Xbox Adaptive ControllerSource: Gamescom

What you need to know

  • Microsoft announces new lab that will help it create more inclusive products.
  • The lab is called the Inclusive Tech Lab.
  • The lab will help Microsoft build products for people with disabilities in mind.

Microsoft has announced at Ability Summit 2022 that it has formed a new "Inclusive Tech Lab" that's designed to help the company build more accessible and inclusive products and experiences. The company says the lab was created as an embassy for people with disabilities, and will demonstrate what is possible when products are intentionally built to be accessible by everyone.

Microsoft already has several products on the market that were built for people with disabilities in mind, including the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Surface Adaptive Kit, and the newly announced Microsoft Adaptive Accessories. All of these products have lead Microsoft to birth the Inclusive Tech Lab, where it will explore accessible design for every hardware and software product.

The Inclusive Tech Lab is a literal lab that allows Microsoft to explore product designs and gather feedback from people with disabilities:

The space is purpose-built to continue this work. It is highly modular and will adapt to specific needs over time and across different projects, allowing discussion and design sessions on products and services intended for home, the workplace, schools, and remote connections. It is a place designed to demonstrate what is possible when you intentionally and proactively include people with disabilities in the product-making process and strive to build products that are genuinely inclusive by design.

The Inclusive Tech Lab is intended to be an embassy for people with disabilities, not a space about them. It will include a showcase of Microsoft's accessible hardware, software, and services, as well as experiences created by our partners. Primarily, however, it is an inclusive design incubator where Microsoft and disability communities can ideate and evaluate product design and direction. It is a space where our designers can challenge assumptions while learning to recognize the exclusions and constraints faced by people with disabilities. We harness that understanding to create new ideas, designing for "one" and extending to many.

Alongside the announcement of its new Inclusive Tech Lab, Microsoft is also highlighting new accessibility features in Windows 11, Xbox, Edge, and has announced a new Microsoft Adaptive Accessories line that are designed to be modular and configurable.