Accessibility information for IT Professionals

Microsoft is dedicated to making its products and services accessible and usable for everyone. Windows 10 includes accessibility features that benefit all users. These features make it easier to customize the computer and give users with different abilities options to improve their experience with Windows. This topic helps IT administrators learn about built-in accessibility features, and includes a few recommendations for how to support people in your organization who use these features.

General recommendations

  • Be aware of Ease of Access settings – Understand how people in your organization might use these settings. Help people in your organization learn how they can customize Windows 10.
  • Do not block settings – Avoid using Group Policy or MDM settings that override Ease of Access settings.
  • Encourage choice – Allow people in your organization to customize their computers based on their needs. That might mean installing an add-on for their browser, or a non-Microsoft assistive technology.

Vision

Accessibility feature Description
Use Narrator to use devices without a screen Narrator describes Windows and apps and enables you to control devices by using a keyboard, controller, or with a range of gestures on touch-supported devices.
Create accessible apps You can develop accessible apps just like Mail, Groove, and Store that work well with Narrator and other leading screen readers.
Use keyboard shortcuts for Windows, Narrator, and Magnifier Get the most out of Windows with shortcuts for apps and desktops.
Get closer with Magnifier Magnifier enlarges all or part of your screen and offers a variety of configuration settings.
Cursor and pointer adjustments Changing the size or color of pointers or adding trails or touch feedback make it easier to follow the mouse.
Have Cortana assist Cortana can handle a variety of tasks for you, including setting reminders, opening apps, finding facts, and sending emails and texts.
Dictate text and commands Windows includes speech recognition that lets you tell it what to do.
Customize the size of screen items You can adjust the size of text, icons, and other screen items to make them easier to see.
Improve contrast A number of high-contrast themes are available to suit your needs.
Simplify for focus Reducing animations and turning off background images and transparency can minimize distractions.
Keep notifications around longer If notifications aren't staying visible long enough for you to notice them, you can increase the time a notification will be displayed up to five minutes.
Read in Braille Narrator supports braille displays from more than 35 manufacturers using more than 40 languages and multiple braille variants.

Hearing

Accessibility feature Description
Transcribe with Translator Translator can transcribe voice to text so you won’t miss what’s being said.
Use Skype for sign language Skype is available on a variety of platforms and devices, so you don’t have to worry about whether your co-workers, friends and family can communicate with you.
Get visual notifications for sounds You can replace audible alerts with visual alerts.
Keep notifications around longer If notifications aren't staying visible long enough for you to notice them, you can increase the time a notification will be displayed up to five minutes.
Read spoken words with closed captioning You can customize things like color, size, and background transparency to suit your needs and tastes.
Switch to mono audio Sending all sounds to both left and right channels is helpful for those with partial hearing loss or deafness in one ear.

Physical

Accessibility feature Description
Have Cortana assist Cortana can handle a variety of tasks for you, including setting reminders, opening apps, finding facts, and sending emails and texts.
Dictate text and commands Windows includes speech recognition that lets you tell it what to do.
Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) Instead of relying on a physical keyboard, you can use the On-Screen Keyboard to type and enter data and select keys with a mouse or othet pointing device. Additionally, the OSK offers word prediction and completion.
Live Tiles Because Live Tiles display constantly updated information for many apps, you don't have to bother actually opening them. You can arrange, resize, and move tiles as needed.
Keyboard assistance features You can personalize your keyboard to ignore repeated keys and do other helpful things if you have limited control of your hands.
Mouse Keys If a mouse is difficult to use, you can control the pointer by using your numeric keypad.

Cognition

Accessibility feature Description
Simplify for focus Reducing animations and turning off background images and transparency can minimize distractions.
Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) Instead of relying on a physical keyboard, you can use the On-Screen Keyboard to type and enter data and select keys with a mouse or othet pointing device. Additionally, the OSK offers word prediction and completion.
Dictate text and commands Windows includes speech recognition that lets you tell it what to do.
Use fonts that are easier to read Fluent Sitka Small and Fluent Calibri are fonts that address "visual crowding" by adding character and enhance word and line spacing.
Edge Reading View Clears distracting content from web pages so you can stay focused on what you really want to read.
Edge includes an e-book reader The Microsoft Edge e-book reader includes options to increase text spacing and read text aloud to help make it easier for everyone to read and enjoy text, including people with learning differences like dyslexia and English language learners.

Assistive technology devices built into Windows 10

Assistive technology How it helps
Hear text read aloud with Narrator Narrator reads text on your PC screen aloud and describes events, such as notifications or calendar appointments, so you can use your PC without a display.
Use Speech Recognition Narrator reads text on your PC screen aloud and describes events, such as notifications or calendar appointments, so you can use your PC without a display.
Save time with keyboard shortcuts Keyboard shortcuts for apps and desktops.

Additional resources

Windows accessibility

Designing accessible software

Inclusive Design