We’ve all seen yellow text on a white PowerPoint slide, purple headers in a dark Word file, or other examples of documents that are just too hard to read. A new wizard feature coming to Microsoft Office apps is meant to keep people from going too crazy with the color picker.
Microsoft announced a new feature in a blog post, called the Accessibility Assistant in Microsoft 365, that aims to fix accessibility issues in your documents. The company said: “Accessibility Assistant features three key innovations: better defaults to prevent problems before they occur, real-time and in-context remediation to fix problems as they arise, and clear, simple guidance that appears in the workflow. job”.
The main role of the Accessibility Assistant right now is to help people choose better colors for their documents. For example, almost everyone has difficulty reading yellow text on a white background, and people with low vision or other problems may not be able to see it at all. There’s a new toggle for “High Contrast Only” in the color picker, which will help you select colors that are easy to read, including colors based on the current theme.
The Accessibility Assistant can also recognize problems in existing documents, like a spell checker. If a problem is detected in your document, you’ll see a small icon of a person that looks a bit like the old AIM logo, and clicking it will display recommendations for changes to the document. Later in 2023, a dedicated Accessibility Assistant panel with a layout similar to Microsoft Editor will be rolled out, with “plain language explanations to help you address entire categories of accessibility issues more easily.”
The Accessibility Assistant will begin rolling out to core Microsoft 365 apps “in the coming weeks,” though it may be limited to Word on Windows at first. Microsoft hopes that the feature will eventually replace the more basic Accessibility Checker that was introduced in Office 2016.