Tuesday, October 04, 2005

IBM Announces...!

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IBM has released a set of software programs to help older workers with age-related disabilities stay productive at the office.

The free programs, which Big Blue introduced Monday, are part of the company's efforts to help U.S. businesses deal with a growing proportion of older people in the work force. Seven out of 10 Americans plan to work past the age of 65, according to a recent survey by the American Association of Retired Persons, which IBM cited.
"Organizations face the need to maintain an older and productive work force to preserve years of valuable work experience and expensive job turnover," IBM said in a statement. "Accessibility technologies can help the maturing work force remain productive by providing features and functions that make information technology usable by a person with a disability."

Among the programs, which IBM is giving away online, are mouse-smoothing software that filters out the shaking movements for people with hand tremors and a keyboard program that adjusts for longer- or shorter-than-normal key presses as well as for one-handed typing.

Another tool automatically reformats Web pages to accommodate people with poor eyesight, magnifying text and modifying fonts and layouts. It also offers a text-to-speech feature.

In addition, IBM launched an online resource guide for software developers concerned with computer accessibility. It plans to distribute accessibility technology, including these free programs, through the site.

In a related effort, IBM announced last week a new business consulting service to help companies deal with a growing number of workers hitting retirement age. In August, the company pledged to donate to the Mozilla Foundation software designed to make the Firefox Web browser friendly to people with disabilities.

Look here for the programs.