Built-in Accessibility Features Series–Part 2

Built-in Accessibility Features Series–Part 2

In our last blog, we shared information about built-in accessibility features for Apple OS. This month, we will be discussing built-in accessibility for Windows. With over one billion computer users needing accessibility options, Microsoft is another software company that has been pumping up its built-in features. From vision, hearing, cognition, to physical limitations, Windows has everyone covered.

Windows Accessibility

The Ease of Access settings in Windows is organized into categories by disability type for easy to find features. From the Start Menu, select Settings, then Ease of Access. In this settings screen, the options associated with each disability category (e.g., vision, hearing) will be listed. Let’s discuss some of these great features.

First, we will discuss accessibility for low vision and blindness.

  • Magnifier: The built-in screen magnifier provides different views such as full-screen magnification, lens, or a docked magnification window. The mouse docking feature keeps the mouse cursor in the middle of the screen so it’s not lost while in magnification mode. Watch this short video to see how the magnifier works as well as a demonstration of the mouse docking and a keyboard focus feature.
  • Color Filters: Another great feature is the color filters to make seeing the screen items easier not only for low vision but also for colorblindness. Use the shortcut Windows key + Ctrl + C to open the filters. There are three inverted (white on black) and grayscale options and three colorblindness filter options (two filters for red-green blindness and one for blue-yellow blindness).
  • High Contrast: If color filters don’t provide enough contrast or the user would like customized colors, the high contrast feature is the way to go. Once turned on, the user can choose from a few different themes, such as high contrast black or white and select specific colors for text, hyperlinks, disabled text, selected text, button text, and background. Watch this video to learn how to set use the built-in selections or create your own.
  • Narrator: The Narrator is a built-in screen reader that will read items on the desktop and websites. Shortcut keys allow for quick access to features. Watch this video to see how it works.

We will discuss the following accessibility options in follow-up emails:

  • Hearing (Closed Captions, Visual Notifications, ASL Answer Desk)
  • Physical (Dictate, Mouse Accessibility, Eye Control)
  • Cognition (Focus Assist, Minimize Distractions, Text Suggestion)
  • OneNote Built-in Accessibility Features

“We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.”― Stevie Wonder

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Tammy Wallace - June 8, 2020

Thank you so much for this information. I work with accessibility features everyday but this blog was a great piece of information that I can share with the people I work with who need these features.

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