It is an area of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update that does not get all the attention in reviews and feature focused articles but accessibility, or Ease of Access as Microsoft calls it, is a very important aspect of the operating system and Microsoft gave it a few new features in this second major update to Windows 10.
The Redmond company announced these changes in an article on their Microsoft Accessibility blog at the beginning of July.
"Customer feedback through the Windows Insider program and from our users with disabilities has been essential to helping us focus our work in several key areas. These include improving the screen reading experience with Narrator, the accessibility of experiences and apps like Microsoft Edge, Mail and the Start menu, as well as better tools and resources for developers to build more accessible apps and experiences."
The gallery will walk you through the Ease of Access settings pages in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update but here is a summary of what you will find new in Windows 10 Version 1607 (OS Build 14393.10).
Screen Reading with Narrator
- New voices added that double the average number of words per minute from 400 with the old voices to approximately 800 with the new voices.
- New languages added including Spanish (Mexico), French (Canada), Portuguese (Brazil),Arabic (Egypt), Catalan (Spain), Danish (Denmark),Finnish (Finland), Norwegian (Norway), Dutch (Belgium), Dutch (Netherlands), Portuguese (Portugal), Swedish (Sweden) and Turkish (Turkey).
- Keyboard commands now match other screen readers and some combinations have been made easier to provide better ergonomics.
- Scan mode allows you to activate an item on the webpage or app you are in with a press of the space bar.
- Six levels of verbosity to give more details for the text on screen so it can let you know about header, color and formatting of the text.
- Option to hear more details about punctuation on screen.
- Verbal and audio hint for auto suggest results when they are available.
- Narrator feedback shortcut (CAPS LOCK + E + E) to get a form on screen to send in feedback about Narrator.
- Updated guides and documentation.
Apps and Experiences
- Support for modern web accessibility standards in Microsoft Edge.
- Improved accessibility support for browsing features like address bar, tabs, windows and favorites.
- Improved overall accessibility features in the first party Mail app including account setup with a screen reader and interpreting complex emails and navigating the inbox.
- Cortana search and interactions are now more reliable with the keyboard and the high contrast UI had been improved.
- Groove has improved high DPI scaling, high contrast UI, color combinations changed to improve readability plus screen reader improvements including new shortcut keys.
Be sure to check out all of our Windows 10 Anniversary Update Coverage.