Microsoft Windows

Windows 8 introduces accessibility features for touchscreens

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Microsoft Windows 8 is set to be released on 26 October and has a number of enhanced assistive features to increase accessibility for blind and vision impaired users. Most significantly, these features have been adapted for touchscreen devices such as tablets.

As noted in our test of the developer preview,the Narrator screen reader has been significantly updated in its ability to read elements in Windows and in Internet Explorer. While people who are blind may still prefer a more advanced screen reader such as NVDA, one advantage of the updated Narrator is that it can be easily used on a touchscreen. 


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Windows 8 to come with enhanced accessibility

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Microsoft has announced a number of significant accessibility improvements to its upcoming Windows 8 operating system. This is further reassurance that the software giant has considered the needs of people with a disability in the development of its latest product.

Originally discussed in our test of the Windows 8 developer preview, Microsoft has been working towards improving a number of built-in tools already found in Windows such as Narrator and Magnifier, while also adding in support for Windows to be installed and set up by people with disabilities.

The features which Microsoft is working towards include:

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New version of open source screen reader released

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A new version of the popular free and open source screen reader NVDA for Microsoft Windows has been released. The technology allows people who are blind to use computers through sound and a keyboard.

The makers of NVDA report on the release and highlight some of the key new features, including automatic speech language switching when reading documents with appropriate language information; support for 64 bit Java Runtime Environments; reporting of text formatting in browse mode in Mozilla applications and better handling of crashes and freezes.

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Windows 8 hands-on test: major accessibility improvements

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Microsoft has released a preview of its Windows 8 operating system and early tests by Media Access Australia show that accessibility has been a major focus during its development.

The Windows 8 Developer Preview build 8102 has been tested by Media Access Australia and it’s clear that accessibility has received a major focus in the upcoming operating system.

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