National Consumer Organization SHHH Awards Microsoft Top Honor For Progress in Making Software More Accessible to Hard-of-Hearing People

National Consumer Organization SHHH Awards Microsoft Top Honor For Progress in Making Software More Accessible to HardofHearing People —

PHOENIX – June 16, 1997 – The nation’s largest consumer organization for hard-of-hearing people, Self Help for Hard of Hearing People Inc. (SHHH), headquartered in Bethesda, Md., announced today it has awarded Microsoft Corp. its top honor for progress in making multimedia software accessible to people with hearing loss. SHHH cited the company’s commitment to working toward captioning all spoken commands and audio content.

Sam Jadallah, vice president of the organization customer unit at Microsoft, accepted the award today at the 12th International SHHH Convention in Phoenix.

“The SHHH Award for Access is not given every year. Only when a company truly distinguishes itself through a real commitment to expanding access does SHHH make the presentation,”
said Donna Sorkin, executive director of SHHH.
“Microsoft is leading the software industry through its work in this area. Access to this kind of technology for people with disabilities is critical to ensuring that every person can take advantage of the fantastic opportunities and new worlds opened to us by PCs and the Internet. Technology empowers people – it should empower everyone.”

“It is critical for Microsoft and other software companies to develop products and information technologies that are accessible and usable by all people,”
said Jadallah.
“We’ve made important progress and look forward to continuing to improve. PCs and the Internet can make a real difference in people’s lives. At Microsoft, our mission is to make really great software that empowers people. We are committed to improving accessibility with each new product release. Having our work, leadership and innovation in this area recognized with the SHHH Award for Access is a tremendous honor.”

In its award letter, SHHH said,
“By offering technology that makes it easier to write accessible applications, Microsoft is ensuring that people with hearing loss participate in the information age. Microsoft has been responsive to the needs of hard of hearing people through its commitment to working toward 100 percent captioning for spoken commands.”

Microsoft is pursuing a four-part strategy to making personal computers more accessible: making it easier for third-party vendors to create accessibility aids (such as blind access and voice input utilities); making it easier to make mainstream software accessible (by creating Microsoft Active Accessibility for Windows); promoting accessibility through public education; and making Microsoft products more accessible. Details are available at .

The Media Access department of WGBH in Boston has worked with Microsoft’s accessibility group to advance closed captioning technology. WGBH Media Access consists of The Caption Center, Descriptive Video Service® (DVS), and the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM). Together, these departments within the nation’s most successful public broadcasting organization have pioneered and delivered accessible media to disabled students, adults, and their families, teachers and friends since 1972.

“We congratulate Microsoft on this well-deserved award and their leadership efforts in making technology accessible to people with disabilities,”
said Larry Goldberg, director of the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media.
“Microsoft’s actions on many fronts have and will contribute to a more accessible Information Age that recognizes the diversity of users.”

SHHH is a nonprofit educational organization for hard of hearing people and their relatives and friends who are devoted to the interests of people who do not hear well.

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