If you use assistive technologies, you may still have a chance to upgrade your computer to free Windows 10. I am not sure how long this free Windows 10 for assistive technology users will be available, and also it will depend on the minimum system requirements for Windows 10. In addition, you want to be aware that you may require some adjustments after the upgrade. In my case, after installing Windows 10, I needed to make changes on the display driver to get the brightness control working by installing the Microsoft basic adaptor instead of the original driver installed on my laptop.
Here is the link: Windows 10 free upgrade for customers who use assistive technologies.
As far as assistive technology features on Windows 10, those who are familiar with Ease of Access Center in the previous Windows, you may immediately notice a slightly different screen (see the picture below) when you access the Ease of Access by using the shortcut keys (Windows key on your keyboard and U) or from the Windows setting link.
Ease of Access in Windows 10 when you access by shortcut keys (or from Windows settings link) – screenshot
Of course, you can still get to the Ease of Access Center screen that you are already familiar in Windows 7 or 8 through the Control panel (Right click Windows icon on the task bar/Control panel/Ease of Access/Ease of Access Center).
Ease of Access Center Windows 7, 8, and 10 – screenshot
For this blog, I only focused in the Narrator features in Windows 10. There are a few ways to open the Narrator in Windows 10. You can access Narrator from the Ease of Access center, but one of the easiest ways to start, press Windows key (on your keyboard) and Enter. To stop, press Caps key and Esc.
I think the Narrator in Windows 10 is easier to use and read texts on-screen than the previous Windows 7 or 8. Narrator in Windows 10 offers a better narrator voice and provides faster text to speech speeds. Some other features I liked are: when you start entering a search word in a search box, you may get suggestions based on what you are searching, and with Narrator you will hear a verbal hint with an audio indication when these suggestions are available. Scan feature is also nice for persons with low vision. You can access the Scan mode by pressing Caps and Space keys. For example, you can find each header in the browser with H key to find the next header and shift + H to find the previous header in the browser. Scan mode will turn off by pressing Caps and space key again.
Narrator Keyboarding Updates from MSFT Enable
To find out additional shortcut keys, press Caps + F1 (Note: A laptop user may require to use a function key (Fn) when you press F1) The partial screenshot of the shortcut keys is below. and more details about Narrator keyboard command and touch gestures can be found at this link shortcut keys info.
We certainly hope that Microsoft will provide more documentation and video based user references for caregivers and educators to assist persons with special accommodations.