Collaboration for All: Microsoft Teams and Accessibility for Disabled Individuals

While the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do business, not all the changes have made work more difficult. In fact, for a significant  portion of the population, remote work and social distancing measures simplified life, and not just for introverts or working parents. The rise of the remote meeting and the remote conference extended inclusivity to people with cognitive or physical limitations who may otherwise be hindered from in-person participation. While many workers report improvements to their lives as a result of working remotely, there are many who also find digital replacements for social gatherings to be draining. As the U.S. economy continues a staggered  re-opening, accessibility experts and disabled individuals hope not to lose the gains that were made as a response to the pandemic. 

What is certain is that the workplace has changed forever, and thanks to powerful tools such as Microsoft Teams, everyone is invited. Microsoft Teams was built from the ground up with accessibility in mind, and that dedication remains. 

Below are some of Microsoft Teams’ Accessibility Features you might not be aware of:

  • Screen Reader Access for All Platforms – Microsoft Teams is compatible with Narrator and JAWS on Windows machines, VoiceOver on MacOS and iOS, and TalkBack with Teams for Android. Using the screen reader compatibility, users can chat, make and answer calls, navigate through Teams boards and channels, manage contacts, and do nearly everything else seeing users can with the Teams visual interface. 
  • Live Transcription Feature in Meetings Live Transcription gives users a new way to follow along and review meeting discussions with real-time transcription on the desktop client and at the end of the meeting on the web application. Users will be able to download the transcript file via chat once the meeting has ended. This new feature is rolling out in September, so contact your WME admin to find out if you have access.
  • Infinite Shortcuts – When the product team at Microsoft was building the new Teams platform, a Microsoft software developer named Adam Samec, who is blind, was able to show his teammates firsthand how important shortcuts and consistency are for people with vision impairments. As a result, Teams has ready-made shortcuts for common actions in navigating the platform, messaging, meetings and calls, and more. 
  • Disability Answer Desk – As part of Microsoft’s commitment to accessibility for all, the Disability Answer Desk is a resource where users can get answers and support for Microsoft and Windows products with accessibility features and assistive technology. They even offer support in ASL via videophone!

If employees at your organization need assistance configuring Microsoft Teams to meet their needs, Windows Management Experts has the expertise for optimal customization, along with strong industry relationships within the Microsoft community to offer support. Whether your need is  short-term staff augmentation, remote IT support,  one-time deployment, or a combination of requirements, WME is here to power your entire organization through stronger, accessible IT solutions. 

Call (888) 307-0133 WME today to discuss accessibility challenges your company is facing or learn about the latest advances being made to take Microsoft even further.

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