Microsoft Teams is getting a major upgrade to its accessibility tools that should make the video conferencing platform better for more users.
In a Microsoft blog post (opens in a 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" at teams.
Sano, who is deaf, has been tasked with making the platform more accessible, and the first version, Sign Language View, is ready and hopes to transform for the better the way D/HH users engage in Microsoft Teams.
Team sign language view
If necessary, up to two sign language interpreter video feeds are maintained in a cohesive location so that D/HH meeting participants can be immersed directly into the call. Video tiles are also designed to be the optimal size and shape, and will automatically play in the best possible quality.
In its promise to listen to customer feedback, Microsoft has made sign language display preferences "sticky" so you don't need to reapply settings for every call.
According to Sano, you can also "pre-identify a set of preferred signers that you regularly work with within your organization, for example, your regular interpreters (or, for interpreters, your regular clients)." There is also an option to enable closed captioning by default for all your meetings.
Sano asks D/HH customers to continue to provide feedback through the "Help" menu in Teams, or to call the US Helpline for direct communication in ASL.
It is expected to roll out "in the coming weeks," coinciding with an entry in the company's roadmap (opens in a new tab) indicating general availability in December 2022. Currently, a view of Launch sign language in the public preview program. (opens in a new tab) per user, so you can get it that way too.