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Microsoft's announcement of plans to release a 'Save As DAISY' plug-in for Microsoft Word 2007 has been warmly welcomed by accessibility campaigners including Julie Howell, director of accessibility at digital design agency Fortune Cookie .

The DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) XML format promises to revolutionise print-disabled people’s access to electronic information.

At least 8 million people in the UK are 'print-disabled'. Conditions such as dyslexia or loss of sight mean they cannot read standard size print in the conventional way. Many print-disabled people rely on synthetic speech to navigate electronic text.

Unstructured electronic text is usually linear and slow to navigate. DAISY XML provides structure to electronic text that enables print-disabled people to read it quickly and effectively. When a document is made available in DAISY XML the reader can jump easily between the different page elements, for example from heading to heading, and from a heading to the associated place in the main text and back again.

On 13 November 2007, Microsoft announced the development of a free, downloadable plug-in for Microsoft Office Word 2007 that can transform Open XML-based documents into DAISY XML. Print-disabled people will use the plug-in to convert Word 2007 documents into the DAISY format for easier navigation and quicker reading.

Howell says, "The 'Save As DAISY' plug-in will make it easy for disabled people to convert Open XML documents into DAISY XML. We applaud Mircosoft for working with the DAISY Consortium on a product that will transform print-disabled people's access to electronic text."

Howell believes that many of Fortune Cookie's clients will benefit from Microsoft's initiative. "Our transport and travel industry clients need to communicate complex timetables and itineraries with maximum usability and accessibility. DAISY is the perfect way to make such information accessible to print-disabled people and anyone who chooses to navigate the web using sound. The Microsoft plug-in will make it much easier for those who need information in DAISY to create it."

Fortune Cookie, a Microsoft partner, champions accessible web design and was the first digital design agency to receive RNIB's coveted See It Right award for the accessibility of its website.

Recent projects include a redesign of the Legal & General website . The project has been short-listed in the 'Outstanding Achievement in Accessibility' category of the 2007 BIMA Awards. The BIMA Awards ceremony will take place in London on 29 November 2007.

For further information, contact Julie Howell, Director of PR, Fortune Cookie at julie.howell@fortunecookie.co.uk

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Fortune Cookie in the following categories: Consumer Technology, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.