Awareness of the need for businesses to become more disability inclusive has grown in recent times, but many companies still have a long way to go. Far too many people with disabilities are being held back from reaching their full potential.
The team at incovo are passionate about diversity in the workplace – in fact our CEO Chris Thomas finalised for the ‘Diversity Hero of the Year Award‘ last year – and we are proud to provide the technology and support to help businesses achieve it.
Here, our IT experts discuss the latest advances in accessibility technology from Microsoft Teams – each one an important step towards bridging the disability divide.
First, ask yourself – is my content accessible?
Microsoft Teams is a great way to share content – through meetings, calls, and messages. But before sharing any content, it’s a good idea to use the Accessibility Checker, available in most Microsoft Office apps such as PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. This useful tool reviews your content and flags up any potential accessibility issues. Crucially, it explains why each issue might pose a problem for someone with a disability and gives clear suggestions as to how you can resolve the issue.
Helping those with visual impairments
For the visually impaired, switching to the high contrast mode can make a real difference, helping you to see text and images on your screen more clearly, and helping to prevent eye strain.
For anyone using Microsoft Teams to connect with someone who is visually impaired, it can be helpful to change to a blurred background. This helps to reduce visual distractions, making it easier for the visually impaired person to focus on the person speaking.
Finally, add alt text to visuals in chat messages. Briefly describe the image and a screen reader, supported by Microsoft Teams, will then read the text to the user.
Helping the deaf and hearing impaired
For the deaf and hearing impaired, turning on live captions can enable you to read exactly what people are saying, so you can join the conversation without missing vital information.
If you’re using a sign language interpreter in your Microsoft Teams meetings, you can ‘pin’
their video on your screen so they are always visible, regardless of who is talking. The meeting organiser can also ‘spotlight’ this video which pins it for everyone in the meeting.
Remember, people who read lips need to see the speaker’s lips clearly, so make sure everyone due to speak has adequate lighting.
For anyone speaking during a Microsoft Teams meeting, be aware that background noise can be very distracting. In Microsoft Teams for Windows desktop, you can choose from three levels of noise suppression to help everyone focus on what’s being said.
Finally, it is possible to capture the text version of a Microsoft Teams call and save this transcript to read through later.
Helping those with cognitive disabilities
Recording your Microsoft Teams meeting, watching it back, and pausing when needed can be a great way of enabling you to take things at your own pace.
Microsoft Teams chat and messages can be made easier to read and understand by using the built-in heading styles and lists, as well as emojis.
Speak to incovo about making your business more disability inclusive
incovo can provide comprehensive Microsoft Teams training to your whole team to ensure everyone is fully utilising its innovative features. Many of these features can make all the difference to disabled people – enabling them to connect, contribute and thrive. Just call 0345 450 8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make it happen.