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Vision Australia National Manager Digital Access Neil King

Australia, in a 2013 study, displayed a significantly better situation with regards to digital accessibility, than the 27 combined EU countries, and is further down the road to inclusion than the US. But much improvement is still required. Word is a raw source document. For most organisations it's the most common communication format. Word documents are only accessible though if we make them accessible. The Document Accessibility Toolbar makes the process of creating and validating accessibility much quicker and easier. Within organisations, the DAT facilitates a new approach to accessibility, where implementation becomes business as usual, and awareness is driven from the ground up. Technology is levelling the playing field for people with disabilities or age-related impairments. The DAT is yet another innovation from Vision Australia that enables greater inclusion.

Microsoft Australia Corporate Affairs Manager David Masters

We have a lot of accessibility features in Word and Microsoft Office, and I think a lot of people just aren't aware of them.  And, so, for an organisation to make those easily discoverable and easy to find and to provide a process and a system that helps employees in that organisation to create accessible documents is a great step. I think that the Document Accessibility Toolbar will really help organisations to introduce accessibility in their day to day work by raising the awareness of accessibility and as they're working through documents, show them what accessibility features and functions there are available to them, to make those documents more accessible. 

ACCAN Director of Operations - Deputy CEO Narelle Clark

The internet is full of documents created with Microsoft Word. And, many of them are meaningless and unusable if you are blind or vision impaired. Hence, when we saw Vision Australia's proposal to develop a document accessibility toolbar, in the ACCAN grants scheme, we knew it could really change things for the better. The competitive ACCAN grants scheme funds projects which undertake research on telecommunication issues, represent consumers or create educational tools that enable consumers to understand and to use telecommunication products and services more effectively.  With funding won in the scheme, Vision Australia has created the first tool for general release that automates ways to implement accessibility techniques in Microsoft Word. It makes creating accessible documents very easy. You can even test documents out with its inbuilt screen reader. ACCAN commends the team at Vision Australia for creating the tool and we're extremely proud to be involved and to have helped them along the way. In the longer-term, we really hope to see the toolbar become a standard feature in Microsoft Word and other similar programs so that accessible documents become the norm.

Vision Australia Chair Andrew Moffat

Ongoing innovation in technology is critical in levelling the playing field for people with disabilities or age-related impairment. Vision Australia has already contributed to a number of internationally-acclaimed accessibility tools such as the Web Accessibility Toolbar and Colour Contrast Analyser. The Document Accessibility Toolbar is yet another innovation from Vision Australia that seeks to even the playing field for people with a disability. Accessibility is critical in increasing an individual’s participation, interactions, education, and employment opportunities. All people have the right to equal access to information and the Document Accessibility Toolbar goes one step further to making this happen. 

Vision Australia Advocacy Advisor Karen Taranto

Vision Australia’s Document Accessibility Toolbar, the DAT, enables users to make Word documents accessible. The DAT is free to download and is quick and simple to use which enables opportunities for self-advocacy for people who are blind or have low vision. If you are supplied with a document that is inaccessible you can make contact with the relevant organisation to encourage them to download the DAT for free. By spreading the word about the DAT you can help extend the reach of accessible information.

Vision Australia client Caroline Lane

Being legally blind, I have encountered many situations where I could not access information that was accessible to me. However, with the help of many people and especially the DLUs (Disability Liaison Unit) from university, such information has been translated in a more accessible format, and this has been extremely important throughout my university degree.

Vision Australia client Jack Tyrell

I use a product called JAWS. There is nothing worse and more frustrating than when documents are not accessible. You just can't do anything and you just want to give up. It means everything to have an accessible document.

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