Microsoft's must-read accessibility user tips for Vision, Speech, Hearing, Mobility and Learning disabilities

Ever since the days of Windows 3.1, the first accessible GUI (graphical user interface), Microsoft has been a leader in designing for everyone regardless of ability or disability. There are a wide range of accessibility resources available on the Microsoft accessibility website, but there are five excellent guides, ready for download, that I’d like to draw to your particular attention.

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Microsoft’s accessibility mobility guide

Mobility impairment is a broad category of physical disabilities that include a range of disabling conditions such as cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s. These conditions may be temporary or permanent. They range in severity from mild loss of fine-motor control to quadriplegia.

This guide is aimed at people who have low or no mobility or dexterity. It describes accessibility features built into Windows and Microsoft Office, as well as different types of assistive technology products (including touch screens, keyboard overlays, one-handed keyboards, oversized mouse or trackball, and speech recognition) that are designed for individuals who have low mobility or dexterity.

You can download the Microsoft mobility guide here.

* Note that some sections of this guide may also be useful to individuals with different types of disabilities like learning or vision.  

Microsoft’s accessibility hearing guide

Millions of people in the UK are born with hearing loss or acquire hearing loss in older age. There are many alterations that can be made to a computer or smartphone that can help. This guide describes the accessibility features built into Windows and Microsoft Office, as well as different types of assistive technology products (including hearing loops and video signing) that are designed for individuals who have hearing loss or are deaf. 

You can download the Microsoft accessibility hearing guide here.

Note that some sections of this guide may also be useful to individuals with different types of disabilities like learning or mobility.

Microsoft’s accessibility vision guide

This guide, aimed at the many users of technology who are blind or low-vision (including common conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy), describes accessibility features built into Windows and Microsoft Office (such as enlarging text, changing colours, increasing the mouse pointer or using text-to-speech software), as well as different types of assistive technology products (such as screen readers or magnification software) that are designed for individuals who are Blind or Low Vision.

You can download the Microsoft accessibility vision guide here.

* Note that some sections of this guide may also be useful to individuals with different types of disabilities like learning or mobility.

Microsoft’s accessibility learning guide

People with learning (also known as cognitive) disabilities often benefit from making changes to their technology to make things easier to read, understand or operate. This guide describes the various accessibility features built into Windows and Microsoft Office (such as touchscreen capabilities or text-to-speech software), as well as different types of assistive technology products that are designed for individuals who have learning disabilities.

You can download the Microsoft accessibility learning guide here.

*Note that some sections of this guide may also be useful to individuals with different types of disabilities such as vision or cognitive.

Microsoft’s accessibility speech guide

People with a range of language or communication difficulties and impairments can benefit from augmentative and assistive communication (AAC) software which can often replace a physical device (such as typing on a standard keyboard).

This guide describes accessibility features built into Windows and Microsoft Office (such as text-to-speech software) as well as different types of assistive technology products (such as specialist communication aid devices) that are designed for individuals who have language or communication disabilities.

You can download the Microsoft accessibility speech guide here.

*Note that some sections of this guide may also be useful to individuals with different types of disabilities like learning or vision.

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