Designing for Everyone

BOSTON, Aug. 3, 2000 — Today during a reception for the “Spirit of the ADA” Torch Relay, Microsoft accessibility strategist Greg Lowney accepted on Microsoft’s behalf the Ron Mace Designing for the 21st Century International Award, which honors the company’s visionary leadership in designing products that work for everyone. Lowney, who founded Microsoft’s Accessible Technology Group and leads the company’s ongoing effort to create software for the broadest range of users, including users with disabilities, was presented with the award that was first announced in June during the Designing for the 21st Century annual conference on universal design.

Microsoft, one of seven organizations honored this year, and the only software company to receive an award, was recognized for making the Internet, multimedia applications and the Windows operating system usable by the broadest range of people. Microsoft’s Accessible Technology Group is responsible for providing leadership in this area, both within the company and throughout the industry as a whole.

In his prepared remarks, Lowney said that technology must be flexible enough to accommodate a broad range of people’s needs and preferences. “It’s not providing separate solutions for some group we call ‘them,’ but expanding our definition of ‘us,’ ” he explained.

Other responsibilities of the Accessible Technology Group include: driving new accessibility technologies and techniques; coordinating ongoing work; building strong relationships with the disability community; and helping other groups throughout the company address accessibility as part of their work.

“Microsoft corporate policy states that it is the responsibility of everyone at Microsoft to deliver on this commitment, and to take the time and resources necessary to make sure all users can enjoy our products,”
Lowney said.

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