Accessibility Bot for Microsoft Tools

Clipart of a person sitting at a desk using a computer and there is a large speech bubble "Hi I am your accessibility bot.  How can I help? Hearing, Vision, Mental health, Neurodiversity, Mobility".

Bots are software applications that run automated tasks over the Internet, typically performing tasks that are simple, repetitive and much faster than a person could.  The Accessibility bot was created to help computer users make the most of Microsoft’s accessibility features as not all accessibility features are immediately obvious.  Access to the accessibility bot is available through Microsoft teams.  It’s built in the cloud and is available 24/7 where you have an internet connection.  There are several ways to interact with the accessibility bot.  You can follow the pre-scripted questions or you can simply ask the bot a question to find out what Microsoft features exist to support you. The bot gives step by step instructions on how to use the accessible features or provides further reading on accessibility tools. 

The accessibility bot currently can support people with hearing, mental health, mobility, neurodiversity and vision needs.  It also covers tools such as the Edge internet browser, Microsoft 365 productivity tools and Windows 10.

For example, if you type “how do I use my keyboard as a mouse” the Accessibility bot will direct you to

[17:47] Sean

How do I use my keyboard as a mouse

[17:47] Accessibility bot

To control your mouse with your keyboard. In the Windows Start Menu click Settings. Click Ease of Access followed by __Mouse. __

[17:47] Accessibility bot

Visit the Microsoft site to learn more about making your mouse easier to use in Windows 10.

As you can see it has directed me to the setting to turn on “Control mouse with a keypad”.  It has also supplied a useful Microsoft mouse resource for further reading if required.

To add the bot to Microsoft Teams click the apps button on the bottom left of the window and type accessibility into the apps search bar and click on accessibility bot to install the app or click on the following link to DOWNLOAD the Microsoft Accessibility bot.

The good:  It’s a quick way to find help on accessible features and tools

The not so good: Often the Accessibility Bot just does not understand the question you give it.

The verdict: With the increasing complexity of accessibility features, this is a step in the right direction to help users find what they need.  However, the bots current lack of understanding of many questions may limit its use as a tool for only users who are already familiar with the accessibility features and miss the real necessity for unfamiliar users.

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