After Microsoft’s successes with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and last fall’s introduction of the Surface Adaptive Kit, and a lot of work to make computing and gaming accessible to people of all abilities, the company has taken the next step. with the introduction of adaptive accessories for Windows. The components, starting with a Microsoft Adaptive Mouse and a set of accessories that connect to a Microsoft Adaptive Hub the same way the Xbox Adaptive Controller works, except the customizable Microsoft Adaptive Button can be connected wirelessly at the hub.
Additionally, the buttons and mouse can be further customized with 3D printed components, adding the ability to customize mouse “tails” or buttons to meet an even wider variety of special needs. The mouse, hub and buttons will work with any Windows PC, according to Microsoft.
Along with the new accessories, a new, inclusive tech lab is the successor to the original lab that the Xbox team launched in 2017. The new tech lab space is designed to be “highly modular” and to be an “embassy for people with disabilities.” “, offering technologies accessible to physical and virtual visitors:
…it’s an inclusive design incubator where Microsoft and disability communities can imagine and evaluate product design and direction. It is a space where our designers can challenge assumptions while learning to recognize the exclusions and constraints faced by people with disabilities. We harness this understanding to create new ideas, designing for ‘one’ and scaling to many.
Microsoft is also highlighting the work done in Windows 11, including live captions, voice access, and natural narrator, features now available in Windows Insider builds and showcased at the recent Future of Hybrid Work event.
Alongside the work in Windows, Microsoft is also using the Ability Summit to showcase a number of accessibility-focused enhancements to Microsoft Edge. These include automatic image descriptions, auto-generated Alt tags, read-aloud and immersive reader, and editor.
Microsoft continues to be a leader in inclusive design, and it’s good to see the work done with the Xbox Adaptive Controller reaching a wider Windows audience, both with the hardware and the design lab interactions that give people disabilities have a real voice in how they interact with technology.