Accessibility Changes to docs.microsoft.com
This post was written by Shir Goldberg, Program Manager on the docs.microsoft.com team.
We're excited to announce that docs.microsoft.com has a fresh new look—and a fresh new sound for screen readers! Over the last few months, we've been hard at work on making our site more accessible to all. Here are some highlights:
High Contrast Theme
We've enhanced our high contrast theme for better usability and color contrast. It's now also selectable from the theme dropdown menu, instead of only appearing for users with a high contrast theme set for their OS.
High contrast themes can make it easier for users with low vision to read text and distinguish where page elements are. For more information, check out WebAIM's article on improving experiences for users with low vision.
Table of Contents
Our Table of Contents (TOC) element has been totally rebuilt for easier use, whether you're wielding a mouse, keyboard, or screen reader. One of the most visible updates is to the "Filter by title" experience. Previously, the TOC would update on-page to display the list of matching results when a query was entered. This continual updating created a confusing experience for users with screen readers. Now, the TOC never changes and results show up in a separate and fully-accessible drop-down.
We've also updated the TOC structure so keyboard users can navigate via arrow keys instead of tab. For more information, see the WAI-ARIA guidelines for treeview elements.
Finally, the TOC’s memory footprint and render speed has been improved by 25–300%! Pages with larger TOCs saw a bigger improvement, as did users on mobile devices and those on Internet Explorer.
Hover Over Translations
If you use Docs in a language other than English, you may have used a feature that allowed you to hover over phrases in certain localized articles to view the original English. Unfortunately, this feature did not meet accessibility guidelines and needed to be removed. We're working on an improved and fully accessible replacement—stay tuned. In the meantime, users can take advantage of the "Read in English" toggle that appears on localized articles to switch between two languages.
The Microsoft Learn experience for screen readers has been updated to be more consistent with accessibility guidelines. Several bugs where content was not read or was read improperly have been fixed.
In addition to the changes described above, we've squashed many accessibility bugs throughout the site. From removing non-unique HTML IDs to ensuring that lightboxed images are accessible by keyboard, users accessing Docs through any method should notice a smoother and more understandable experience.
If you have questions or feedback, leave a comment on this post. Thanks for using Docs, and we hope you enjoy these updates!