Learning about accessibility progress in the tech world
This post introduces snippets of tech accessibility info, showing the progress being made in the tech world, and accessibility options for everyone.
Use dictation to talk instead of typing on your PC
If you prefer to speak to your PC instead of typing, you can use the dictation feature built into Windows 10. Simply press the Windows key + H to open the dictation toolbar, and start talking.
Windows + H – Open Dictation toolbar
Seeing AI v2.0 (for iOS users)
Seeing AI, the accessibility app from Microsoft for iOS users has been updated with some useful new features and is now available in 35 countries.
Here are some of the included new features quoted by Microsoft:
- Color recognition: Getting dressed in the morning just got easier with this new feature, which describes the color of objects, like garments in your closet.
- Currency recognition: Seeing AI can now recognize the currency of US dollars, Canadian dollars, British Pounds and Euros. Checking how much change is in your pocket or leaving a cash tip at a restaurant is much easier.
- Musical light detector: The app alerts you with a corresponding audible tone when you aim the phone’s camera at light in the environment. A newly convenient tool so you don’t have to touch hot bulbs to know that a light is switched off, or the battery pack’s LED is on.
- Handwriting recognition: Expanding on the ability of the app to read printed text, such as on menus or signs, the newly improved ability to read handwriting means you can read personal notes in a greeting card, as well as printed stylized text not usually readable by optical character recognition.
- Reading documents: Seeing AI can read you the document aloud without voiceover, with synchronized word highlighting. Also, it includes the ability to change the text size on the Document channel.
- Ability to choose voices and speed: Personalization is key, and when you’re not using VoiceOver, this feature lets you choose between the voice that is used and how fast it talks.
Seeing AI is currently only available in the App Store and for iOS.
Expanded Microsoft Accessibility Website
It’s nice to see that Microsoft has expanded its accessibility website, with a nice new look and feel.
GazeSpeak app for people with ALS
There’s a new communication app on its way (for iOS) called GazeSpeak, which will be presented by Microsoft at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Colorado in May 2017. GazeSpeak, developed by Xiaoyi Zhang while interning at Microsoft, is a way for people to communicate by choosing letters and words using just their eyes. This new app could prove itself invaluable for people with ALS, also known as Motor Neurone Disease. See the full source of this news here.
Windows 10 Accessibility
For those people using Windows 10, the free Windows 10 Anniversary Update released back in August 2016 included some accessibility improvements.
Microsoft Edge Improvements
With the latest improvements in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft’s Edge web browser gets a perfect score on HTML5Accessibility’s browser benchmark.
Tools & Apps for Computer Accessibility
Here are a few common 3rd party tools available to aid in computer accessibility.
To make life easier, there are many keyboard shortcuts you can use in Windows 10. Click the following image for the Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts page.
Click here for the Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts (text only) page
Microsoft Accessibility Links
Here are some accessibility links at Microsoft.com
- Use Magnifier to see items on the screen
- Text or visual alternative to sounds
- Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) to type
- Using Keyboard shortcuts
- Hear text read aloud with Narrator
- Make your PC easier to use with Ease of Access Settings
- Save time with keyboard shortcuts
- Use Voice Recognition to control your PC
- Microsoft Edge Team – Accessibility (Blog)
Apple Accessibility Links
Here are some accessibility links at Apple.com
MDN Web Docs – Resources for Developers
Accessible Page Testing Tools
If you’d like to test your web pages’ accessibility, here are some of the tools available.
Here are a few organizations working hard in the area of accessibility. Be sure to recommend more organizations and provide links.
Tech accessibility Videos
Here are some tech accessibility-related videos on YouTube. Feel free to submit any videos you recommend for others.
Blind or Low Vision
Spinal Cord Injury
Thanks to the following contributors for passing on information:
When I lived in the US, I became a live-in caregiver and assistant for my boss and good friend, Danny Murphy (actor), a quadriplegic. I was terrific friends for 20 years (and a short-term roommate) with Ian Weston, who was blind in the UK.
You might say that the guy in the wheelchair helped me to overcome obstacles, and the blind guy helped me see. Living among the disabled community helped me to appreciate and understand the daily importance of accessibility.
This post is not so great, but I started it to help introduce information to people who might benefit from seeing it. Quite a few obsolete (no longer working) links to Microsoft or other sites have been removed. If you would like to help to improve or add to this tech accessibility page, please pass on the info or get in touch.