Our vision is to create innovative technology that is accessible to everyone and that adapts to each person's needs.

Accessible technology eliminates barriers for people with disabilities and it enables individuals to take full advantage of their capabilities."

-Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

At Microsoft®, our commitment to creating the most accessible development platform in the world runs deep. In 1997, Microsoft Active Accessibility® was released, providing a solid foundation for the first generation of accessible applications. Eleven years later, Microsoft Active Accessibility still powers millions of applications around the globe. UI Automation extends the legacy of Microsoft Active Accessibility and provides support for managed application development through the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Windows 7 introduces additional accessibility features for end users, as well as UI Automation improvements in performance, extensibility, and expanded platform support.

In November of 2007, Microsoft entered into an agreement with Novell to extend UI Automation support to the Linux Accessibility Toolkit. This agreement, entered into under the Microsoft Community Promise Specification initiative, extends UI Automation support to the Linux platform, increasing interoperability and further demonstrating Microsoft’s commitment to the accessibility community.

Within these pages you’ll find a number of technical articles describing the state of accessible application development, as well as overviews of the latest platform support for accessibility in some of Microsoft’s most exciting products, including Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Silverlight, and Internet Explorer 8. For those interested in learning the basics, this issue provides a thorough overview of accessible application development, intended for those who are completely new to the space.

Our mission at Microsoft is to help people everywhere meet their full potential. Our commitment to accessibility is core to who we are-it’s a first-class service in every product that we ship, and a set of investments we continue to grow year after year, product after product. Quite simply, making the computer easier to see, hear, and use is what we’re all about.

Rob Sinclair

Director of Accessibility

Microsoft Corporation