Microsoft Teams gets feature to view sign language in meetings

Microsoft Teams gets feature to view sign language in meetings

Microsoft has announced a new feature for Teams in order to increase the accessibility of its meeting tool. As expected since the end of October this year, the company introduced a sign language visualization feature for meetings.

The intention is that the new functionality can update users’ experience with sign language, in addition to generating efficiency and a sense of community. This way, people who are deaf or hard of hearing, interpreters, and other individuals who use this language will be able to maintain a centralized angle during meetings.

Image: Disclosure / Microsoft

The development of this feature came from Microsoft conversations with a number of deaf and hard of hearing users. The Redmond giant listened to the comments and generated a roadmap for creators and customers.

Sign Language Visualization fulfills a number of requests, which include keeping video streams of sign language interpreters and users in a consistent location; ensure these streams are the appropriate shape and size to be visible; enable participants to have up to two other sign language users in view during each meeting; and reduce repetitive meeting setup tasks.

“As a deaf person who uses Teams for many meetings on a daily basis, I am very familiar with the challenges that virtual meetings pose for deaf and hard of hearing users. I go through them too. I am an Accessibility Architect for Microsoft Teams Calling, Meetings, and Devices, and one of my key responsibilities was developing the vision to create a better experience for the deaf community in Teams.”

Chris Sano

Microsoft Teams Accessibility Architect

Image: Disclosure / Microsoft

As long as sign language display is enabled, prioritized streams will automatically occur in the correct proportion and with the highest possible quality. You can pin or highlight other participants without affecting what others see in the meeting.

Sign language and accessibility settings panel are available in public preview template. They gradually rolled out over the next few weeks to the general public, commercial and government customers, in desktop or web versions.

Image: Disclosure / Microsoft

Microsoft’s intent is to create a Teams meeting experience that is not only accessible, but also enjoyable for deaf and hard of hearing participants.

What do you think of the new Microsoft Teams accessibility tool? Join us!

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