Microsoft announces a new accessibility assistant coming to its Microsoft 365 Office Software To make its products more accessible to more people.
Announced at its annual Capability Summit (opens in a new tab)Microsoft also revealed a range of accessible hardware, improvements to existing products and services, and developments in other areas of the business, including LinkedIn.
This all comes at a time when the company’s first foray into artificial intelligence is busy rolling out OpenAI to nearly every online service and internal AI-assisted tools to help make workers more efficient.
Microsoft Accessibility Assistant
Microsoft claims its new Accessibility Assistant is as easy as a spell checker and is designed to help create more accessible content. It provides better defaults, real-time remediation and guidance to prevent and correct any accessibility issues. The Accessibility Assistant also made its way to the Visual Studio development environment earlier this year.
The company also announced a 3D printed attachment and handle for the Surface Pen later this year. Already available to enterprise customers using the Microsoft Business Pen and Microsoft Classroom Pen 2, this extension will benefit more users who have access to supported Surface devices.
The translation tool has also been handyly upgraded, adding 13 more languages, bringing the total number of languages supported for speech-to-text to 125.
Other improvements across the board include automatic alt text for posting images to LinkedIn using Azure Cognitive Services, improved see artificial intelligence (opens in a new tab) An app designed to help the blind and partially sighted navigate their surroundings, and a new Inclusive Design for Cognitive Guidelines (opens in a new tab).
The company has made final changes to its latest operating system, Windows 11, improving the built-in screen reader, Narrator, and adding support for more braille displays.