A computer screen shows an operational system menu.

The Windows 10 Anniversary upgrade is available starting today, August 2nd.  Besides improvements in security and productivity, we are glad to hear that there is emphasis on providing better accessibility and that the upgrade is free for customers who use assistive technologies.

According to the Microsoft Accessibility Blog there are 3 areas of improvement:

1. Enhanced screen reading

Some of the improvements to Narrator, Microsoft’s screen reader, are:

  • New voices with faster text-to-speech speed.
  • New languages, including a Mexican Spanish version.
  • Simplified keyboard navigation.
  • More control over how much punctuation you hear when the screen reader reads text.

2. More accessible apps

Microsoft Edge, Windows 10 web browser, has a new accessibility architecture.  This architecture provides a more clear page structure and content, and a better visual presentation of web pages in high contrast mode.  Filling out forms when using keyboard navigation and screen is now easier.

Cortana, Microsoft personal assistant, has more reliable keyboard operation and better legibility in the different contrast modes.

Groove, Microsoft’s Music App, offers low vision users improved higher contrast settings.  For screen reader users, there are new shortcuts keys available to navigate the app.

3. More tools and reference materials to help developers in the creation of accessible apps and websites. 

The Visual Studio App analysis tool was updated to help developers to find and fix accessibility errors. There is also a new developer mode in Narrator that highlights accessible objects.

Windows recently relaunched the accessibility developer hub, as well as the general design guidelines and sample code for accessibility.

You can find more information about these improvements on Microsoft Accessibility Blog.

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