In February, Microsoft gave some details on how it has been putting in features in Windows 8 to help people who have physical disabilities use Windows 8-based PCs. Today, the company offered up an update on those plans, specifically on the Narrator feature.
In a post on the official Windows 8 blog site, Microsoft said that it has been taking feedback on how to improve Narrator, which allows users with visual impairments to continue to work with Windows 8 applications. Microsoft said that some users felt that Narrator was not responsive enough when it came to touch screen apps. The blog states:
In the Release Preview, we have started to add audible cues; each gesture now has an associated sound that plays when the gesture is performed. These cues were designed to be quick, short and easily distinguishable, allowing you to instantly recognize whether your gesture is successful and if your action has been taken.
Yet another improvement put into Narrator deals with web browsing. Some users felt that Narrator in Windows 8 was not helpful enough for finding things like news headlines or stock quotes. Microsoft states:
In response, we added the concept of views to Narrator’s navigation commands. The new views are available in default navigation mode whenever you are on a webpage or other accessible text area, such as in the Mail app. The default Item view moves through the items on the page, and works the same way as item navigation throughout the system.
The different views are Headings, Links, Tables, Paragraphs, Lines, Words, and Characters. Narrator users in Windows 8 can switch between views by flicking up or down on a touch screen or by using the Caps Lock and Arrow keys on a standard keyboard.
Source: Windows 8 blog