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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  • Lunaria - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    This was the update that made me go back pre-creators update. I am done with them for now. It must be the first time they messed up DX so much, all because of some placebo game mode, some useless game bar and what the hell is that new feature that they added about cheaters gonna do? I sent them feedback about it, and pointed out how clunky it is, how much frame drops I am getting after it and how "disable fullscreen optimizations" or adding game mode toggle in the settings panel and then hiding that same toggle from us in this update is just terrific. They already messed up plenty of things. Sure your games alt tab faster in fullscreen exclusive mode... who cares if they don't run properly? I am on version 1151 build whatever, some February 2016 one. Immediately changed the update server IP so I do not get updates. Leave me alone. If they want to market gaming as a thing, they should go back to their origins and take their stable DX core, reduce latency even further, implement low profile recording with minimal impact and most importantly ask users if they want to use those features or even worse if it goes bad again, those "features". They improved it, yes, but it doesn't even come close to the smooth heaven that gaming before it was added was. Not to mention the creators tools that most people do not need. The Settings menu is getting populated slowly with useful and not so useful information, but it is nothing impressive and I doubt it will ever be. Microsoft if you get only 10 people to test your features, you will recieve better and more valuable feedback than pushing those things to users who will find a way to disable and not use them because you forced them to do so. Give us back what we love and don't Telemetry on us or force us to use Windows Defender, thank you. Reply
  • bill44 - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    Whatever happened to Windows 10 Color Management?
    WFCU supposed to bring in stage 2 improvements to color management, but looks like it's been left out.
    Wide COlor Gamut support is useless without it.
    Reply
  • Lunaria - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    Not to mention they reset my gamma settings all the time. Reply
  • Icehawk - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    Let me know when they figure out how to make W10 not bork a good % of my machines when upgrading, super annoying having to rollback and have wasted an hour. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Stick to win7 and maybe get a xbox one for those games that are win10 exclusives? Reply
  • Lolimaster - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Nothing else justifies having win10 for productivity. Reply
  • marvdmartian - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    No doubt! At least flash something up on the screen, letting me know that you're pushing an update, and installing it. That way, I'm not suddenly dealing with a crippled machine, that is spending so much of its resources installing a bunch of (mostly useless) "new & improved" apps, and wondering why it's not doing what I want it to do?

    At least you got a notification of updates, with previous versions of Windows. W10, you're not sure, until you finally get so frustrated, that you reboot....and only THEN get the "Please wait, installing updates" message.

    My 2nd favorite part of W10, is the apps that they don't want you to uninstall....even if there's no chance in hell, that you will EVER use them! Because, who doesn't want a bunch of crapware, clogging up your OS, right??
    Reply
  • Apple Worshipper - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Windows sucked and will continue to do so. iOS is the undisputed future while iPads will be the one and only true form of mobile computing going. All others are not even worth speaking about Reply
  • Marburg U - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    And, as ALL the previous updates. This gives out the "interactive windows station" error, on half my computers. Another great job. Probably it will take me 4 days to reformat everything (AGAIN). Reply
  • Glock24 - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Another change I noticed is that that air now using more of the "modern app" control panels. For example, when you right click the network icon and select "network and sharing center" you her one of those new control panels, which I personally dislike. The one good thing though is that it's now possible to set any network as "public" or "private" in the new network control panel

    Another change I noticed is on the task manager. It now shows GPU usage and also shows multiple GPUs where it applies.

    I've not seen any of the new "Fluent Design". Is that only for " modern apps"? If so I'll never see it, as I uninstall all of those as I find them very annoying.
    Reply

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