Windows 11 is the Most Inclusive and Accessible Windows to Date
Accessibility is one of the fundamental elements required when creating inclusive technology. When developing a platform that over a billion people worldwide use daily, it’s vital to understand the impact poor usability and accessibility can have. Poor usability can cause irritation for the average user, but it can be a complete blocker to those who have additional requirements or needs, preventing enjoyment, learning, employment, or creativity.
The new and updated accessibility features in Windows 11 are:
- Closed Captions
- Contrast and Dark Mode
- Voice Typing
- New Accessibility Settings area
Inclusivity built in
Designed specifically to improve accessibility and inclusivity, Windows 11 pushes the bar above it’s predecessor. Whilst still based upon familiar features like desktop, Start menu, and search, each has been redesigned with a focus on making them accessible first.
Improvements since Windows 10
It’s predecessor, Windows 10, included features such as Narrator, Magnifier, Speech Recognition, and Subtitles. Windows 11 takes these to the next level, with improvements across the board.
Closed Captions, for example, are essential for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. They are also vital for those who use their Windows 11 computer in environments where they need to remain quiet, such as a library. Similarly, Closed Captions can allow a viewer to enjoy content in a particularly noisy environment, where they would otherwise be unable to hear what’s being said.
Contrast and Dark Mode
For the visually impaired, Windows 11 includes an improved set of sounds that aid navigation within the OS. In addition, high Contrast and Dark Themes ensure everyone is able to find their best balance of usability and aesthetics.
Windows Voice Typing is now vastly improved for those who prefer to use their voice to enter text. Windows will automatically recognize speech in multiple languages and dialects through advanced artificial intelligence (AI), transcribe into any app with text input, and even add punctuation at the appropriate time. I tried out Windows 11 Voice Typing during the Insider Preview phase of development and really enjoyed it .
With the vast improvements in Windows 11 accessibility features, it makes sense that the various capabilities are now even more easy to find and use. In Windows 10 and prior, accessibility features could be found in the Ease of Access Settings area. Now, with Windows 11, these features can be found more easily through the Accessibility Settings area. Microsoft has also updated the confusing Ease of Access icon, which was pretty confusing.
The new icon to depict accessibility features is much more clear.
Windows 11 makes huge steps forward in terms of accessibility, making most scenarios simply more accessible by default. In most cases, the new features that are enabled through Windows 11 will be available without additional plugins or software.
At a time when users are encouraged to access work on any device, anywhere, and with solutions like Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 giving people easier access to their apps and data, the IT overhead of enabling accessibility must be reduced.
Have you had a chance to try out any of Windows 11’s new accessibility features? Let us know in the comments section!
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