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Microsoft suggests some steps to help mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Today, Microsoft is celebrating the fifth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD was created to raise awareness about making the digital world more accessible and inclusive for everyone, including people with physical or mental disabilities.

Microsoft’s Office Team has three things that all Office 365 users can do in honor of GAAD:

  1. Before sharing any documents or making any presentations, ensure that the content can be followed by people with varying levels of vision, hearing, cognition and dexterity. One easy way to do this is to run the Accessibility Checker and fix any issues that are flagged. The Accessibility Checker offers guidance on ways to make your content accessible for everyone, including people who use assistive technologies such as screen readers to hear what is displayed on a screen. You can launch the Accessibility Checker within Office 2016 apps on PCs by entering “check accessibility” in the Tell me what you want to do… text box. Simple changes to things like your hyperlink text, font styles and document structure can enhance the experience for your colleagues with low vision, blindness or dyslexia.
  2. Add subtitles or captions to videos that you share via Office 365 Video. Remember that people who can’t hear rely on you to provide accurate text descriptions of spoken words, background noises and sounds to follow the audio portion in your videos. You might be surprised at how adding captions significantly increases that viewer base of your videos.
  3. Ensure any images and media on SharePoint sites that you own are accessible. People who can’t see need accurate descriptions of any visual content in your sites via alternative text for pictures and audio descriptions for videos.

The Office Team wanted to make accessibility a priority by offering authoring accessible content available from any device. Already available for Office on Windows PCs, Accessibility Checker will be coming soon to Office for Mac. In addition, all Office Online apps; Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Sway, as well as Office for Android and iOS, will be getting Accessibility Checker by the end of 2016.

In addition, all Office Online apps; Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Sway, as well as Office for Android and iOS, will be getting Accessibility Checker by the end of 2016. This is just the beginning in a series of updates to allow Office 365 to be used by everyone seamlessly, regardless if they have a disability or not.

For more information about GAAD, visit their website.

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What are other steps that Microsoft could take to increase accessibility in Office 365 and its other products and services?