Microsoft Australia will today challenge the Australian chain to learn and embrace inclusive product design, arguing that it will be good for both their own businesses and the nation.
Microsoft’s effort is called “AI for Accessibility Toolkit & Challenge”. Anita Sood, the company’s head of software vendors and next-generation partnerships, told CRN that the name “Challenge” was chosen on purpose, to reflect the program’s mission to educate and spark new ideas in the field. chain, rather than promoting competition.
Sood also pointed out that more than four million Australians have a disability and that among them, around 400,000 use dedicated tools to help them in their daily lives. Designing for this audience, she said, therefore represents a huge opportunity in itself, as products that meet individual needs are more attractive to all Australians.
To illustrate these opportunities, Microsoft Australia will soon be making the company’s inclusive design toolkit and manual available to Australian partners. Both documents help software designers understand how to design for people of all skill levels.
CRN requested and obtained quick access to the Toolkit, which offers guidance such as those shown in the image below to explain how inclusive design to address users with disabilities can also create a product that works. address to other adjacent markets.
An excerpt from Microsoft’s Inclusive Design Toolkit
Sood would also like to point out that, as the graphic above shows, a tool that meets the needs of a person with a disability can also create a product with potential in other markets: software designed for a person with an injury. permanent arm can also help those people with a temporary injury, or someone like a new parent whose arms are often busy holding a young baby! These potential adjacencies, she said, demonstrate how learning about inclusive design can highlight new opportunities that can grow a distribution business.
Microsoft will offer more resources to anyone interested in inclusive design, some of which are used in training Microsoft’s own developers. Those who participate in the Challenge will also receive coaching as they develop their solutions. The three most promising entries for the Challenge will be unveiled in February 2019 and also at a global Microsoft forum.
Sood hopes Australian ISVs and the broader channel communities will both rise to the challenge, as she stressed that ideas don’t have to be technical to better serve users, anywhere.