Incorporating accessibility features in an operating system like Windows 10 doesn’t just make it possible for persons with disabilities to use software applications more fruitfully, with more and more persons with disabilities joining the mainstream workforce, it also makes business sense. There must be millions of people with physical disabilities and if they are able to use Windows 10 and other software applications, they will use them more. Accessibility features are a big criteria when people with disabilities make their software choices.
This Windows blog update says that the new Windows 10 will come with an improved support for Braille. Right now these features are available mostly to the Insiders. There are many Braille tablets for the visually impaired but operating system support for these tablets isn’t widely available. This is a gap Windows 10 is trying to fill. The new version will provide more support for the Narrator feature in Windows 10. Narrator is a built-in screen reader in Windows 10. Microsoft is still seeking feedback from the users of these accessibility features in Windows 10. The support for Braille tablets is added to the Windows 10 Build 15025.
In order to use the Braille feature in Windows 10 Narrator
- Make sure that Narrator is running. To start Narrator, go to Settings and then Ease of Access (WIN+U). Under Narrator settings (as a general user right now you may not have this feature) you can activate the “Download Braille” button. There are different Braille tables that you can install according to your preference.
- You will also need to activate the “Enable Braille” button. Again, go to Settings and then Ease of Access to achieve that. In this section you will note that USB and serial connections for the display are also supported.
- In the same Ease of Access section you will be able to choose a language and the Braille table you would like to use.
Here is a screenshot of the new Braille-Narrator feature:
The new Windows 10 will also come with mono audio option in Ease of Access.
As the blog post above explains, normally in the work environment when persons with visual impairment are interacting with someone else while using their PC, laptop or tablet, they keep one earbud attached to their ear while they keep the other ear free for the person they are talking to. This way, if different audio is being transmitted to different ear buds, they tend to miss critical messages. Now they can turn the mono audio option on so that the same audio information is transmitted to both the earbuds.
Night mode is being built into Windows 10.
This is good news. Right now if you want to use night mode in Windows 10, you need to install a third-party app, something like f.lux. Many devices these days come with blue light filtering night mode. iPad and iPhone come with the settings that allow you to switch on the night mode. This setting is missing in Windows 10. It’s good that it is being introduced.