Embedding accessibility in your working from home set up

Embedding accessibility in your working from home set up

We have all faced some new challenges in the past few weeks whilst settling into our new way of working from home, and for many, remote working is only expected to increase in future. It is more important than ever to prioritise accessibility and embed it into your virtual online set up to ensure a happy and inclusive workforce.

Provide your organisation with the tools, resources and Best Practice recommendations to ensure that working from home is accessible to everyone. The best place to start is with an open discussion with your community, leaning on their knowledge and experiences will help you meet their needs.

Key accessibility factors to consider whilst remote working

Online meetings for those hard of hearing

Microsoft Teams is an accessible tool that can be used to conduct online meetings, chat with colleagues, collaborate on work and stay in touch whilst out of the office.

  • Encourage everyone to turn on their cameras during meetings, so those with hearing loss can pick up on visual cues and identify who is talking.
  • Utilise the Live Caption feature in Teams to convert speech to text in a meeting or webinar.
  • Record your meetings so that attendees can go back and review the recording and auto-generated script at a later date and catch up on anything they might have missed during the meeting. Don’t forget to double check with all attendees that they are comfortable with the meeting being recorded.
  • Pin one speaker or an interpreter on the screen to avoid distractions.
  • Encourage attendees of a meeting to turn on background blur to help power up lipreading.

Maintain emotional wellbeing and mental health

It is more important than ever to support each other during these uncertain times and define a new work from home culture. Technology can play a big part in providing emotional inclusion whilst working apart.

  • Use MyAnalytics to ensure you make time to unplug from work and disconnect. Using data from across Office 365, the tool gives insight into your working habits, for example showing how much time you had to focus, and how frequently you are working outside of normal work hours.
  • Take regular breaks during your working day to help you focus.
  • Use Microsoft Teams to connect with your colleagues and decrease feelings of isolation. Catch up over a virtual coffee break or organise a virtual pub quiz.

Always check for accessibility

  • Use Accessibility insights to check your website and Windows set up for accessibility with quick and easy guides.
  • Accessibility checker can help to catch any potential barriers in your Microsoft 365 documents.
  • Share your videos with colleagues using Microsoft Stream, and its auto-generated caption feature.
  • Use alt-text on images and make sure formatting is screen reader friendly.

Other Accessibility Tools from Microsoft:

Office 365 Accessibility Tools

  • Tell Me

    Access commands in Office 365 applications without navigating the command ribbon, simply type what you want to do.

  • Focus Assist

    Block alerts and notifications to help get things done without distractions. Once focus period is over, Focus Assist will send you a summary of what you missed.

  • Immersive Reader

    Reads words aloud with simultaneous highlighting.

  • OneDrive

    Easily store and access files in OneDrive so you never lose your work.

  • Office Lens

    Transform text on a printed page into searchable and editable digital content, captured content can be exported to Office 365 Apps.

  • Editor

    Advanced proofing, editing tool and text suggestions, using machine learning and natural language processing.

  • Presentation Translator

    Present in PowerPoint with real-time auto-generated subtitles in over 60 languages.

  • Dictate

    Convert speech to text in Office 365, using your voice to type.

  • OneNote

    Take notes, plan projects, manage deadlines and to-do lists in OneNote by creating Outlook tasks, which can be viewed and tracked within Outlook.

  • Learning tools in Office 365

    Reduce focus to a few lines, adjust page colours, increase spacing between lines, letters and words.

  • Fluent Fonts

    Both Fluent Sitka Small and Fluent Calibri reduce visual crowding making reading easier for those with Dyslexia.

  • Keyboard Shortcuts

    Office 365 works seamlessly with keyboards, each app comes with documented keyboard shortcuts.

  • Colour Filter

    Boost the contrast or get rid of colour entirely, to help those with colour blindness or light sensitivity to distinguish colours more easily.

  • Magnifier

    Enlarge words and images to get a closer look, using all or part of the screen.

  • On-Screen Keyboard

    Type without a keyboard just using a mouse or other pointing device.

  • Notifications & Longer Alerts

    Choose visual cue or sounds and change notification time so it appears on the screen for up to five minutes.

Dynamics 365 Accessibility

Dynamics 365’s inclusive design and accessible content aims to enhance every user’s efficiency. The responsive layout of the platform works across many devices and screen sizes and also allows users to zoom in up to 200%.

Dynamics 365 Apps

  • Screen Readers

    Help to make model-driven apps accessible to those with low or no vision. Unified Interface apps are supported with commonly used screen readers such as Narrator, Jaws and NVDA.

  • Keyboard Shortcuts

    Available across apps in Dynamics 365 helping users seamlessly navigate the interface. Keyboard shortcuts enable an alternative way to carry out common task without using a mouse or track pad. Learn some of these shortcuts here.

  • Dynamics 365 for Marketing

    Keyboard shortcuts and other accessibility features are available in Dynamics for Marketing for users working with the designer, email marketing tools, marketing pages and marketing forms. Learn more about the shortcuts and features here.

Unified Service Desk (USD)

  • General Accessibility

    Keyboard navigation helps address issues faces by people with disabilities using the USK. High Contrast settings in Windows also enables high contrast in the USD client.

  • Configure JAWS screen reader

    All out-of-the-box USD features work with JAWS screen readers (version 18) to provide speech output.

  • Keyboard shortcuts panels

    Cycle through all active panels using a predefined keyboard shortcut or define shortcuts to directly access individual panels in the panel layout.

  • Performance data collection using keyboard shortcuts

    Collect data about operational measures in USD client application to log files, allowing you to identify and troubleshoot performance issues.

If you would like any advice or more information on embedding accessibility in your working from home set up, get in contact with us at info@pythagoras.co.uk.

Helpful resources from Microsoft