As part of the Fall Creators Update later this year, Microsoft has said it will be kitting out Windows 10 with a host of new accessibility features designed to make it easier to read and write on the operating system.
Microsoft’s screen reading utility will be receiving a the largest number of improvements, including a new ‘device learning mode’ which will allow a user to send a command from a keyboard or touch braille display, and receive detailed feedback on what that command does, without invoking an action.
The tool will also receive a swathe of usability improvements, allowing it to read controls more accurately, and read Windows apps, such as Settings, like a webpage. Microsoft hopes that this will unify Narrator functions, resulting in fewer keyboard shortcuts, and ultimately make it easier to learn.
Improvements are also being made to the way Narrator functions with braille inputs, with users soon being able to type and read using multiple braille translations, as well as set braille based shortcuts for keyboard commands like ALT+TAB to switch applications or CTRL + B to embolden text.
The update will also change the way Magnifier works, including a new option to provide smoother fonts and images, and the ability to zoom in and out using the mouse wheel. For users with varying colour blindness, Windows 10 will also soon include filters to make it easier to differentiate between colours.
Finally, for those using hardware keyboards, US English word predictions will also soon be added, a feature that already exists on touch keyboards.
To further demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to providing an experience that is easily accessible for those with disabilities, those users making use of assisted technology on Windows 10 S will be able to upgrade the lightweight OS to Windows 10 Pro at not extra cost.