Windows 10 Creators Update adds Braille support and many accessibility enhancements

jayar.decenella@gmail.com' By: Jay Decenella
2 minute read

While Microsoft is still months away from rolling out the Creators Update for Windows 10 in the spring of 2017, the software giant keeps pushing out details about what to expect from the update. The latest word from Microsoft now suggests the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update will help improve accessibility for the visually impaired.

Some of the huge improvements coming to the Narrator tool in Windows 10 include support for Braille and new text-to-speech capabilities. The Braille input and output support will initially roll out in beta through customized Braille displays from more than 35 manufacturers. The support will pack more than 40 languages and multiple Braille variants.

The fresh text-to-speech voices and capabilities will also introduce more than 10 new voices. Microsoft will also release a Narrator support for reading in multiple languages. That means the Narrator tool can smoothly switch between languages, depending on whether a user has installed the corresponding voices.

Windows 10 Creators Update also aims to improve audio experiences for users through dynamic ducking, which automatically lowers the volume of other applications like Spotify or Pandora when Narrator runs. If you’re wondering how the accessibility improvements affect Cortana, Microsoft has made sure the digital assistant won’t transcribe what Narrator speaks by revamping the handshake between these tools.

Narrator will also be able to navigate forms and identify text fields, check boxes, and buttons across other applications including the Edge browser once the Windows 10 Creators Update rolls out. The update will also allow users to adjust the speed and pitch of the Narrator voice and control Narrator interactions on Xbox One.

New accessibility features

The Office 365 suite will also receive fresh accessibility features as well early next year through Microsoft’s AI-powered Computer Vision Cognitive Service. That means users with disabilities will be able to read and use documents created using the productivity software.

Other future Office application options include the ability to read text aloud while inserting space between texts or highlighting words at the same time. Microsoft Word users in the Office Insider program will have the first glimpse of these options before the new features hit other programs early next year.

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