June 18, 2018 Mitchell Derrey

“Hold us to high standards,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella urged the audience. “What we want from you is that inspiration…what more we can do? What more should we do?”

Microsoft holds true to its mission of empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. I’ve heard this phrase for many years, but I saw it come to life most tangibly at Microsoft’s 2018 Ability Summit, where Nadella and Chief Accessibility Officer, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, gave an inspiring keynote centered on empowering people and enhancing their capabilities using AI.

When I started my career at Silver Fox Productions as a Presentation Specialist 10 years ago, accessibility was not a concept I was familiar with. But as I’ve matured in my career, I’ve had the opportunity to support many incredible clients, including Microsoft, who have broadened my view of the world and inspired me to consider all abilities when creating new designs.

Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to building products that are useful for people of all abilities. And in turn, I have seen the company’s passion for accessibility spark a cultural change in the world. A few years ago, accessibility was rarely brought up in design discussions. Now, most of our clients are talking about it, and bringing accessibility to the forefront of their own company cultures.

I came away from the Ability Summit asking myself, how can we at Silver Fox Productions help lead this cultural shift as a design firm? As Microsoft is using AI to augment the human experience, how can we use design to augment the human experience for people of all abilities?

In response to this question, we’ve already taken steps to emphasize accessibility across our whole client list. As we develop visual stories, we question our own design choices and concepts throughout the process, to ensure all people can access the information being shared.

We’re fortunate that PowerPoint, our primary medium, has many built-in accessibility tools, and we work with our design team consistently to ensure these tools are utilized in an efficient way in our fast-paced day-to-day design work.

It’s exciting to see how technology is leveling the playing field, so that people of all abilities have access to the same information and opportunities, and I’m proud to be a part of that work at Silver Fox.