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article imageMicrosoft announces new accessibility tech coming to Windows 10

By James Walker     Mar 22, 2018 in Technology
Microsoft has announced several new accessibility features coming to Windows 10. The company is preparing to rollout improvements to its assistive technologies, including Narrator and eye control. It will make Windows more accessible for all users.
Announced in a blog post earlier this week, Microsoft said it is "diversifying our efforts" to improve the accessibility of Windows 10. The company is focusing on adding new controls and consolidating the configuration experience into a unified Settings screen.
The company is overhauling the way the Ease of Access Centre works to surface more settings and add extra guidance. You'll be able to change accessibility controls using Cortana voice commands, which could make it easier to find specific settings. Microsoft's also redesigned some pages to facilitate quicker recognition of the different settings available.
The built-in Narrator feature is gaining a set of new capabilities to improve usability. The changes include a more consistent web browsing experience which includes information on when the page has finished loading. Narrator is now more adept at identifying and navigating between content on sites and in apps, enabling more accurate narration of on-screen items.
Upcoming Windows 10 Ease of Access centre design
Upcoming Windows 10 Ease of Access centre design
Microsoft
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Eye control is getting an upgrade too. A relatively new Windows feature, Microsoft is currently keeping eye control in a beta status while it continues to improve performance. With the upcoming Windows 10 release, eye control will offer simplified scrolling, navigation and interaction options to make the input mechanism simper to use. Eye control will provide quick-access shortcuts to common interface components, such as the Start menu and Settings, to improve ease of use.
Microsoft said it's continuing to look for user feedback on its assistive technologies. It's also developing more advanced ways to collect information on the usability of its interfaces. This data is shared with partners who can then create new experiences for people with disabilities and specialised input requirements. It said it expects more assistive technologies to be launched by partners through the Windows Store.
"Thank you to the many people who have provided feedback to help make Windows 10 experiences delightful for people with disabilities," said Microsoft. "In 2018, we look forward to working with customers and partners to deliver the best experiences on Windows 10 and grow the portfolio of assistive technologies in the Microsoft Store."
The features will launch on Windows devices later in the year with future Windows 10 releases. They're part of Microsoft's ongoing work to make its software more inclusive, which has already created several new technologies since Windows 10's launch. These include Windows' dictation features and support for game controller sharing through Xbox Copilot.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, tech inclusivity, Accessibility
 
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