Interaction Updates: Accessibility and more

The Fall Creators Update also brings some interesting new developments in the interaction with Windows itself. There’s now the ability to control Windows 10 with your eyes, using Eye Control beta, a much improved screen reader, and improved dictation support, all in an effort to make Windows more accessible.

Eye Control

If anyone has had a chance to try out a system with the Tobii Eye Tracker, it’s a very interesting camera system that can accurately track your eyes, displaying exactly where you are looking. This has been leveraged on gaming PCs as not only a way to allow faster interactions, but for training as well, since you can review your footage and see where you were looking during the game. Microsoft has added this technology support into Windows to allow people with disabilities to operate an onscreen mouse, keyboard, and text-to-speech, using their eyes.

Narrator

For visually impaired people, Narrator has been improved using Microsoft Cognitive Services, meaning the Narrator program can generate image descriptions for images that are not accompanied by text.

Dictation

Dictation has also been improved with modern speech recognition services, which are cloud based, much like digital personal assistants, and the accuracy of the speech recognition should be improved quite a bit.

Color Filters

Color vision deficiency, or color blindness, is a condition that affects many people. With the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has added the ability to apply filters to Windows to improve the experience of using a computer for people that suffer from this condition. They’ve added five filters to cover the various types of color blindness.

Swipe Keyboard

Even though Windows 10 Mobile always had a great swipe keyboard, the desktop OS was always saddled with a hunt and peck touch based keyboard. With the Fall Creators Update, you can now choose the swipe keyboard when in touch mode by pressing the keyboard icon in the top left of the touch keyboard. The new Swipe keyboard is practically identical to the Windows 10 Mobile one, and that’s not a bad thing. It has word prediction as well. It does have a drawback in that it is size constrained, so it’s a bit odd looking on a larger display, but should be an improvement over the original keyboard to anyone that prefers a swipe style, which should be everyone by this point.

Emoji Picker

If you love Emoji, there’s a new Emoji picker as well, which can be accessed with Win + Period or Semicolon.

However, it’s currently only available to people with their region set to the USA, which is unfortunately an incredibly common problem for users outside of the USA, such as myself. Even though Microsoft is a global company, then tend to region restrict random things for no apparent reason, and this is one of them.

Find My Pen

Pen interaction has been a feature that Microsoft has promoted for some time, however losing your pen can be a bit of a pain. To help with lost pens, Windows 10 will now track your pen based on where it was used with your PC last. Pens don’t have built-in GPS, unlike phones, or other devices, so this is the best compromise available. With the cost of a digital pen being what it is, even helping once will make this feature worth it.

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  • prophet001 - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    Oh that's rich. Google trying to shut off another manufacturer's spyware.

    rofl
    Reply
  • pjcamp - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    How the hell do you spy on a machine with the power off? Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    I think that was referring to a system with power connected, but in the "power off" state. The Intel Management Engine would still draw some power, so it wouldn't really be considered fully powered off. It just hasn't initialized the boot code from UEFI / BIOS / Etc. If I recall correctly, the Intel Management Engine doesn't require boot code to bring it up, but it can be reconfigured by the boot code. This is where coreboot could become useful if you want to disable the engine. Reply
  • Shiitaki - Tuesday, December 05, 2017 - link

    It's not that hard to bypass the ME engine, just add an external network card. Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    "Microsoft should block ALL applications by default "
    People love to make sweeping comments like that without thinking through the consequences. Block ALL? Sure. So what does your average home user do then? With everything blocked you have to give them some mechanism to unblock the things they need or want. Unfortunately 99.99% will have no idea....and will click "yes" or "OK" or whatever. OR they won't have any clue what to do and will only know they wanted something and it doesn't work. Then the people who can't figure out how to get to their google docs etc will be on here flaming about the Microsoft Conspiracy to prevent them from using third party products.
    Reply
  • Hurr Durr - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    This psycho was running around comments not long ago screaming how he "hack-proofed" WinXP and "challenged hackers and various intelligence services around the world" to crack it. Make your conclusions. Reply
  • Bullwinkle-J-Moose - Saturday, December 23, 2017 - link

    Which Psycho is that Hurr Durr?

    I recall running around claiming that they couldn't "wreck" my box but I never said they couldn't "hack" my box

    I would NEVER use XP for banking or passwords because even a read only system can be "hacked" but not permanently wrecked

    This box is for testing the best of the best malware on the planet and it has often been "hacked"
    However, a simple reboot restores it to pristine and fully functional condition by wiping away any malware, so stop trolling with your fake news
    Reply
  • Samus - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    I trust Microsoft diagnostic submissions a hell of a lot more than amazon, Facebook, or google. As a whole I trust Microsoft and Apple over just about any other tech company because they are the only two that have business models not revolving around ad revenue. That’s partially why Bing failed...it didn’t invade your privacy enough. Reply
  • ddriver - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    LOL and WOW, how dumb are you. Their business model revolves around milking people in every possible way they can as hard as they can. What an idiocy it is to assume they go though the effort to create an OS that is spyware at its core and they will not monetize on the acquired information just because they have other sources of revenue. Reply
  • prophet001 - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    They did this in the wake of the sheeple devouring Google's and Apple's creations and paradigms.

    If you can't beat em, join me.

    Microsoft was one of the last bastions of personal privacy in an OS but ya'll told them, through your adoption practices, "hey it's cool. take my stuff" and so they did.
    Reply

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