DUG4GOV Event Recap: How Microsoft Power Platform supports accessibility

January 30 2023

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W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 have been in place for several years as a standard for defining how to  improve accessibility for people with various disabilities. 

At the January 2023 DUG4GOV meetup, hosted by Microsoft and the Dynamics User Group (DUG), presenters from Microsoft talked about the importance for state and local governments to provide the same level of service online to all their constituents, regardless of their abilities. And they explained some of the ways that Microsoft Power Apps can be developed to conform to WCAG guidelines so people with vision, hearing, and other impairments can successfully use applications.

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than twice the average, according to the Accenture report "Getting to equal [is] the disability inclusion advantage," according to Mary Pantelopoulou, a business value engineer at Microsoft who spoke to the user group event.

Governments benefit from ensuring their workers with disabilities have the tools they need to do their jobs, she added. Organizations in the U.S. that support disability inclusion will have access to an additional talent pool of more than 10.7 million people.

"This population represents an enormous untapped talent pool at a time when we are all in need of great talent," Pantelopoulou told the audience.

Pantelopoulou explained that having employees with disabilities across departments helps ensure that a company's products and services are truly inclusive.  Making things more accessible for people with disabilities can also translate into products and services that benefit people without disabilities. For example, home devices using natural voice recognition, such as Alexa, were developed for people with disabilities.

During the presentation, Tim Hanewich, Power Platform Technical Specialist at Microsoft, gave a demonstration of how to incorporate accessibility features into the application development process. He discussed some of the core accessibility properties in Power Platform, like the TabIndex and AccessibleLabel properties. 

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