1999 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 1999 Conference Table of Contents


MS PHONE: ACCESSIBLE BY DESIGN

David Bolnick
Microsoft Corporation
Redmond, WA

The Microsoft Cordless Phone System is much more than an ordinary phone or answering machine. It is the first 900MHz cordless phone that links to the PC to help the user manage calls and messages with greater control and flexibility. By combining the power of the PC and the Microsoft Call Manager software, the Microsoft Cordless Phone System helps users manage their calls.

Once the software is installed and the user has entered some names in the address book, they can start using the phone system like any other phone, in any room in their house. The Microsoft Call Manager software running on the PC gives the user more convenience and flexibility than other phones because it includes Voice Command dialing, enhanced Caller ID features, and a sophisticated voice mail system. The user places calls by speaking into their phone and saying a simple phrase like "Call Mom" or "Call the Office." The Microsoft phone recognizes up to 40 different names and numbers. In addition, the user can navigate through their messages using voice commands. The phone has Caller ID. As a result the user can let their phone or PC announce the caller's name before they pick up the phone. The user can either answer the phone, or let the call go to voice mail. The Microsoft Phone also supports Private Greetings. The user can create private greetings for different callers, like "Hi Tom, we're not home right now. Please leave a message." Caller Priorities (assign priorities to incoming calls) lets high priority callers ring through while the Do Not Disturb feature is turned on. The system can also send calls right to voicemail and block unwanted calls.

With the Microsoft Phone, users can create multiple mailboxes for personal or business calls and track calls automatically. The Call Manager application records name, phone number, date, time and duration of the last 1,000 calls made by the user. Phone users can retrieve messages stored on their PC from anywhere - the cordless handset, the PC, or from a remote phone. The 40 channel, 900MHz cordless phone gives the user greater range and clarity than a standard cordless phone.

Microsoft Phone includes many features that benefit individuals with disabilities. From TTY compatibility to the shape and positioning of buttons for ease of use by individuals who are blind, Microsoft Phone is the latest example of a Microsoft product that addresses accessibility by design. In addition, the Microsoft Phone was the first Microsoft product to benefit from a review by the company's Access Review Boards. These boards cover issues for users with a range of disabilities. Microsoft's Hardware Group incorporated the boards feedback which shaped the final product and made it accessible.

Microsoft Phone has the following accessibility features for users who are hearing- or visually-impaired, or have some disability that makes it difficult to pick up the handset:


Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 1999 Conference Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings


Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.