(Canada Newswire; 01/12/98)

EDMONTON, Jan. 12 /CNW/ - Madenta Communications Inc. today announced an agreement with Microsoft Corporation, of Redmond, Wash., that will allow Microsoft to package a version of Madenta's industry leading onscreen keyboard - ScreenDoors II - with future Windows operating systems.

Need for Accessibility in Cyberspace

Education and legislation have improved accessibility for the disabled in recent years. Curb cuts, automatic door openers, and many public areas displaying the "handicapped" symbol (such as parking stalls and public washrooms) are a few examples of changes that are now commonplace. No such standards exist in cyberspace.

"The fact is, cyberspace is the one community where those with physical disabilities are on an even playing field with the rest of the world" says Randy Marsden, Madenta's President and CEO. Madenta is a pioneer of computer access tools for the disabled, so when the Accessibility Team at Microsoft began working on accessibility enhancements to its next generation of Windows, Madenta was a logical resource.

"Microsoft believes that the addition of Madenta's onscreen keyboard to Windows is a key improvement to our features for people with disabilities. Our goal is to allow people to be able to have access to any computer by having basic accessibility functions built into the operating system," said Luanne LaLonde, accessibility product manager at Microsoft. "Most people will still need specialized products customized for their own use, but when they need to use other computers, such as at public libraries or kiosks, they will have an onscreen keyboard built in to do basic tasks."

ScreenDoors II Lite

The software licensed by Microsoft is called ScreenDoors Lite, and will be called OnScreen Keyboard in upcoming versions of Windows. Madenta developed this `lite' version of ScreenDoors II specifically for inclusion with future Windows operating systems. ScreenDoors II Lite includes basic onscreen keyboard functions, but lacks many of the advanced features found in the full shipping version of ScreenDoors II, available from Madenta. Windows users of the Lite product can upgrade to the full function version through a direct link to Madenta contained in the software.

Marsden states "We're delighted both at Microsoft's initiative to enhance Accessibility Options in Windows, and at the fact that they chose Madenta's software to be part of that. This is further evidence of Madenta's position as a world leader in Assistive Technology".

About Madenta

Founded in 1989, Madenta Communications Inc. (ASE: MA) is a world leader in Assistive Technology. The company engineers, sells and supports a wide range of products for computer access and environmental control, `enabling extraordinary people to do ordinary things'.

Madenta, ScreenDoors II and ScreenDoors II Lite are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Madenta in Canada and/or other countries.