According to ADHD aware, people with cognitive differences like ADHD, dyslexia, and autism make up as much as 40% of the entire population. Meaning almost half of the world struggles with daily tasks like reading and writing. Neurodiverse people have to develop tools and techniques to navigate life.
In the past few years, Microsoft 365 has worked on improving to help users focus on their work and support effective reading and writing.
Features like Immersive Reader, Editor, and Thesaurus, allow people to stop relying on their own internal hacks and leverage technology to overcome these challenges. Accessibility in Office apps has completely transformed how neurodiverse people get things done and provided for them a new form of confidence.
These tools are continuing to grow and improve. Here are some of the latest accessibility features in Microsoft 365 that support focus and productivity for neurodiverse and neurotypical workers, alike.
In the second quarter of 2022, Microsoft listened to the need of their neurodiverse customers, by adding more ways to customize and reduce notifications in Microsoft Teams.
Furthermore, you can configure your activity feed in notifications by right-clicking on an individual item in the feed. Also, now you can mute notifications during meetings (either for all meetings or just one).
You can read more about all the available options for customizing your Teams alerts in managing notifications in Teams.
However, if these options are not enough, you can use Viva Insights to enroll a focus plan, auto-book your focus time, customize what you see and hear while focusing, and get insights about progress towards your focus goals.
Support and improve reading and writing
Text predictions and suggested responses can help avoid errors and simplify the writing process. Microsoft has been integrating these features in more places every time. Most recently, they enrolled text predictions to Outlook for iOS and Android devices and have expanded suggested replies and vocabulary in more languages.
On the other hand, voice and audio tools can help neurodiverse people work more effectively. For example, for those with dyslexia, speaking rather than typing can help avoid errors; for those with ADHD, voice inputs can help capture thoughts in the moment and stay in the flow. Those with vision and motor disabilities, or temporary limitations like holding a child while working can also benefit from this.
It is crucial for neurotypical people to think about accessibility while working on documents and during meetings; as well as for neurodiverse people to be aware of the options they have, to make their work easier.
To learn more about accessibility features in Microsoft 365 or to evaluate the best option for your organization, please contact us today.