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Designing accessible technology for all

Ah, technology. Where would we be without it? Meant to improve people’s lives, it fills our days with cute pet videos, enables us to apply for new jobs, helps us discover amazing dinner recipes, and lets us stay connected with others.

At Microsoft, one of our core design principles is “extend to many,” as we strive to design products to empower everyone on the planet. We are designing for a range of needs that allows people to interact and use technology in the way that works best for them. Technology and accessibility are inseparable and the features we build are meant to improve your experience. They help your computer adapt to you, not the other way around.

Read on for features designed to improve not only your experience, but everyone else’s too.

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Make your device work better for you

Microsoft offers many helpful features to help improve your experience with technology. Give some of our favorites a try today.

  1. Eliminate visual clutter (aka ads) when you use Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge. Read more effectively and improve reading comprehension using Immersive Reader with Microsoft Lens in Microsoft Word online, desktop, OneNote, Microsoft Edge, and Teams.
  2. Avoid distracting notifications when you need to stay on task with Focus Assist in Windows 10. Hide pop-ups and notifications so you can concentrate.
  3. Give your hands a rest from typing by using Dictation to convert your voice to text using speech recognition across your favorite Microsoft Office apps and Microsoft Edge.
  4. Proofread your writing and listen to webpage text as audio with Read Aloud. Play back Word documents like an audiobook and catch errors you might not see if you were just reading it through. In Microsoft Edge, use Read Aloud to have web pages read to you with options to select speed, voice, and language.
  5. Make Windows easier to see. Adjust size of text, apps, and more. Change to high contrast (black and white) and increase your cursor and pointer size so you can find it onscreen. Or just magnify the whole screen so everything is bigger. Learn how to adjust your settings to work best for you.
  6. Improve writing quality, type with confidence and more with Microsoft’s accessibility features. See what else we have to offer.

You can also help improve other’s experience with the content you create.

Use Accessibility Checker to make sure your Microsoft Office content is easy for people of all abilities to read and edit. See how to use Accessibility Checker to check documents, emails, web text, and more on Windows and macOS.

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Turn your Microsoft Bing searches into donations

Easily give back to Special Olympics or the nonprofit of your choice just by searching on Bing. When you join Microsoft Rewards, your Bing searches will earn Rewards points that are automatically donated to your cause. Help Special Olympics create an inclusive world for all. Join today.

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Accessible design is better design for all

From helping with proofreading to converting speech into text, the best technology is built to work with you. Features like the ones mentioned above make it easier to use your applications and devices by giving you control over how you engage with them.

Accessible design aims to create tech that works for the widest range of circumstances. Whether it’s door levers or voice-recognition software in apps, the best design is the one that’s the most user-friendly. Building accessibility into technology will make life easier to navigate and will quite literally open the world to us in new ways. It’s why technology that works for all people is good for all people.

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