Technology Record - Issue 25: Summer 2022

16 MAR K E TWATCH Microsoft is helping enterprises and educational institutions to become more accessible to those with disabilities and mental health diagnoses by improving established platforms such as Windows 11, developing new accessories, and contributing to and supporting the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act. The act provides companies, service providers and agencies with resources to create competitive integrated employment service delivery models that individuals with disabilities will need. Newly updated accessibility features in Windows 11 include live captions, which are available both online and offline to improve the user experience for those who are hard of hearing or deaf. This allows them to follow events in real time. Meanwhile, screen-reader users have access to new natural voices that can read text to reduce distractions resulting from disjointed computer-generated text. Improvements on voice access and focus mode also contribute towards the extended accessibility of Windows 11, enabling those who struggle to concentrate to use focus mode to disable notifications. In a recent online survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Microsoft, 84 per cent of the 1,000 US school teachers who participated said that it is impossible to achieve equity in education without accessible learning tools. The updated features in Windows 11 helps to combat this. Microsoft has also launched a line of adaptive accessories, including a kit comprising 3D stickers, port indicators and openers to make it easier for people to find, open and use Microsoft Surface devices. Customisable mouses and keyboards will also be available in autumn 2022. “Accessibility can make content more inclusive, whether or not you know if someone has a disability,” said Jenny LayFlurry, chief accessibility officer at Microsoft, in a blog post to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day on 20 May 2022. New accessibility features launched for Windows 11 Operating system enhancements are among the new solutions, accessories and initiatives from Microsoft to help enterprises support people with disabilities and mental health diagnoses Microsoft has launched a line of adaptive accessories to support those with disabilities Photo: Microsoft