innovation and digital accessibility, a meaningful relationship

Philippe Trotin

For several years, innovation has included an eco-responsible dimension. Innovative companies thus carry out projects converging towards the same ambition: to facilitate the inclusion of all. Interview with Philippe Trotin, referent on disability issues at Microsoft France and director of inclusion and digital accessibility.

As Director of Inclusion and Digital Accessibility, what are your day-to-day tasks?

Philippe Trotin: Raise awareness, inform and train staff on this topic of digital accessibility. As such, I host webinars, attend dedicated trade fairs or organize specific training sessions for our clients. Very often, many of them do not have full knowledge of the tools that contribute to accessibility and are already present in their work environment.

What was the impact of the health crisis on this accessibility component?

Companies have accelerated their digital transformation. We’ve gone from 30 million monthly active users of Microsoft Teams before the COVID-19 crisis to almost 270 million today, that’s to say! Digital and accessible collaboration solutions have therefore undergone strong development. At Microsoft France, we have accelerated the release of several features such as subtitling that can integrate translation, transcription to be able to record a conversation in text or the possibility of specifying interpreters in the preview version of Teams…

What do you think are the challenges of digital accessibility?

Digital accessibility covers three areas: the work environment, application development and communication/marketing. Companies must cover these three fields if they want to recruit people with disabilities. From the optimized keyboard to voice dictation, via the eye sensor, today there are features for almost all types of disabilities. Similarly, with the legal obligation, companies are working on the accessibility component of their winternet site. However, internally, IT departments still need to be made aware and informed to better understand all the features that can help the employability of employees with disabilities. For managers, it is also an issue linked to the overall performance of the company and not only to its image. Voice dictation, for example, is a guarantee of productivity both for the person with a disability and for all employees. Therefore, the difference in skills between the latter and the able-bodied employee is no longer a subject. An innovative computer tool can therefore reassure the manager and help him change his point of view on the notion of inclusion. An inclusive business attracts young talent just as an accessible site helps to increase its business. The diversity of talents is the basis of the wealth and sustainability of the companies of tomorrow.

What projects are you working on?

We tend towards universal accessibility with tools that are aimed at all users, everywhere in the world. A major societal challenge on which we are working with other companies. We are working on several projects in this direction, particularly with students: voice dictation adapted to mathematical equations, or a tool to help create documents in Easy To Read and Understand integrated into the Word software. All these solutions will make it possible to improve the daily life and the integration of people with disabilities.

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