Accessibility, Microsoft Azure, and how technology drives inclusivity

Andy Readman, Pax8 Principal Solutions Architect

Microsoft is paving the way for inclusivity in the tech industry.

Accessibility is one of the most pressing issues facing the technology industry today. Software tools, like VinVL and DrawingBot, are already allowing people previously excluded from online communities to participate in a greater number of discussions. The key to a more inclusive and accessible society lies in the hands of the tech industry. Software is already operating within certain sectors to facilitate a greater level of inclusivity, but there’s still scope for greater and more positive impact.

Microsoft’s products are designed with the end-user in mind, meaning that swathes of their products are built with inclusivity at the forefront. By training your team to understand the ways Microsoft solutions will empower your clients, your MSP business becomes a force for positive change in the industry.

What Do We Mean by Accessibility?

To address what we mean by ‘accessibility’ with regards to technology, we must first define the term ‘disability.’ It refers to the inability to use something designed for the masses: a product, service, or piece of software for example. To design a product or service that’s truly accessible, it must be designed so that anyone can use it, regardless of whatever mental or physical challenges they may experience.

It’s Time to Build More Accessible Products

Ability is a spectrum – there’s no ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ way to ‘be’ or use technology. It’s time to ramp up the empathy bubble; people might have comparable experiences that would enable them to create a more universally accessible product. There’s no one-size-fits all when it comes to technology. Considering the restrictions that a user might be experiencing when using the technology will enable the designer to produce a more inclusive and user-friendly product.

Building a technical product or service that is inclusive is a prerequisite for building a ‘good’ product. It can’t be good if it isn’t accessible. Technologists must consider every need and requirement that a user might have when using a product, and this extends to sales too. MSPs must ask themselves: how are these products and solutions supporting and empowering all end users? This is a key element of any cloud solution.

How Microsoft Already Drives Inclusivity

More than 1 billion people across the world use a Microsoft product or service. The technology giant is an industry leader when it comes to digital accessibility and is already implementing mass change. Users with ADHD or visual impairment, for example, are already supported by Microsoft software. Accessibility is built into the Microsoft ecosystem, and the team is trained to be transparent and supportive of one another’s needs and requirements. Inclusivity begins at the grass roots. In order to make a truly accessible product, the team producing it needs to be supported at work, and those selling it need to be aware of the users’ requirements.

How Microsoft Can Boost Businesses’ Inclusivity

Microsoft recognises that accessibility is never a bolt-on. It’s an intrinsic part of any product and service and should always be at the forefront of any tech organisation. Microsoft offers a complimentary training course designed to help users leverage the full power of Microsoft products.

Microsoft’s free ‘Accessibility Fundamentals’ course is designed to help businesses understand the extent to which the technology they are using and selling can maximise inclusivity. Work with Pax8 to leverage the full power of Microsoft and empower your team and clients as a result.

Explore Microsoft solutions
Schedule a call

Empower your clients’ teams with Microsoft solutions.