Download Accessibility Insights for Windows

Accessibility is somewhat of a vague term that can pretty much entail a lot of things. In short, accessibility means the ability of everyone regardless of their (permanent, temporary, or situational) condition to have equal access to something.

While 20 years ago accessibility was practically a non-factor in the design of apps or websites (or even day-to-day products), nowadays things are a lot different, and that’s only for the better.

The Web might have taken the center stage when it comes to getting work done, but good old plain Windows apps are still a very important resource in many sections of our life such as education, employment, commerce, health, recreation, and so forth.

That’s why Microsoft deserves a bit of praise since they’ve decided to build an app called Accessibility Insights for Windows.

In short, Accessibility Insights for Windows is a development-related tool (even though it is extremely user-friendly) that helps developers find and fix accessibility issues before rolling out the products to their customers.

The main philosophy behind this app is high-impact inspection. To understand this, let’s go through the app’s three modes (or prime scenarios as Microsoft calls them): Live Inspect, FastPass, and Troubleshooting.

Live Inspect provides developers with a hands-on approach to finding accessibility issues. They can verify each and every GUI element and its properties simply by hovering over it (or by setting keyboard focus on it).

The elements are displayed in a UIA tree, and developers can choose how they view the properties.

The second scenario is FastPass, a lightweight, two-step, fully automated process that provides developers with a broader idea of potential accessibility issues within an app. FastPass has two sub-scenarios: an automated check-up, and the tab stop test.

The first means that the app automatically checks for compliance using more than 60 accessibility requirements. The Tab stops test provides clear instructions, alongside a nifty visual helper that aids developers identify critical issues (related to missing tab stops, potential keyboard traps, incorrect tab order, and so forth).

Last but not least, the final scenario allows developers to diagnose and fix specific accessibility issues. The app provides a clear pattern of whether the elements respond correctly to user input or not. Developers can also record app events to see if the expected results are generated. There’s also a built-in contrast checker that, as its name states, identifies pressing contrast issues and suggests various fixes.

Accessibility is definitely something that can no longer be overlooked by anyone or any company who’s seriously looking to deliver a quality product.

Microsoft takes things forward with Accessibility Insights for Windows, a free and open-source app that anyone can use to improve their product and ensure that it is perfectly suitable for as many people as possible in an equal manner.

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