the actual implementation of these tools by a diverse marketplace of consumers. That implementation of many newly accessible tools has the ability to unleash a new wave of intellectual contributions simply because those tools are there as well as the willingness to use them. It seems so basic of a premise but with one out of every five individuals in the United States having a disability, that’s a lot of boxes to think outside of.
Nice job, Microsoft! We look forward to seeing what comes of this effort.