Microsoft has appointed an assistive technology specialist to head its accessibility activities in the UK.

Hector Minto, formerly of BATA member Tobii Technology, has been made Senior Technology Evangelist (Accessibility) at the company, a new role for the UK.

Based at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading, Minto is tasked with improving the employment opportunities of disabled people both within the company and among its customers.

He will also be working on policy, ensuring that Microsoft meets its legal and regulatory obligations.

“Another part of my job is to create a contact point for accessibility in Microsoft. In the past it has been hard to know where to contact us, if you are a developer,” he says.

Erin Williams (, Senior Supportability Product Manager, is the link for AT companies, says Minto.

“We want the AT industry to know where we are going: the sheer scale of the opportunity is bigger than we know.

“We need to have a symbiotic relationship that draws on the innovation of AT developers. Microsoft certainly doesn’t own accessibility.”

One of the reasons he was recruited, says Minto, is for his commercial background in AT. “We’ll have someone who knows what it takes to make a system work, to count the cost of sale and is able to get the message out.”

Minto’s CV reads like a roll call of the assistive technology industry. He began his career at speech specialist Toby Churchill before moving on to sensory company Spacekraft and then Possum Controls, the environmental control firm, where he created a new image for the company.

Next stop was eyegaze at Tobii Dynavox and then Tobii Technology. At Tobii Dynavox he developed the successful ‘EyeGaze Learning Curve’ which allows people with profound disabilities the opportunity to start using AAC at a much earlier stage.

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