Microsoft is determined to make its products more accessible for people with disabilities. The most important one is said to be support for braille in Windows 10 narrator feature. The Creators Update would build on inclusive narrator tools and introduce beta support for braille input and output. The new accessibility features would be rolled out in 2017, though some of them have already been inclided in Insider Preview builds.
Apart from braille support, other features include unassisted installation using narrator and improved audio experiences. Microsoft has also bought in new ways to launch narrator. Users can press CTRL+WIN+ ENTER to launch it in addition to Cortana or from the Settings Window. Another significant accessibility feature that has been included is text to speech voices and capabilities. More than 10+ voices have been included with multilingual reading support for narrator. Moreover, Microsoft will be providing a comfortable web browsing experience through improved responsiveness for Edge. General reliability and usability improvements have also been introduced.
Microsoft also talked about accessibility features in Office 365. This enterprise product would incorporate accessible templates, text descriptions for images with accessibility checker in Office applications. The productivity suite would include an AI from the Computer Vision Cognitive Service for this very purpose. Office applications would have advanced settings that would read text aloud with simultaneous highlighting, increase text spacing and break words into syllables. Further, it would release screen readers and alternative keyboards for an easy use of cloud-powered, intelligent services in Office applications.
The company not only announced about increased accessibility in the work zone but also in the gaming space. Microsoft is also working to introduce services to handle narrator interactions on Xbox One consoles. The controller would further include pitch and speech adjustments for narrator voices.
The company is focusing upon its wide range of user base and hence doesn’t want to exclude the disabled populace from the same. The goal is to ensure accessibility of Microsoft products for everyone. Commenting on the same, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, Jenny Lay-Flurrie stated, “we’re thrilled to see the impact that technology is having on our customers.”