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New Microsoft Accessibility Features

2017 February 28
by Amaya Webster

Contributed by Elise Livingston

Editor’s note: Elise Livingston works for Microsoft as Program Manager on their Office Graphics team in Redmond, Washington. DIAGRAM staff members Amaya Webster and Sue-Ann Ma, had the pleasure of working with Elise last year, doing user testing on the upcoming Poet Training Module, with members of her team as well as product managers from Microsoft’s Mountain View, California location.We’re excited to have her contribute a post to the blog!

This year, Microsoft is making improvements to alt text in Microsoft Office. With guidance from the DIAGRAM center, Microsoft Office aims to make alt text more usable and discoverable for everyone. Early in the year, machine learning and computer vision will be used to help generate descriptions for photographs inserted into Office. This feature aims to bring alt text into the document writing process for all Office users and make more documents more accessible. Look out for this and other improvements made for alt text in Office365 coming this year. Microsoft is always looking for feedback on our work. If you would like to provide feedback or allow Microsoft to contact you for usability studies and interviews, please reach out to Elise Livingston (

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