Making Windows 11 the most inclusively designed version of Windows yet

  • Staff
Earlier in the year my colleague Jeff Petty shared with you the accessibility improvements and features that were coming to Windows 11. Now that the day is here, I wanted to give you a peek behind the curtain at our accessibility journey and how our team made Windows 11 the most inclusively designed version of Windows yet.

Our ambition: Beyond possible, efficient, and yes, delightful

It all starts with our ambition: Here in the Windows team, we aspire to create efficient, fun and delightful experiences for people with disabilities and without. We root our ambition in the principles of inclusive design, which celebrates and draws inspiration from people with different abilities, needs and preferences. Within Windows 11, this commitment led to a host of innovations – but I’ll focus on just three here:
  • Reimagining what contrast themes could look like
  • Rethinking Windows sounds to make them calmer and more informative
  • Reframing our Ease of Access settings explicitly as Accessibility

Inclusion in both function and form

High Contrast themes in Windows 10 were designed to provide maximum differentiation between text, backgrounds and elements on the screen for people with low vision and light sensitivity. And they did that – maybe a little too well. We heard from our customers that these themes created an othering experience; that they were too blunt a tool. They needed contrast – but not that much contrast. And hey, couldn’t they be a little nicer to look at, too? It was clear that a more holistic approach was needed. So we brought together people across an array of disciplines within Microsoft to re-focus the design process not on ticking off boxes on a compliance checklist. Instead, we were committed to improving the way that people with low vision experience Windows 11 to have a smoother and more positive user experience with the new contrast themes. People with vision disabilities were included in our design process from the start, helping drive and guide the color contrast designs by providing their expert feedback and sharing their lived experience. We gathered customer feedback on multiple color combination prototypes, and in each iteration found new items to improve. And the result? Windows 11 includes four new contrast themes that not only provide a range of options for making Windows more accessible and easier to see – they make it more beautiful, too.

Windows 11 contrast themes

Nothing about us without us – from the start

One key change we made while designing Windows 11 was to shift our engagement with customer feedback to an earlier point in the design process. We have traditionally started engaging with the disability community at the point where we have a feature users can try. For Windows 11, we wanted to involve the community from day one. One of the features most influenced by this early feedback is the re-envisioned set of Windows 11 sounds. Through our customer listening systems, we heard from deaf and hard of hearing customers who found the existing sounds “aggressive,” leading them to mute their PC altogether. At the same time, we heard from people who are blind that the startup chime in particular was crucial as a way of letting them know that the computer was on, so they did not have to guess when they could start interacting with their PC. Balancing these different sets of initial feedback along with the goal of creating a calm Windows experience, the team began to explore a new set of Windows sounds. As soon as we had a set of sounds we thought had potential, we re-engaged our customers with vision and hearing impairments. Based on their feedback, we determined that the sounds needed to traverse the entire 250 – 8000 Hz range in order to be audible to people who are hard of hearing, and that the startup sound would be most helpful if it played when the lock screen was displayed so that blind users would know when to enter their login information. In the end, the team delivered not only a new Windows startup sound that lets everyone know their PC is ready at just the right time, but a set of calm, informative sounds that can be heard by a broader set of our users.

Making Accessibility easier to find for everyone

Great accessibility features can only take you so far if people can’t find them. The continual feedback cycle of inclusive design influenced this aspect of Windows 11 as well, in the reframing of “Ease of Access” as “Accessibility” within the Settings pane. In prior versions of Windows, the team had chosen the phrase “Ease of Access” to try to represent the fullness of the accessibility space – not only permanent disabilities, but temporary and situational ones as well. However, when we engaged with our users, we learned that no one really knew what it meant! Some people even told us that they thought that “Ease of Access” sounded more like where they would find options to connect to the internet. Hearing this feedback, the team knew that it was time for a change. We didn’t want to lose sight of the original goal of honoring and embracing the fullness of the disability spectrum with the new design – and at the same time we wanted to make certain that individuals looking for assistive features built into Windows would know where to look. The team got to work, engaged our writing and icon design team, and tested close to a dozen different icon and name combinations with the goal of finding that inclusive and clear set. In the end, “Accessibility” was what customers expected to find, and the human figure icon stood out as a great way to celebrate the fullness of human abilities.

Accessibility Settings in Windows 11

Join us on the journey

Windows 11 marks a significant milestone in our efforts to integrate accessibility and inclusive design throughout both our products and our culture – and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us on our way by giving us the gift of feedback. We know there are more milestones yet to come, and we still need your help. So join us by trying Windows 11 and giving us your feedback to help create better experiences for each of us. Just press the Windows logo key + F to launch the Feedback hub and share what’s on your mind.

Finally, if you are a customer with a disability and need technical assistance with Windows or any other Microsoft product, please reach out to the Disability Answer Desk via phone, chat or ASL (via videophone). Please contact us, we are always happy to help.


Source: Making Windows 11 the most inclusively designed version of Windows yet
 

Attachments

  • Windows_11_flag.png
    Windows_11_flag.png
    2.6 KB · Views: 0

imanlien2020

Member
Local time
3:24 PM
Posts
25
Reading tons of posts on multiple forums Im seeing more like 70% dont like 11's design and 30 do. I love it Best version yet, long way togo yet of course.. You can tweak just enough right now to make it perfect to an individuals taste.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 current
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    AMD
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8 Core
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte X570 Aorus Pro WiFi
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    PCI Express 3.0 x16: PowerColor RX Vega 56 Red Dragon
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC1220 and AMD Greenland - High Definition Audio Controller
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 - 27 inch Westinghouse
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    2 SSD - 2 TB each
    1 HDD - 2 TB
    Keyboard
    logitech
    Mouse
    logitech
    Internet Speed
    200 MB
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge
    Antivirus
    Avast Premium

ThrashZone

Active member
Member
VIP
Local time
3:24 PM
Posts
290
Hi,
Fix the silly start button to at the least same as win-10's and it's all about how many reg preferences someone wants to use.
Security wise face it it's all overkill.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Win-7-10-11 Linux-Mint Cinnamon 20.2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    asus/ one old acer
    CPU
    10900k & 9940x & 5930k & q9550
    Motherboard
    z490-Apex & x299-Apex & x99-Sabertooth & Acer WG43M
    Memory
    2x8gb & 4x8gb 3600c16 & 4x8gb 3200c14 & 4x2gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Titan Xp & 1080ti FTW3 & evga 980ti
    Sound Card
    Onboard Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    1-AOC G2460PG 24"G-Sync 144Hz/ 2nd 1-ASUS VG248QE 24"/ 3rd LG 43" series
    Screen Resolution
    1080-1920 not sure what the t.v is besides 43" class
    Hard Drives
    To many to list
    PSU
    1000p2 & 1200p2 & 850p2 & 750p2
    Case
    D450x2 & Test benchx2
    Cooling
    Custom water loops x3
    Keyboard
    G710+x3
    Mouse
    Redragon x3
    Internet Speed
    giga xfinity
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    mbam pro

BunnyJ

Python Programmer
Power User
VIP
Local time
4:24 PM
Posts
2,767
Location
Oak Ridge, TN(The Secret City)
Reading tons of posts on multiple forums Im seeing more like 70% dont like 11's design and 30 do. I love it Best version yet, long way togo yet of course.. You can tweak just enough right now to make it perfect to an individuals taste.
Generally speaking more people reply have a negative comment rather than a positive one. It's unusual for someone to just post it work. People will complain faster than compliment something if it just works
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Banna Junior 7K - X Series
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 2700X
    Motherboard
    Asus Crosshair VII Hero, X470
    Memory
    Gskill 32GB, 16GBX2 PC3000
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB
    Sound Card
    Realtek (R) Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Viotek 32" Curved, ViewSonic 27"
    Screen Resolution
    1080P
    Hard Drives
    Primary Samsung 256 SSD
    PSU
    EVGA BQ 700w 80+ Bronze
    Case
    NZXT 510
    Cooling
    Stock AMD cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair
    Mouse
    Amazon Generic with Cord
    Internet Speed
    Download: 240.78 mbps Upload: 12.02 mbps Ping: 15ms
    Browser
    Firefox and Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender

jimbo45

Well-known member
Member
VIP
Local time
8:24 PM
Posts
646
Location
Hafnarfjörður IS
1) Bovine nonsense of Windows settings / vs Control panel --- have all settings in one place or the other. I don't care which !!
2) Improve GUI of File explorer -- looks really dated now
3) Use the new proper API for File explorer so 3rd party file browsers and File explorer itself can display long path/folder/file names > 266 chars. If you have a NAS server with 20TB of storage then this isn't such a rediculous request. Browsing via apps that use the new API rather than the old standard file explorer API search / browse panel can display long names without issue (e.g filezilla)/

Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7
Top Bottom