Welcome to the Aidis Trust blog. Here you’ll find our posts on assistive technology that are meant to inform and encourage discussion. Feel free to join in!

Screen reading support on Windows phones

wphone

One of the advantages of working for a charity specialising in technology and being a ‘slight’ nerd, is the availability of technology. We have to lay our hands on the latest stuff so we can inform people on what technology is currently available that can help overcome issues that derive from a disability. It’s taken us some time before we got our hands on Windows phones, though now we have, we can critique its suitability for accessibility.

Ease of AccessPicture of Ease of Access settings

It’s so easy to associate Windows on a PC to that of Windows on a phone. You’d think it was pretty much the same, right? Not only does the start screen (the Metro interface) look the same, but they call the accessibility options the same as well – ‘Ease of Access’. But no, you couldn’t be further than the truth!

Ease of Access on the Windows PC version (RT or Pro) has gone through many years of updates and additions to end up with where we are today. In my view, the best platform for the range of free, built-in accessibility solutions. It would be natural to think that these solutions would be ported over (where applicable) to the Windows phone, but no, it’s as though Windows had never existed. They don’t even seem to be trying to keep up with the other phone/tablet operating systems, such as iOS on the Apple iPhones, iPads etc and Android, found on devices such as the Nexus and the Samsung Galaxy Note.

Why not us, but US?

The news broke that the Windows version, GDR3 that was set for release in October 2013 would see, among others, a screen reader for the Windows phone. One that works in a similar way to that of the iPhone and Android versions. It seems that this was indeed the case in the United States release, however, not over in old Blighty. Yes, for some reason, the blind in the UK don’t wish to be supported. 

Word on the street (sorry, I’m about as ‘street’ as Sesame), anyway, word is that we in the UK may get this addition early this year, or is it spring? Maybe people in the US are testing it for us?

Further reading

Here’s some supporting reading from Microsoft on their release of GDR3 and the Microsoft’s developer blog.

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Comments (1)

  • Julian

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    I have asked Microsoft about their intentions on releasing the update with the screen reader incorporated and as of yet – nothing. This morning a Windows phone was also released, though my initial excitement was extinguished when I found it to be a very minor update (not exactly sure what it has included) but it definitely doesn’t include support for screen reading.

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