5th European eAccessibility Forum
Benefits and costs of e-accessibility

28/03/2011, 9:00 - 18:00
Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie - 30 Avenue Corentin Cariou 75019 - Paris, France

  Version française
Printable version

Good Business : Building Core Accessibility Skills Within Organizations

Bonnie Kearney
Director of Accessibility Marketing, Microsoft

Speaker's information

Bonnie Kearney photo

Bonnie Kearney, director of accessibility marketing at Microsoft, is an expert at analyzing customer trends and their affect on the market for accessible technology products. Her job is developing outreach strategies consistent with those trends to make accessible technology more readily available to the growing number of people likely to benefit from it, including the aging population and people with disabilities. Bonnie has worked in a variety of business divisions at Microsoft during her 15 years with the company including Office, Windows, and Entertainment & Devices. She currently manages the Accessibility marketing team responsible for public relations, Accessibility technology developer relations, communications, events and evangelism within in the Trustworthy Computing Division at Microsoft.  Bonnie attended the Antioch University Graduate Management Program (M.S.B.) and has Bachelor of Arts degrees in both International Studies and Advanced Writing from the University of Washington.



Warning : The short papers of this conference have been prepared by BrailleNet who accept any responsibility for them. But presentation materials provided for download (full-papers or slides) have been provided by the authors themselves.

Governments, Businesses and Organizations are faced with the sometimes daunting task of retaining an aging workforce, accommodating individual employee needs, and providing access to information and services in an accessible and sustainable way.

Developing community awareness of the opportunities and challenges in IT development early in the development cycle is an important step in building a sustainable accessibility model.

These investments must be economically considered through Western demographic trends: In the US, 1 of 4 people experiences trouble with their vision and 1 of 5 people experiences trouble with their hearing. 74, 2 million computer users have impairment. Considering in addition that 1.4 billion people will be over 55 years old in 2020, a strong marketing argument exists to make firms invest in e-accessibility. These investments must be made first in training employees.

Training to make employees aware of accessibility importance: for Microsoft, that means IT professionals, developers and decision makers. However, there's a problem in the industry. Usually, the first time ITpros heard the words “accessibility”, “ease of use”, or “universal design”, is when there is a bug filed against their product. It's not scalable and it implies usually on-the-job training. Therefore, it is necessary to put into place a process, something repeatable, enforceable, harmonized, which is very important to a global company. If Italy does something very innovative, how does Microsoft meet their needs and Japan's for example?

Harmonization is a key-goal as well as effective internal controls: how does Microsoft test, design, and check work to make sure it is meeting the needs of all disabilities? One solution is to make accessibility awareness viral and to make Microsoft internal training externally available. Microsoft recently releases multiple tools in order to increase internally and externally IT people awareness. The objective is to build a community around accessibility so that in the developing field of e-accessibility Microsoft could display a strong marketing advantage but also in order to efficiently reduce costs of e-accessibility.



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