Windows 10 Build 15002 was released today, and per Dona Sarkar, here is a list of the accessibility features to be found in this new release.
A more inclusive experience out of the box:
The Windows Out-Of-Box-Experience (OOBE) Team has been working to reimagine how people set up their PCs for the first time. Our goal is to make this simpler and more accessible so every person powering on their new PC can independently set it up. While we have made numerous improvements in past releases to achieve this goal, we now want to take it to the next level where people can listen and respond to Cortana verbally (when asked questions*) to further simplify and make the setup process more accessible to even more people.
A more inclusive experience out of the box
This new experience is still a work in progress, so there are some places that still include the older OOBE pages and Cortana is unable to help you get your PC fully set up. We plan to continue to do more work on this so stay tuned! While you can’t access the Feedback Hub during OOBE, please take a moment once you’ve reached the desktop to complete the Quest and log feedback in the Feedback Hub.
*Works for languages that support Cortana. For languages that don’t support Cortana, you will still get the new experience without the speech capabilities.
Note: We are working on making Installation media (ISOs) available for Build 15002 in the next week for Windows Insiders to more easily try out this experience.
Narrator support for WinPE and WinRE:
This build also now supports the use with Narrator from WinPE for installing Windows as well as troubleshooting options with WinRE. When we make the ISOs available for this build, you’ll be able to try this out by building a bootable USB drive or other bootable media and using the ISO files. After booting into WinPE, wait 15-20 seconds and then use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + WIN + Enter to launch Narrator. You will need to restart Narrator to use it after any reboot during the install process.
NOTE: Not all audio devices are supported. USB headsets are the recommended option for audio, since the full Windows audio drivers for the PC are not available in WinPE/WinRE. Built-in speakers may also work on some PC’s but if you do not hear Narrator announce that it is starting, try connecting a USB headset and restarting Narrator. Narrator Touch is not supported during OS install.
Braille support in Windows:
Not too long ago, we mentioned Braille support was coming to Windows. That work is starting to appear in builds, and you will find a new button that offers the ability to download support for braille via Settings > Ease of Access > Narrator. While this button is present, the feature doesn’t work yet so hold off on giving it a try for now. We’ll let you know in a future post when braille can be used.
Narrator users please take note that the Narrator keyboard shortcut is changing: To help reduce accidental launch of Windows Narrator, we have updated the hotkeys to be more intentional from WIN + Enter to Ctrl + WIN + Enter.
We’ve made several improvements to Narrator for navigation when using Scan mode. You can now navigate to headings of a specific level by typing the number of the heading level you want e.g. 1 for the next heading level 1. Add shift for the previous heading. In addition, Narrator’s Scan Mode now allows you to press Home and End to move to the start and end of a line of text respectively when pressed. Finally, when in Scan Mode you can press Ctrl + Home and Ctrl + End to move to the start or end of the web page or other content you are reading.
Improved legibility for UWP apps in high contrast:
As part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, we improved the legibility of many websites viewed in high contrast by showing an opaque layer behind the text. We recognize that similar to the state of websites on the Internet, many UWP apps have not been tailored to present an optimal experience for users who need increased contrast. So, we’re taking a similar approach to improve how UWP apps look in high contrast. We’ve updated the XAML framework to now display an opaque layer behind the text and coerce semi-transparent UI to be fully opaque. This addresses the most common issues in apps like in the before/after screenshot below. These adjustments are applied by default in high contrast and apply to *all* XAML Store applications that run on Build 15002 and higher, whether they explicitly target this build (with the SDK) or not. However, applications that render their own text on something such as a SurfaceImageSource do not receive the automatic adjustment from the framework. If you find any issues with this work, please reach out to @MSFTEnable on Twitter at any time about accessibility problems and requests you have for accessibility in Windows.
Improved legibility for UWP apps in high contrast
In addition, we’ve updated Windows Ink to now support a rich color range experience when using your device in high contrast. Try it out in Sketchpad today and let us know what you think!