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JAN 10 2023
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Tip of the Month January 2023 -Windows 11 accessibility features

The new Accessibility pane and human icon  in Windows 11 settings were designed to make it easier to find and use all the built-in accessibility features Windows offers to tailor your device to your unique needs.

Ease of access options can help make it easier to:

  • Use your computer without a display. Narrator lets you hear audio descriptions for whatever is on the screen e.g. text and buttons
  • See whats on the screen. Make the content on the screen bigger using magnifier, or high contrast mode.   
  • Use your keyboard. Turn on Sticky Keys, Filter Keys, or the onscreen keyboard.  
  • Use your mouse. Change the pointer size, or turn on the mouse keys to use your keyboard to move the mouse.   
  • Use Windows speech recognition to enable voice commands to control the desktop, dictate text into electronic documents and email, navigate websites, perform keyboard shortcuts and to operate the mouse cursor 
  • Identify start up with the use of sound schemes

Setting up your PC to make it more accessible takes only a few steps. The Accessibility options are now easily identifiable in Settings. Select the Start button, then select Settings >Accessibility.

Below is a quick guide to some Windows 11 inbuilt features. Click on the links to find out more:

Inbuilt features to support physical limitations: 

Onscreen Keyboardallows user to use the mouse cursor to operate an onscreen keyboard. Often used in conjunction with alternative access methods, such as head mouse, joy stick, track ball etc. This feature may be beneficial for users who have
 - limited hand function/dexterity
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/10762/windows-use-on-screen-keyboard
Keyboard SettingsOften adjusted for clients who have limited dexterity/mobility of the hands.

Mouse Keysenables the user to use the keyboard to control the mouse cursor i.e. numeric keypad or the arrow keys. Often clients who use mouth sticks use this feature. 
Sticky Keysthis features is often used, when users are unable to press a combination of keys at one time, for example CTRL+ALT+DEL. This feature allows users to press keys one at a time. Turn on Sticky Keys quickly by pressing the ‘shift’ key 5 times. 
Filter Keyswhen turned on Windows ignores when you press the same key rapidly or when you press keys for several seconds unintentionally.
Mouse Propertieswithin this setting you are able to change configuration of button set up, speed in which you double click and enable ‘ClickLock’ a helpful feature if you are unable to drag and hold. There is also Pointer options, where you can change speed and visibility of the pointer.
Folder Optionsfor people who have difficulty with double clicking, you are able to go into ‘folder options’ and under ‘General’ you are able to select ‘single click to open an item’ 
Speech recognition - lets you control your PC by voice alone without needing a keyboard or mouse. Users speak specific commands to navigate, or to dictate which converts speech to text.  The use of either a headset or microphone will ensure improved accuracy.  It is important to note this feature is not specific to English: New Zealand. 

The following link shows you the specific commands required to operate this feature: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-speech-recognition-commands-9d25ef36-994d-f367-a81a-a326160128c7#bkmk_dictationwin11

Inbuilt features to support Vision Impairment

Magnifierenlarges part of the screen.  This feature enables the user to choose between 3 views – full screen, lens or docked depending on the persons need. You can also alter how much magnification is required. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/11542/windows-use-magnifier
Contrast themes If it is hard to read text on your screen due to the colours, you can change the theme of your PC to a colour combination that is easier to read. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13862/windows-use-high-contrast-mode
Cursor Optionsallows the user to change the colour and size of the cursor. There is also an option to invert the cursor (i.e. when on white page cursor is black and when on black page cursor is white).
Narratorreads aloud any text on the screen. Can be used to access the desktop, exploring the internet, reading emails and text in word documents.
Colour Filters – use of a colour filter to make colours on your screen easier to see and can be used to help you distinguish between things that differ only by colour. 
Audio/Sounds – Sound themes can be applied to events in Windows and programs to support vision.
Immersive Reader – utilised in Microsoft Edge you can improve reading and comprehension by removing visual clutter, customizing text spacing or zooming in on a few lines at a time. Please note this works alongside a screen reader app. These features may be beneficial for users who have
     - difficulties with vision (blind, have low vision)
     - difficulties reading
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/complete-guide-to-narrator-e4397a0d-ef4f-b386-d8ae-c172f109bdb1

Inbuilt features to support Auditory Impairment 

If you have trouble hearing audio alerts, you can have your PC display them visually. Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > Accessibility Audio 
Captions – You can use captions to read the spoken words in videos you watch.
Windows can use visual cues rather than sounds in some applications. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/10571/windows-use-text-visual-alternative-sounds

Written by Jennie Burrowes, Occupational Therapist


To download this Tip of the Month as a PDF, please click here

The new Accessibility pane and human icon  in Windows 11 settings were designed to make it easier to find and use all the built-in accessibility features Windows offers to tailor your device to your unique needs.

Ease of access options can help make it easier to:

  • Use your computer without a display. Narrator lets you hear audio descriptions for whatever is on the screen e.g. text and buttons
  • See whats on the screen. Make the content on the screen bigger using magnifier, or high contrast mode.   
  • Use your keyboard. Turn on Sticky Keys, Filter Keys, or the onscreen keyboard.  
  • Use your mouse. Change the pointer size, or turn on the mouse keys to use your keyboard to move the mouse.   
  • Use Windows speech recognition to enable voice commands to control the desktop, dictate text into electronic documents and email, navigate websites, perform keyboard shortcuts and to operate the mouse cursor 
  • Identify start up with the use of sound schemes

Setting up your PC to make it more accessible takes only a few steps. The Accessibility options are now easily identifiable in Settings. Select the Start button, then select Settings >Accessibility.

Below is a quick guide to some Windows 11 inbuilt features. Click on the links to find out more:

Inbuilt features to support physical limitations: 

Onscreen Keyboardallows user to use the mouse cursor to operate an onscreen keyboard. Often used in conjunction with alternative access methods, such as head mouse, joy stick, track ball etc. This feature may be beneficial for users who have
 - limited hand function/dexterity
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/10762/windows-use-on-screen-keyboard