Within the framework of its annual and global event Ability Summit, microsoft highlighted the latest accessibility developments that have been incorporated recently.
They are all tools that focus on offering greater access to technology for people with disabilities. In turn, he announced a new Inclusive Technical Laboratory on his campus.
These include the following features and new features in Windows and Microsoft 365:
Automatic image descriptions in Microsoft Edge
Many visually impaired people experience the Internet through a screen reader, which is assistive technology that reads the content of each page aloud. These readers depend on the tags provided on the images (alt text or alt text), a fundamental aspect for accessibility since it allows to describe the visual content.
However, according to data from Microsoft, more than half of the images processed by screen readers lack alt text.
In response to this problem and so that visually impaired users can discover the meaning of all the images that circulate on the web, Edge now offers auto-generated alt text for images that don’t include it.
To try it out, you can visit the Edge accessibility site and search for the option “Get Microsoft Image Descriptions for Screen Readers”. Once enabled, Edge will begin providing alt text for images that don’t contain alt text so the screen reader can read them.
What’s new in Windows 11
At its launch late last year, Windows 11 included accessibility improvements designed for and by people with disabilities, such as dquieter and more engaging sound designs, subtitle customizations, and a new Accessibility Settings panel to make all of these features easier to find and use.
Janhe Ability Summit delved into four of the inclusive experiences coming to Windows 11:
1. System-wide live captions: Intended for the hearing impaired and non-native language speakers, the Live Captions option automatically transcribes spoken content from any audio and even from apps like Edge.
This feature will be available throughout the operating system and in many more contexts than before.
2. More powerful Voice Access tools. Microsoft announced a new voice access experience for people with limited mobility, mild to severe arthritis, cerebral palsy and other conditions that make it difficult to use an adaptive keyboard and mouse, so they can control their PC and create content anywhere. app using your voice.
3. Natural voices for the narrator: natural voices for the narrator take advantage of state-of-the-art text-to-speech on Windows devices, once set up they will always be available (even without an internet connection). This function responds instantly and seeks to respect the privacy of users since the text to speech is processed on the device., without sending information to the cloud. For now this option is only available with support for English.
4. A more immersive focus experience: To avoid constant distractions and mental exhaustion in this new hybrid work environment, notification control has been simplified by adding the option to Do not bother.
Inclusive Technical Laboratory
Besides, The company inaugurated a new Inclusive Technical Laboratory on its campus. This space seeks to be, in the words of Dave Dame, Director of Device Accessibility at Microsoft, “an embassy for people with disabilities, not a space about them.”
The lab includes a sampling of the company’s hardware, software, accessible services, as well as experiences created by company partners. It is an inclusive design incubator that aims to create and evaluate the development of accessible products.