Like most tech companies of significant size, Microsoft too has a mission to make its products increasingly accessible for everyone, including users with special needs. In recent years, Microsoft has added many accessibility features, currently, it has an assortment of built-in accessibility features which makes it one of the handiest operating systems to date.
The accessibility features on Windows 10 are designed to assist with seeing, hearing, and using Windows 10. A few of the most prominent names include; narrator, magnifier, high contrast, closed captions, keyboard, and mouse. Each of these features includes customization capabilities designed to advance your access to the computer. If you are one of those with special needs or know of someone who does, the below mentioned Windows 10 accessibility features could be worth trying.
Windows 10 Accessibility Features for Differently abled
Check out these Windows 10 Accessibility Features which can significantly improve your user experience or that of a disabled person you know:
- High Contrast
- Speech Recognition
- Closed Captions
- On-Screen Keyboard
- Eye Control.
Let us touch upon them in brief.
With this feature, you can make the text and other items, like icons, on your screen appear larger without changing the screen resolution of your monitor or laptop screen. This lets you play around with the size of the text or other items on your screen and at the same time keep your monitor or laptop set to its optimal resolution. Magnifier can be very helpful for anyone who has poor eyesight or faces difficulty in reading their screen.
To access this feature, go to the same Ease of Access section in Settings; here’s the path: Settings>Ease of Access>Magnifier. To use Magnifier, activate the ‘Turn on Magnifier’ toggle.
There are several settings available in this feature that allow you to turn the tool on/off, designate what you want to be magnified, and also invert colors in the magnified area. When this feature is enabled, a magnifying glass appears on your screen, and you can easily zoom in or out by clicking on the ‘+’ or ‘-’ icon.
Read: How to Increase the Font size and make text bigger on Windows 10.
2] High Contrast
Windows 10 allows you to change the overall color scheme so that it is easier to view text, images, icons, and application windows. The ‘High Contrast’ feature can be amazing for people struggling with visual impairment or colorblindness as it can make the items on the screen appear more distinct and easier to identify.
To pick pre-designated high contrast themes in Windows 10 go to Settings>Ease of Access>High Contrast.
Microsoft named this feature the Narrator because of its incredible function. Narrator is a screen reader who can read the text appearing on the screen aloud. It describes events like error messages, read the text as you type, websites, notifications, in-app content, and specific portions out loud, so the user can use the PC without a display. For the people who are challenged with blindness, color blindness, or low vision issues, this Windows 10 accessibility feature can be of great help.
To get your computer do the talking get Narrator by going to Settings > Ease of Access > Narrator and turn the ‘use narrator to read and interact with your device’ toggle ‘On’.
4] Speech Recognition
Speech Recognition is another gem in the Window 10 Accessibility Features bucket. This feature allows you to command your PC with your voice–including the competence to navigate menus, dictate into almost any application, surf the web. Also, it listens to your spoken words and translates them into on-screen actions.
You can enable this feature by opening Settings > Time & Language > Speech and scroll down to Dictate text and control your device using only your voice.
Please note: Speech Recognition feature is available only in English (US, UK, Canada, Australia, and India), French, German, Japanese, Mandarin (Chinese Traditional and Chinese Simplified), and Spanish.
5] Closed Captions
If you fight to read white color subtitles on a video, movie or television show, especially on a light background, the ‘Closed Captions’ feature can be a savior. This feature can help you edit the colors and backgrounds of any caption text.
To access Closed Captions, go to Settings > Ease of Access > Closed Captions and change the settings to your liking.
You can also customize the transparency, size, style, and effects of the caption. A live preview appears at the top of the screen displaying every change you make. Note, these settings will be applied to subtitles across all supported local media players.
If you find it difficult to spot the mouse pointer on your screen, you can make it more visible with this feature. Yes, you can change the size and color of the mouse pointer appearing on your screen.
To alter the way your mouse pointer looks, go to Settings > Ease of Access > Cursor & Pointer.
Read: How to Change Mouse Pointer color to red, solid black, etc and Adjust Text Cursor Indicator size, color & thickness for better visibility.
7] On-Screen Keyboard
The On-Screen Keyboard displays a visual keyboard on the screen; like the normal keyboard, this one has all the standard keys intact. To use this keyboard, you can use your mouse or any other pointing device. This feature offers a variety of customization options for people with special needs or disabilities which makes the keyboard much easier and comfortable to use. Few amazing mini-features of this accessibility tool are:
- Sticky keys – Ideal for those who find it difficult to maintain finger deftness for a long time. These keys let you press one key at a time for keyboard shortcut combinations like CTRL+ALT+DELETE.
- Filter Keys – This tool will be handy for those who find it difficult to manage their hands on the keyboard. It can check for repeated keystrokes so that the user doesn’t need to use the backspace key every time to go back over what he/she has written.
- Toggle keys – Tells you whether Caps Lock is activated or not. It plays a sound each time you hit the Num Lock, Scroll Lock, or Function Lock keys.
8] Eye Control
Eye Control Feature in Windows 10 lets you access PC with the movement of Eyes. You can use the Eye Control feature in Windows 10. Eye Control can be enabled by going to Settings > Ease of Access > Eye control and select Turn on eye control. This will open LaunchPad which is like a control panel from where you can perform various functions like right-click, left-click, task view and more.
Windows 10 brings in meaningful innovation to all people’s lives, whether you have a disability, a personal penchant, or an exclusive work style. With this robust set of built-in Windows 10 accessibility features, Microsoft allows you to choose how to interact with your screen, express ideas – ultimately get your work done.