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Gates Stresses Value of Digital Technology in Making Information More Accessible to People with Vision or Print Disabilities

Filed under: Accessibility,Microsoft — spiderwebwoman at 5:47 pm on Sunday, November 21, 2004

Imagine what it would be like if more than 95 percent of all print publications, from textbooks to popular novels to magazines and daily newspapers, were simply unavailable to you. For millions of people worldwide who are blind or have other print disabilities such as mobility impairments or learning disabilities that prevent them from using traditional printed materials, that limitation is a fact of life. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Last week, the Microsoft Accessible Technology Group (ATG) hosted a three-day international forum called, “Libraries for the Blind and Print Disabled: Moving Toward a Digital Future,” which attracted library representatives from around the world and featured a keynote address by Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect.

Gates talked about the advantages of digital technology over traditional analog formats, such as audio tapes, explaining how digital technology can lower the costs of converting and distributing content, enable libraries to share information more easily, and make more information available to more people. Gates also pointed out that digital formats often provide a better user experience for people who are blind or have print disabilities, allowing many different people to access the same information online simultaneously and making it easy for individual users to locate specific information within texts.

1 Comment


   Will Pearson

December 28, 2004 @ 4:52 pm   

I agree with the linkage between the growth of digital media and the growth of accessibility. The cost of production of Braille, tapes, etc. and their availability and transport are very limiting factors.

People need to access information for various reasons, and not being able to creates, to some extent, an under-class in this information society.

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