Windows 11 has many new features, including a new Start menu, Direct Storage, and improved snapping. Microsoft also built the operating system to be more accessible. According to the company, “Windows 11 is the most inclusively designed version of Windows.” A new blog post explains some of the ways that Windows 11 improves accessibility.
“A more accessible Windows experience has the power to help tackle the “disability divide” — to contribute to more education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities across the world,” explains Jeffy Petty, Microsoft’s Windows accessibility leader.
Microsoft used Trusted Tester conformance tests, usability tests, and other methods to make sure that Windows 11 is accessible. The company is also seeking feedback on accessibility from Insiders.
Windows 11 includes several assistive technologies that people may already be familiar with, including Narrator, Magnifier, Closed Captions, and Windows Speech Recognition. It also has a new sound scheme to help people who are blind and redesigned high contrast themes to help people with light sensitivity.
Redesigned Closed Caption themes will ship with Windows 11 to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The operating system also has Windows Voice Typing, which uses AI to recognize and transcribe speech, including adding punctuation.
Microsoft also rebranded “Ease of Access” within settings to “Accessibility” and created a human icon to make settings easier to find.
Microsoft’s accessibility efforts aren’t new. Windows 11 is an expansion of a mission that the company has been on for years. Windows already supports eye-tracking, and the Xbox Adaptive Controller has changed the lives of gamers. Our senior editor Jez Corden recently highlighted how Xbox is combating exclusion with its accessibility drive and called on more companies to follow suit.