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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  • ddrіver - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Oh, and don't get me started on the whole "other big OS makers collect everything about you at all times" or "other big OS makers don't bother to push hardware vendors to support phone hardware more than 2-3 years so you only get 1 or 2 years of major updates". M$ is the real problem here. Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    @ddriver: "Oh, and don't get me started on the whole "other big OS makers collect everything about you at all times" or "other big OS makers don't bother to push hardware vendors to support phone hardware more than 2-3 years so you only get 1 or 2 years of major updates"."

    You want me to brush aside grievances from other vendors to make Microsoft look worse by lack of comparison? I REFUSE!!! Phones and tablets may be consumption devices that you are better off leaving anything sensitive far away from, but they've been pushed as computer replacements, they've been developed for as computer replacements, and much of the market uses them as computer replacements. People email on their phones, send sensitive messages on their phones, use their phones to facilitate payments, and even bank on their phones. You can either call out people for doing things the are not educated enough to know they shouldn't do on their phones, or you can call out the vendors for creating and environment designed to cater to these practices while siphoning data in the background. Not everyone can be a security expert and the average consumer has a difficult enough time with malicious entities sending bad emails, texts, and links through their messenger/social app of choice. They shouldn't have to consider companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple as malicious entities.

    @ddriver: "M$ is the real problem here."

    No. If Microsoft fixed everything, it would not affect the issues you stated above with other vendors. Microsoft's actions are problematic for sure and they should not be excused just because vendor X, Y, and Z are worse. However, Microsoft's actions are a symptom of a larger problem created by the anti-privacy features built into iOS and Android devices when smartphones were rising in popularity and perpetuated by the lack of concern over these privacy invading features by the worldwide market. If enough people wholesale dropped these platforms (read: Significant loss of profits) for a less invasive platform despite the extra costs and inconveniences involved, then they would fix some of these problems. Unfortunately, not enough people seem to care.
    Reply
  • cwolf78 - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Funny how there are a ton of comparison benchmarks including on this very site that completely refute your anecdotal claims. Reply
  • Mo3tasm - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    You can benchmark how you want, but the "perceived" difference can't be benchmarked. Reply
  • mr_tawan - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    perception sometime is truth, some other time is illusion. Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    "slower than Win7 or even Win8.1"
    ----------------------------------------------
    That depends.....
    Bootup and shutdown speed is markedly faster but doing anything with your data is markedly slower
    Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    I just again tested Windows 8.1 boot time at 14 seconds (that is normal)
    Win 10 Full Crapper Edition booted to the same PC with the same SSD in 5.3 seconds
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Who cares about boot up speed, I boot up once every few months. Even a regular user doesn't boot up nowhere nearly enough to make a difference, when it craps over your entire usage. Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Regular users, sure, but I measure it and care because I have been known to boot several different operating systems from this machine in a single day

    BIOS is set so that there is no primary boot device, which means that I can swap drives (or thumb drives) while the computer is rebooting and it will boot to whatever is currently plugged in instead of fumbling in the BIOS to change the boot order

    Makes testing something new quick and easy, whether its in XP, Linux, Win 7, Win 8 or any Edition of Spyware Platform 10
    Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    I also keep all the bootable SSD's on an external SATA to ESATA+USB Power cable so when I switch from SSD to thumb drive during a reboot, all I need to do is unplug the USB power to the SSD boot drive and plug in a thumb drive during reboot Reply

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