Technology should be a tool for all people and software developers are spending more time than ever before creating adaptations that allow easier access to computers for those who may have disabilities. Users without disabilities may also find accessibility settings to improve their experience. Let’s talk about Microsoft’s accessibility settings.
High Contrast Mode
You’ll find this mode under PC Settings > Ease of Access > High Contrast on your Windows 10 or 11 machine. From this screen you can select menu themes that are easier to see, customize fonts and colors on text, icons, and program windows.
Microsoft has developed an assistive screen reader designed to aid visually impaired users. When toggled on, the feature will read out what the user types in an application or online, as well as reading buttons or fields of text as the user moves the cursor over them. Speakers or some other kind of audio output device are required to use this feature. Narrator’s settings can be found by going to Settings>Ease of Access>Narrator.
Magnifier is a great feature that creates a zoom field which increases the size of whatever is under the cursor. This is useful for getting a better look at small text, details in images or helping users with visual impairments. Magnifier can easily be toggled on and off by hitting “Windows Key + Plus sign” at the same time. Zoom levels can be customized at Settings>Ease of Access>Magnifier.
Captions are available for most online streaming content but might be difficult to read due to the default settings, especially when on white backgrounds. At Settings>Ease of Access>Closed Captions users can customize captions to their liking, making them easier to read in whatever context you’re using them.
These are just a few of the most commonly used accessibility features. As technology improves great leaps have also been made in speech recognition, alternate human input mechanisms and even controlling computers using eye tracking (although this typically requires some special hardware). If you need assistance customizing your computer to your needs and preferences, give us a call at Mankato Computer Technology.