Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Microsoft outlines new accessibility features for Windows 8

Microsoft wants to ensure that its incoming OS can be used by people with disabilities right out of the box, detailing its "comprehensive accessibility platform" that will arrive on the next version of Windows. It's redesigned the built-in screen reader, improving performance speed while adding more languages and voices. The billion dollar corporation also says that it's extending its compatibility, including the ability to read output from applications. The Narrator will even assist with the installation of Windows 8, something that's already integrated into the developer preview. The voice assistant will also be better equipped to keep up with your web browsing habits, with improved processing speed and keyboard shortcuts to navigate during narration.

Microsoft's looking to ensure that developers will find it easier to include accessibility into their projects, including support for standards like HTML5 and XAML, as well as accessibility testing tools found within the Windows SDK. Stylistically, the new Metro UI allows for new high contrast viewing options alongside the ability to adjust element sizes. Microsoft promises that these are now simpler to apply and adjust within the OS. Touch-only Windows 8 devices will also benefit from redesigned tools like the magnifier, now transformed into a touch overlay around the border, while a preview view will show exactly where you've zoomed in.

Catch the Windows 8 developers talking about it in the video below. It is also HTML5 powered.

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