Enabling accessibility in Windows 8? They're on it!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/02/16 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2012/02/16/10268510.aspx


The other day, over in the Building Windows 8 blog, Jennifer Norberg (senior PM lead on the HID - Human Interaction Platform - team) wrote an amazing blog entitled Enabling accessibility.

No translations just yet, but soon enpugh localized versions will be posted!

Steven's intro:

 Windows 8 is a product we design for an incredibly broad spectrum of people around the world. One of the areas where we have worked to deliver an even greater level of innovation is in ensuring that Windows 8, particularly the new Metro style experience, is accessible to everyone regardless of their physical abilities. In this post we will talk about the engineering work that goes into the features we refer to as “accessibility” – though as you will see, many of these features are broadly applicable and just make the product better for everyone. If you are interested in Microsoft’s overall efforts in accessibility and related topics, please be sure to check out www.microsoft.com/enable. This post is especially important for developers building Metro style apps for inclusion in the Windows Store, as we are asking you to test the accessibility of your application prior to submission. I encourage folks who have never seen these tools in action to learn about them through the video. The upcoming beta will be a great chance for everyone to experience the product.

An important note.  With the next public release of code (later this month) we will see a significant improvement in the capabilities described in this post, but we still have work to do between beta and RC especially with regards to working with the latest releases of third party tools. I just want to make sure folks know that this post talks about improvements in the next release as well as functionality that will still be improving as we get to the release candidate.
 
This post was authored by Jennifer Norberg, a senior program manager lead on our HID team.

--Steven

The thing I really like about Enabling accessibility is how it covers the reasons and the types of enabling needed/provided and the history and the improvements and the way that new pieces -- of the Metro UI in particular -- are covered, and how the Store itself will be working to try to get apps written by others to also be accessible.

I'm really looking forward to seeing applications that meet the Baseline accessibility requirements. I mean, in the end Windows is a platform, so many of its features are only going to be as accessible as the apps people install and use. Knowing the effort to help creating more accessible apps in the ecosystems simply awesome.

And I'm not just saying that because of the things I need to work better with apps (though I admit that doesn't hurt!). I'm just annoyed and offended when people can't use a feature or a control or a product or a platform....

Anyway, check out Jennifer Norberg's Enabling accessibility blog, and if you have been trying out Windows 8 you can try and figure out what's there now and what's coming soon!


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