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Xerox Software Makes Digital Copiers More Accessible

Press release from the issuing company

ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 20, 2003 -- Xerox Corporation has developed a new software that makes it easier for people who are blind or visually impaired to operate a digital copier. They can use the software, called the Xerox Copier Assistant, with a personal computer and the Xerox Document Centre 500 Series multifunction systems to make copies without assistance from others. "The Xerox Copier Assistant provides an alternative to the touch-screen controls typically found on digital office systems, which were a barrier to people who are blind or visually impaired," said A. Gidget Hopf, president and chief executive officer for the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired-Goodwill Industries of Greater Rochester, Inc. Xerox engaged ABVI members to test the Copier Assistant while it was under development. "Much of the final design reflects our feedback," added Hopf. Xerox Copier Assistant, which sells for $495, features an enlarged on-screen user interface, embedded text-to-speech software, and keyboard navigation buttons including tab, arrow and function keys. The software is loaded onto a PC connected to the Document Centre system. The text-to-speech software talks the user through the copying steps including advanced features such as stapling, collating and two-sided copying. "Enabling equal access to document equipment is part of Xerox's ongoing effort to help people find better ways to do great work," said Jack Azar, vice president, Xerox Environment, Health & Safety. "From the earliest stages of design, we incorporate features that make Xerox products easy to use and to operate." Through the years, Xerox has developed several accessories to help customers with disabilities become more productive in the office, including angled consoles, Braille console labels, and "start print" footswitches. Xerox Copier Assistant software, available April 1, will be sold through the Xerox direct sales force. In addition, Xerox will customize the software for upcoming digital office products as they are introduced. The Xerox Copier Assistant is designed to provide accessibility and ease of use in accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998. Section 508 requires that electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained or used by the federal government is accessible to people with disabilities.