Windows 8 enhances ‘accessibility’ experience
Accessibility is finding greater reflection in the new products that Microsoft is now bringing to market. While some of these offerings have already been
unveiled, others will make an appearance in 2013. From the upgraded Windows 8 to Office 13 and other products in the Microsoft portfolio, the company
has attempted to raise the bar on their accessibility features.
One of the most exciting changes in Windows 8 is the introduction of touch-only devices into the Windows family. One of the great benefits of using
touch is that users can directly interact with everything on their screens. There is no need for a separate device like a mouse or keyboard. All they have to
do is touch what they want.
Windows 8 has brought improvements in both the Narrator and Magnifier. The Narrator is now more responsive, supports more languages and voices,
and can read additional UI (User Interface) components. It has also been optimized for touch screens, with a feature called ‘Exploring’ that reads out what
it is being touched as a user moves a single finger across the screen. The Magnifier tool meanwhile, has been upgraded for touch screens in an attempt to
make navigation easier.
Windows 8 has an On-Screen Keyboard which includes text prediction for speeding up typing. It can be re-sized to make it easier to see and offers users
speech recognition for hands-free use of the device.
Microsoft wants all users to be able to experience Windows 8 apps on their desktops, laptops or the new touch-capable devices, including people with
disabilities who rely on assistive technologies to use the PC.
Interestingly, users can set an accessibility filter in the Windows Store that will allow them to discover the apps that have been declared accessible by