Creating a comprehensive, cross-platform -- and backward-compatible -- accessibility standard is important, particularly as more government agencies and public organizations move to the Web. The U.S. Department of Education, for instance, reported a 400 percent increase in students with disabilities currently in school since 1991.
Microsoft has opened up its usability specifications, the User Interface Automation (UIA), to the Accessibility Interoperability Alliance (AIA), a group formed to develop standards for making user interfaces more accessible to people with disabilities.
"We are trying to remove the barriers to creating technologies that are more accessible and work across all platforms," said Norm Hodne, Microsoft Windows Accessibility Lead. "We've creating the plumbing that works between software applications and operating systems."
January 23, 2008