Hasan Özdemir, a blind software developer thanks to his work for visually impaired users in Turkey, has been promoted to lead Microsoft's accessibility team at the company's U.S. headquarters.
Özdemir will be in charge of staff testing the accessibility features of commercial software that Microsoft develops for visually impaired, hearing-impaired and handicapped users.
Thirty-nine-year-old Özdemir, got interested into software development while still at high school. He is the mind behind Braille translation software that is widely used by visually-impaired in Turkey. He has worked for Microsoft Turkey for the past 10 years. He is the first visually-impaired and also a self-taught programmer in Turkey. He developed several text-to-speech programs before joining Microsoft. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Özdemir, said he overcame many odds to finish his education after he and his family migrated to Istanbul while he was 8. He learned English and discovered the world of computers. He became familiar with computers since he was very interested in technology and how technologies facilitating human life. So he decided to develop software and learned to code. Soon, he succeeded to code on his own and compiled a few programs and sold them to set up his own company.
Özdemir says the software he developed "touched the lives of thousands of disabled people." "This is really incredible, an amazing feeling to have people use your software. I originally developed them for my own use and it was only later I noticed other people needed to use them too," he says.
Among programs he developed is an authentic text-to-speech engine in Turkish, a Braille keyboard application that enables users to use only six keys for the entire functions of a keyboard, a program for a tactile printout for the visually impaired and a Windows learning kit for the visually impaired.
Özdemir stated that he wanted to touch other’s lives and help them to become more socialized in today’s world of technology.
While at Microsoft, he learned new programming languages and led projects for the disabled, like a voice library allowing visually impaired to have access to 40,000 books. Now he is appointed as software executive responsible for accessibility in commercial software development and in charge of overseeing accessibility options in the products and checking user feedback.
He now dreams of working on projects combining biology and technology. "I truly believe that it is through the technology that all disabilities can be eliminated in the future and I want to be a part of it when it happens," he says.
Last Updated: 5/22/2019 10:07:09 AM