[jaws-uk] Re: Gates Signs Deal On Software For The Blind

  • From: "Will Pearson" <will-pearson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <jaws-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 14:56:42 -0000

Hi Nigel,

I don't know whether it will affect Longhorn.  However, Longhorn is already 
looking really good in terms of accessibility.  Microsoft have introduced a 
replacement for MSAA, called UI Automation, which looks very impressive, and as 
I've previously mentioned, there will be programatic access to graphics drawn 
using vectors.  So, all the ingredients are there at the operating system level.

The ball is now in the court of the access technology vendors, and time will 
show what they bring.

It's worth while remembering that Microsoft have been including support for 
people with disabilities for some time now.  It initially started off with the 
deaf and hard of hearing, and then branched out to cover other disabilities.  
However, most of the things that are done by sighted users of a computer don't 
translate that well into speech.  Speech is a sequential and linear output 
modality, whilst vision is one that is parallel in nature.  So, most of the 
interactions that are designed for use by sighted users won't work with speech, 
and these are the sort of interactions that are fundamental to successful use 
of some types of software, such as drawing applications.  It is this domain of 
parallel presentation where I see the challenge for this decade, both in terms 
of academic research and as to where, in my opinion, technology vendors should 
be looking.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Nigel 
  To: jaws-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2004 11:50 AM
  Subject: [jaws-uk] Re: Gates Signs Deal On Software For The Blind

  About bloody time!
  Does this mean they will be helping out with longhorn?

    ----- Original Message ----- 
    From: Will Pearson 
    To: will-pearson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
    Sent: Monday, December 13, 2004 11:38 PM
    Subject: [jaws-uk] Gates Signs Deal On Software For The Blind


    Taken from the AP press release, as seen from Yahoo's news service.  Looks 
like MS might be moving towards entering the AT sector *smile*

    Gates Signs Deal on Software for the Blind
    Friday November 19, 8:56 pm ET

    Bill Gates Signs Deal in Spain to Make Better Software for People With 
Visual Impairments

    MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates signed an agreement 
Friday with a Spanish association for the blind to develop better software for 
    with visual impairments.

    Under the deal, Microsoft Corp. will work with the National Association of 
Blind Spaniards to enhance technology giving blind and visually impaired people
    access to the Internet.

    The idea is to improve software for equipment such as voice synthesizers 
and braille keyboards that allow computers to tell blind people what is on the
    screen in front of them, Gates told a news conference in Madrid.

    "Because software is so magic, we want broad access," said Gates, who met 
earlier in the day with Spanish government officials.

    The Spanish association, known as ONCE, has been working with Microsoft 
since 1997, when ONCE officials traveled to the company headquarters in Redmond,
    Washington, to help make Windows 98 accessible to blind people.

    The accord also calls for ONCE to join a group of companies that 
manufacture computer equipment for the blind and act as consultants to 

    The Spanish association was founded in 1938 and provides job training and 
other education programs for the visually impaired. It finances itself almost
    exclusively by selling lottery tickets.

    An estimated 1 million of Spain's 40 million people are blind or visually 

    Will Pearson
    Microsoft MVP (Visual Developer/VC++)

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