With the Windows 11 drama starting to finally crest, Microsoft has begun sharing more information about the new platform. Starting with its accessibility features.
“I’m excited to share our ambition to empower people with disabilities to achieve more with Windows and more specifically, what’s coming in Windows 11,” Microsoft’s Jeff Petty writes. “We’ve got a lot to share.”
Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday — and get free copies of Paul Thurrott's Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (normally $9.99) as a special welcome gift!
"*" indicates required fields
Petty says that Windows 11 was “redesigned” for productivity, creativity, and ease of use, and that accessibility was considered from the start, with inclusive design reviews of new and redesigned features. To ensure that this platform works well for those with disabilities, Microsoft used Trusted Tester conformance tests, usability tests, and other processes. And it will gather feedback during the Insider Program testing phase this summer and adjust as necessary.
Windows 11 ships with familiar assistive technologies like Narrator, Magnifier, Closed Captions, and Windows Speech Recognition, and it supports assistive technologies like popular screen readers, magnification programs, CART services, speech commanding, and the like. But it also includes many accessibility improvements over its predecessor.
New sound schemes can help those with vision problems to know when the PC has booted into the desktop or performed other tasks. People with light sensitivity can choose between Light, Dark, and High Contrast themes. The deaf and hard of hearing can use the improved Closed Caption themes. And everyone can take advantage of Windows Voice Typing, which uses AI to recognize speech, transcribe it, and automatically punctuate the resulting text.
Microsoft has also retired the terrible Ease of Access interface from Windows 10 Settings and replaced it with a new Accessibility area that makes finding, customizing, and using accessibility features easier.
“Finally, I am happy to share that we have been working closely with assistive technology industry leaders to co-engineer what we call the ‘modern accessibility platform’,” Petty adds. “Windows 11 delivers a platform that enables more responsive experiences and more agile development, including access to application data without requiring changes to Windows.”
You can learn more in the original blog post.