Discover the New Accessibility Features in Windows 11: Make Your Computer Work for You
Accessibility is an important consideration when it comes to technology. For people with disabilities or impairments, simple tasks like using a computer can be difficult. Thankfully, Microsoft has made an effort to improve the accessibility settings in Windows 11. In this article, we will take a look at some of the accessibility settings available in Windows 11 and how they can be helpful.
Where to Find the Settings
All accessibility settings can be found in the settings centre under the Accessibility Banner Tab. Once you open the tab, you will see a range of options to customise your Windows 11 experience. They can be easily accessed by pressing Windows Key+U.
Windows 11 has a range of visual settings aimed at making items on the screen easier to read. You can modify the text size, change the colour contrast, or use speech feedback. Additionally, visual effects can be toggled on or off, such as always showing scrollbars, transparency effects, animation effects, and the speed at which pop-up notifications disappear.
Mouse Pointer and Touch
For those with difficulty locating the mouse pointer, the mouse pointer settings can be adjusted. There are four built-in options: white with a black outline, all-black, inverted colour, and colourful. You can also adjust the size of the pointer via a slider. If your computer has a touchscreen, you can modify the thickness of the visible notification of the region touched.
For users with visual impairments, the text cursor settings allow you to add an indicator that appears when you are typing. You can modify the size and colour of the text cursor, making it easier to see. You can also increase the thickness of the text cursor.
The magnifier settings allow you to modify the magnifier area, turn it on and off, and access minimal screen reading functionality. You can also turn on the magnifier by pressing the Windows+Plus keys on the keyboard, increase the magnification using the same shortcut, and decrease it by pressing the Windows +Minus keys on the keyboard. The magnifier can be turned off by pressing the Windows+Escape keys.
The colour filters can be used to modify on-screen colours to make them easier to see for people with colour blindness. There are a number of built-in settings to choose from, and you can turn this on and off with the Windows+Control+C keyboard shortcut.
The contrast themes put the entire computer into a higher contrast mode. There are four built-in settings to choose from. You can also turn this on and off using the Alt+Shift+Print Screen keystroke.
The narrator is a basic screen reader that reads out the text on the screen. This can be helpful for people with visual impairments. While dedicated software would be used for more advanced functionality, the narrator can be a useful tool for those who need basic assistance.
The settings in Hearing are aimed at making the experience of using a computer better for someone with hearing difficulties. Within these settings, stereo audio can be turned off, and visual cues to audio notifications can be turned on. Captions can also be turned on to convert all spoken audio into captions that appear on a banner at the top of the screen.
The settings in interaction are aimed at improving the experience of somebody with motor control issues. For example, speech settings allow you to control your computer by voice using Voice Access. There are also options to turn on voice typing. Additionally, the keyboard settings allow you to use sticky keys to make complex keystrokes easier, filter keys to ignore repeated keystrokes, and toggle keys to improve the notification of the ‘lock’ keys. The mouse setting gives the ability to use a mouse with the number pad. Eye Control settings can also be used if a physical eye tracker is present.
With Windows 11, Microsoft have made great strides in helping those with disabilities and impairments use computers to their full potential, but these in-built settings are only the tip of the iceberg, and additional software or modifications may be required to get the most out of your Windows experience. If you feel these settings aren’t good enough or are struggling to access the apps you need, please get in touch to see how we can help. If you have any questions or comments about this blog post or accessibility in general, try our Accessibility Agony Aunt for more advice - all queries will get a response and the most popular queries will be published on our website.