Microsoft now has a dedicated inclusive co-design space where staff and community members work together.
The Microsoft Inclusive Tech Lab is a hub for product development where members of the disability community get to co-design, test, share, and create more inclusive and accessible products. This is where staff and community members work together to create inclusive products for Microsoft.
Microsoft announced new accessibility initiative at the Microsoft Ability Summit. The lab has every support to accommodate every disability. This dedicated space means more people can participate in the co-design process.
The lab is the next step on from the dedicated Xbox team and the Adaptive Controller. Some of the team members got together and created the space and then it evolved beyond gaming to other products.
The lab is described as an embassy for people with disability to demonstrate what is possible when products are intentionally built to be accessible for everyone. See more in the video below.
The lab design
The Tech Lab team had to design the space from the ground up. The floor design has visually distinct patterns. Tactile surfaces like wood and carpet makes them easier to distinguish for people using canes. Felt baffles help with acoustics and lighting levels are controllable. Care was taken with the design of bathrooms, door widths and doorways.