June 8, 2023

Microsoft 365 set to get an accessibility assistant

Final yr through the Ignite occasion, Microsoft rebranded the Workplace 365 app to Microsoft 365 to higher place the corporate for the long run. The rebrand was Microsoft’s approach of rounding up all its companies underneath an easier-to-understand grouping and easily figuring out a single service as Microsoft 365.

To that finish, Microsoft appears to be making appreciable strides. Earlier at the moment, the corporate launched Accessibility Assistant. A brand new function designed to assist content material creators make their work extra accessible with much less effort in Microsoft 365.

How will it work? Properly, in line with Microsoft the assistant will present strategies and suggestions that may assist creators establish components that may in flip trigger accessibility points. “Our objective is to make checking and fixing accessibility points pure and easy, whereas holding you within the circulation of labor,” says Microsoft.

The corporate has additionally famous that the brand new function ships with three key improvements that construct and broaden on the prevailing Accessibility Checker. First up is healthier defaults, designed to assist stop points earlier than they transpire.

Subsequent up is the real-time and in-context remediation that’s in place to assist creators repair points as they happen. And eventually, clear, easy steerage which can function instantly within the circulation of labor.

Moreover, to additional promote content material accessibility Microsoft is launching a brand new colour picker in Microsoft 365 Apps. It’s designed to account for each artistic license and to fulfill the necessity for establishing a distinction between textual content and its background.

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The colour picker expertise ships with two modes. The primary mode is just like the earlier expertise in a number of methods however it should now function a tooltip that’s designed to information customers towards colours with enough distinction. The second mode, high-contrast then again “narrows the obtainable colour choices that meet distinction necessities (plus a further row of accessible choices that align with the chosen theme and design).”


One other notable addition is the brand new Accessibility Assistant pane, which is anticipated to ship someday this yr. It contains a “clear, environment friendly interface like Microsoft Editor, with plain-language explanations” which is designed to assist creators tackle complete classes of accessibility points simply.

Shifting ahead, Microsoft plans to part out the Accessibility Checker and substitute it with Accessibility Assistant throughout Microsoft 365 apps. The function’s capabilities can even be expanded and even be built-in with AI. Nevertheless, the function is simply transport to Microsoft 365 Insiders.