The UK Education team’s best export, Ray Fleming, writes an excellent blog all about education in Australia (you should check it out!), and he recently wrote an excellent piece all about accessibility in Office 365 for education…
The Microsoft Accessibility team run a wide range of initiatives, including a global network of accessibility centres, an online accessibility tutorial programme for Windows, Office and Office 365, which includes Office 365 for education. They also publish a comprehensive range of general guides for specific types of impairments:
- Vision Impairments
- Dexterity and Mobility Impairments
- Hearing Impairments
- Learning Impairments
- Language and Communication Impairments
- Age-related Impairments
Accessibility in Office 365 for education
The precise details of the accessibility features available to you will depend on which components of Office 365 for education that you use, and which web browsers your users select, but I’ve summarised the accessibility for the key components and features below:
- Accessibility features in Office Web Apps
Office Web Apps provide screen reader support, keyboard accessibility, and high contrast modes. Office Web Apps run in a web browser so you can also use your web browser’s accessibility features to improve the readability and accessibility of Office Web Apps, such as screen zoom, colour and font controls.
- Support for assistive technology products in Word and PowerPoint Web Apps
The Word Web App and PowerPoint Web App have display modes that make them accessible to screen readers. If you use assistive technologies, such as a screen reader or speech recognition software, you will have the best experience in Office Web Apps if the assistive technology that you use supports WAI-ARIA.
- Accessibility in Lync Online for instant messaging, calls, and meetings
Lync provides many accessibility features including keyboard navigation, high contrast, keyboard shortcuts, sharing notification, and screen reader support. You can setup Lync to hear incoming messages read aloud, as well as using keyboard shortcuts to make it easier to navigate and move between active windows
- Accessibility in SharePoint Online for team document collaboration and websites
SharePoint Online includes More Accessible Mode, keyboard shortcuts, easy tab navigation, and help for web managers who want to ensure the webpages created are accessible.
- Accessibility in Exchange Online for email and calendaring
With Exchange Online, you can listen to email on your desk or mobile phone, manage your calendar, and use familiar keyboard shortcuts when you are managing email and your calendar online.
There’s plenty of detailed information on the Microsoft Accessibility website but perhaps better still, a handy downloadable hand-out, "Accessibility in Microsoft Office 365" for education, to share with colleagues who are starting to use Office 365 for education.