In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft explained how these additions sent to the disability community access Windows 11, which launched on October 5, 2021 and whose adoption remains relatively slow. Microsoft has already started testing these features with users enrolled in the Windows Insiders program. The Focus feature is located in the notification center and can be activated with just one click. Focus Mode will allow you to prioritize which notifications you will then see when it is activated, which will simplify the whole process.
Focus Mode Sessions is another new addition that allows you to improve your productivity in Windows 11. By enabling it, Windows 11 will enable Do Not Disturb and disable taskbar badges, while launching a timer to remind you to take breaks between tasks. As a bonus, this feature comes with integration with the Clock app and Spotify. As for the Live Captions feature (instant subtitles), it is the same as seen on Android and works like subtitles. Above all, it can be personalized and displayed anywhere.
As the name suggests, Windows 11 will automatically transcribe the content of any audio clip. Moreover, the feature works without an internet connection since the subtitles are generated on the device. Also, the Voice Access feature of Windows 11 seems much more powerful than the usual voice recognition which only uses voice. Thanks to simple words, you can now communicate with Windows. When you first enable Voice Access, Windows 11 prompts you to download a voice template for device speech recognition to help you get started.
Another great feature is the Windows Narrator, which uses the natural voices built into Windows 11. So now you can say goodbye to complex sounds that make it difficult to understand. This should allow visually impaired people to enjoy scenarios like web browsing, reading, writing mail, etc. All of these features are set to launch with Windows 11’s 22H2 update, which the company is gearing up to reach RTM status this month. These additions should help disabled users as well as regular users.
Finally, another point worth mentioning is the “Inclusive Tech Lab” division created by Microsoft to help develop products and accessories that could be made available to the masses. The company has also been part of its plans to unveil more PC accessories through a new line aimed at the disabled community. The accessories seem very flexible when it comes to usage and have been designed with various customizations in mind. Microsoft is placing an exciting new range under its hardware product line with the label: adaptive accessories.
It includes an adaptive mouse, buttons and a hub, all very configurable. This means that they can be used to support various functionalities. Besides that, you can find custom 3D gadgets that add a special touch in different cases. The company explained how it was able to create these new accessories by taking inspiration from the adaptive controller that is part of the success of Xbox. According to Microsoft, the new line of products for people with disabilities really helps those who have trouble using the traditional mouse and keyboard.
In addition, the new features can also help eliminate areas of pressure or pain that some may feel while performing their work routinely. As for when the accessories will launch, Microsoft hopes to ship them as early as next fall, but no pricing strategy has been announced.
Source: Microsoft (1, 2)
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