Web4All 2017 notes for April 3, 2017

Microsoft’s Inclusive HIring

Microsoft’s David Masters started the day with a keynote discussing Microsoft’s Journey Towards Inclusion

Microsoft has had a cultural shift in the last 18 months.
Their new mission statement is:

Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more

New commitment to accessibility

We will create and deliver technology that is accessible and functional for all people of all ages and we will continue to push the boundaries of what technology can do to empower every person on the planet. These are out guiding principles.

  • Products, services, web sites
  • Customers, NGOs and partners
  • Inclusive hiring
  • innovation
  • Readiness

70 percent of disabilities are invisible to the eye

Microsoft has been sharing their success stories, which encourages high quality candidates and is a virtuous circle.

Sourcing from disability partners

University Recruiting

  • Outreach to university disability resource centers
  • Disability scholarships for college students

Recruiting, interviewing, and on-boarding

  • Recruiter training
  • Disability Hiring Toolkit
  • ERG members help answer questions for a candidate about life at MSFT
  • Reimagining interviewing techniques

A window sticker on the Microsoft campus says “70% of disabilities are invisible to the eye”

Ability Summit

  • Bring engineering together with employees with disabilities_
  • People with disabilities are the experts_
  • Synergy of cultural change_

Microsoft Autism Hiring Program
Launched in 2015 as a pilot program.

Microsoft received 1,000 emails and 700+ resumes in just a few weeks after the Autism Hiring Program launched on WAAD in 2015. – @MSFTEnable

Cities Unlocked soundscape project to navigate a city.

Understanding accessibility as a process through the analysis of feedback from disabled students

The Open University was founded in 1960s.

Students are prompted to self disclose their disability when they register. There is a follow up survey for all students when a module is completed. These surveys help the accessibility efforts.

The responsibility for making learning accessible is spread across many stakeholders, from teachers to developers.

20,000 students have declared a disability
Disabled student satisfaction is similar to average
However, their student attainment is lower than average

Deaf or Hard of Hearing students have better results than other disabilities. Students with dyslexia and print disabilities have lower success.

Accessibility as a process, survey responses:

  • 93,000 comments from surveys in 2014-5
  • 6.000 from disabled students

Student survey responses were categorized by keywords for course-related, disability related, management, etc.

Teaching Accessibility to the Masses

A class was created for teaching accessibility auditing for the masses. This was inspired by a presentation at Web4All 2016 on the lack of pedagogical culture for accessibility. Key reasons:

  • Accessibility experts require technical expertise and a strong awareness of disability._
  • Lack of instruction in most computer science and web dev programs. _

The project was to create a course that could be incorporated into the university, but this had limits. So the instructions were moved outside the university.

Make it widely available,

  • Create Open Education Resources for integration with technical curriculum
  • investigate strategies for teaching accessibility
  • infuse developer community with accessibility knowledge an awareness
  • Ultimately: have alt knowledge and awareness find its way into computer science curriculum as grads become teachers.


  • Used Canvas.net as the MOOC as it has decent accessibility
  • engaging activities
  • student led
  • toolkit and resources
  • instructors as facilitators
  • fictitious web site storyline
  • digital badge for graduates


  • Overview
  • intro to WCAG
  • Automated testing tools
  • manual testing
  • assistive technology testing
  • User testing
  • web accessibility reporting
  • Other accessibility guidelines

Activities and engagement

  • The world outside your windows
  • WCAG 2 Scavenger Hunt
  • Critical evaluation of automated checkers
  • explore accessibility browser plugins
  • experience the web from a different perspective
  • finding user testers (disability orgs)
  • web accessibility in your part of the world
  • Using Chromevox with ARIA
  • informal review of lulu’s lollipop
  • results shared in the forums


  • 1200+ registrant
  • 524 started the course
  • 29% dropout week 1
  • ~8% dropout week 2 and 3
  • 24% who started completed
  • Ontario-focused. 50% of students from Ontario. 15-20 countries represented.

Intentions during the second version of the course

  • 44% intended to complete
  • 36% intending did complete
  • 15% of others also completed

This is better than standard outcomes percentages. MOOC courses typically have a very high dropout rate.

the next series will be in May

  • retest active/passive
  • rearrange the units to introduce screen reader experience and critical evaluations to the beginning of the class to raise engagement.

Active learning for web site evaluation

This project is trying to use a combination of sampling, artificial intelligence, and manual testing to provide an accessibility audit for Chinese government and public web sites. Over 1000 websites evaluated. Sampling was required due to size of web sites and limited resources


  • consider a web site with many web pages
  • select a few pages to be evaluated
  • learn a prediction model
  • apply the prediction and training model to remaining pages.






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