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 (erinwi@microsoft.com), 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.

3 thoughts on “Hector Minto is made accessibility evangelist at Microsoft UK

  1. Hi Hector.

    Most regrettably I missed your talk at the BDA. My interest is on behalf of my nephew (I am his guardian, since he is from a ‘Provision of Care background’) who suffers from both Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. He is currently in Upper 6th Form, and experiencing challenging times with A Level study (Maths, Economics and Geography) and applications for Apprenticeships (Psychometric testing on the English, punctuation and spelling, cause a particular problem and he gets no further in the application process)! He scores above average in attention to detail and can read patterns (we’ve gleaned from the feedback from the tests).

    Please could you advise how Microsoft software might be able to help him in these situations?

    Many thanks.

    Sophie Hutchison

  2. Hi Sophie. I received your email address from the moderator. I’ll reply with some more detail there. However, just in case it helps others, there is a large amount of work being done at Microsoft to level the playing field for people with dyslexia and dysgraphia. This work is focused around Office 365 and Windows 10. Highlights include;

    1. Immersive Reader/Read Aloud functions in OneNote, Word, Edge Browser (including ePub)
    2. Dictation in OneNote, Word, Powerpoint and Outlook.
    3. Inking in OneNote (with replay function)

    /Hector

  3. If you use OneNote you can download what Hector is talking about at :-
    http://www.onenote.com/learningtools
    It is free and a good addition to help your son’s needs

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