Microsoft outlines new accessibility features coming to Windows 11

Microsoft is reportedly readying Windows 11 22H2 to hit its RTM this month, and now that it is close to reaching its general availability, Microsoft has outlined four noteworthy accessibility features coming with the final version of the update, including a more immersive Focus experience, system-wide live captions, more powerful voice access tools and more natural voices for Narrator.

A more immersive Focus experience includes an option to turn on Do Not Disturb from the Action Center. The new Do Not Disturb setting gives you the option to prioritize which notifications you want to show up while it's turned on, thus making the whole process a lot simpler.

Windows 11 Focus sessions

Focus sessions is another noteworthy feature that will help you be more productive on Windows. Upon starting a Focus session, Windows 11 will turn on Do Not Disturb and turn off taskbar badges, and will launch a timer to remind you to take breaks between works. It's integrated with the Clock App and Spotify.

System-wide live captions on audio content will also make their way to Windows 11. As the name suggests, Windows 11 can automatically transcribe content from any audio clip. It's important to note that the feature works without an internet connection as captions are generated on the device. The feature is already available for Windows 11 Insiders.

Windows 11 Live caption for audio content

Moreover, Windows 11 users open and switch between apps, browse the web and read and author mail using their voices. Upon turning on Voice access for the first time, Windows 11 will prompt you to download a speech model for the on-device speech recognition to help you get started. Notably, Voice access is available with support for U.S. English. The feature is already available for Windows 11 Insiders.

Voice access feature in Windows 11

Voice access includes an interactive guide that explains how to complete common tasks using your voice. You can also access a complete list of commands by asking “what can I say?” when voice access is listening. Voice access even gives real-time feedback of what it heard so that you know which word was not recognized correctly when it makes a mistake.

After hearing feedback from customers on the Narrator experience, Microsoft is finally in the process of adding natural voices for Narrator to enable people with visual impairment to enjoy scenarios like browsing the web, reading, authoring mail, and more. Like the Voice access feature, Narrator natural voices are available with support for U.S. English.

Natural Narrator in Windows 11

Windows 11 22H2 update is more than these four new accessibility features. You can read about all the new features coming to Windows 11 here.

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