Microsoft Teams has received a significant update to its accessibility tools which should make it easier for users to use the video conferencing platform.
In a Microsoft blog posting (Opens in new tab , Accessibility Architect Chris Sano announced the creation of a “best-in-class experience for the deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) community” on Teams.
Sano, a Deaf person, was assigned to make the platform more accessible. Sign Language View, the first release, is now available. It aims to improve the participation of D/HH users in Microsoft Teams calls.
Teams sign language
When needed, up to two sign language interpreters’ video feeds are kept in a consistent location so that D/HH meeting participants can dive straight into the call. The video tiles have been designed to be of the best size and shape so that they stream at their highest quality.
In its promise to listen to customer feedback, Microsoft has made Sign Language View preferences “sticky”, so that any settings don’t need to be re-applied for each call.
According to Sano, you can also “pre-identify a set of preferred signers that you work with inside your organization on a regular basis – for example, your regular interpreters (or for interpreters, your regular clients).” You can also choose to have captions automatically enabled for all your meetings.
Sano asks that D/HH customers continue to provide feedback through the ‘Help’ menu from within Teams, or to call the US helpdesk to communicate directly in ASL.
It is expected to roll out “in the coming weeks” which coincides with an entry on the company’s Roadmap (Opens in new tab A December 2022 general availability. Sign Language View is now available to the public. Public Preview Program (Opens in a new tab It may also be possible to have it done on a per-user basis.