A recognized expert and advocate for technology accessibility, Microsoft Word MVP Karen McCall has been calling for a role for MVPs to help Microsoft enhance accessibility. With the new MVP Accessibility initiative, she got her wish.
What are you working on these days?
"I’m currently working on short help topics for Word 2013 and PowerPoint 2013. These are free from the Karlen Communications website. My topics come from questions from people with disabilities who use adaptive technology. I’m also writing a chapter for my book “Accessible and Usable PDF: Techniques for Document Authors, Fourth Edition” on using Office 2013 applications to create accessible documents that can then be converted to tagged accessible PDF. And I’m continuing my work as a Canadian delegate to the ISO PDF/UA committee which sets the standards for accessible PDF and looking for any opportunity to discuss the importance of accessible document design,” said Karen.
What does it mean to you to be an MVP?
“Being an MVP means that I have a lot more ‘influence’ when I talk about the accessibility of documents, presentations or workbooks. Being an MVP also means that people with and without disabilities come to me with issues related to creating accessible documents using Microsoft products or being able to access features of Office applications. I was very surprised when I first received the Microsoft MVP Award for Microsoft Word. I hadn’t known the award existed. I am also proud of my advocacy for Accessibility MVPs and the fact that, as of this year, we now have 70 Accessibility MVPs chosen from among the MVP community.”
What’s your favorite MVP moment?
“I have two favourite MVP moments: The first is when I attended my first MVP Summit and was quite overwhelmed by the level of skill of fellow MVPs and the acceptance of someone with a disability as an equal. It was impressive to see other people with disabilities at the Summit. My second favourite moment was when I was recognized as an Accessibility MVP in addition to being an MVP for Microsoft Word. It demonstrates a commitment from Microsoft toward those of us with disabilities and creates a new community of mentors and leaders in the area of accessibility for those in the global Microsoft community.”
What’s your favorite current technology tip?
“I’m doing some research into public transport for those of us with disabilities and have just completed a discussion paper. I learned how to use the Citation and Bibliography tool with my screen reader. I love it! While the Content Controls aren’t accessible, I found it easy to insert a Citation and to then create a Bibliography for the document. As my screen reader got stuck in the content Controls, I also learned how to work around that. (I’ll be returning to Footnotes and Endnotes until Content Controls are accessible.) It was easy to add documents to the Citation database using my screen reader which meant a lot less keyboarding for the Bibliography!”