Microsoft reveals IE11 features to assist blind and visually impaired users

Microsoft included some improvements to its Windows Narrator screen reader feature when it launched Windows 8 in 2012 to help blind and visually impaired users to engage with the operating system. This week, as the launch of Windows 8.1 approaches, Microsoft has revealed some new features it is putting into Internet Explorer 11 that will work alongside Windows Narrator and other screen readers for those same users.

In a post on Microsoft's IE blog, it states that IE11 has seen some improvements for editing web-based emails and online documents. One will offer auto-correct for misspelled words in IE and another will inform the user of which letter has been deleted when the person says "backspace" in Windows Narrator.

IE11 also will help with formatting an email or document. Microsoft says, "For example, Microsoft Narrator says 'bold' and 'end bold' to let the user know that a section of text was emphasized with bold styling." You can see how that will work in the brief video clip below.

Microsoft has also improved support in IE11 for visually impaired users if they are accessing Input Method Editors, which are used to type East Asian languages using an English language keyboard. Basically, these editors let users type in English characters that correspond to the East Asian language they want to express phonetically, and then the user is shown a number of choices for the actual character in that language. Users can access IE11 with Input Method Editors and Windows Narrator can read those language character choices out loud.

Source: Microsoft

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