On November 17th, Microsoft announced a new feature for Microsoft Teams – sign language view. This accessibility update improves the Teams meeting experience for signers by allowing users to keep selected users in centre stage, ensuring interpreters remain in a consistent location throughout every meeting.
Sign Language view makes several changes to improve accessibility for the Deaf and/or hard of hearing, including:
- Keeping interpreters and other signers ‘video feeds in a consistent location
- Ensuring that video feeds are an appropriate shape and size for sign language to be visible
- Allowing participants to have up to two other signers in view throughout each meeting
- Reducing repetitive meeting setup tasks like pinning interpreters and turning on captions at the start of each meeting.
With sign language view enabled, video streams are automatically prioritised at the highest available image quality and the correct aspect ratio. Like pinning and captioning, the sign language view does not affect other members in the meeting and can adapt to your needs.
The sign language view allows video feeds of the individuals you have assigned to stay visible on centre stage if their video is turned on. Other meeting members can also be pinned or spotlighted without blocking the view of the sign language interpreter.
When a member of a meeting shares content such as a presentation, the prioritised sign language interpreter’s video changes position, however, it remains more prominent than other video feeds and remains at high quality.
Microsoft has also allowed users to:
- Set sign language view as a default across all their meetings
- Pre-identify preferred signers that work within an organisation
- Toggle captions on and off across all their meetings.
Users can find these options in the new Accessibility panel in the setting menu.
The sign language view accessibility feature was initially released in Public Preview and is currently being rolled out for the Teams desktop application and web clients for commercial and GCC customers. You can enable public preview on a per-user basis. To find out how to enable the feature check out Microsoft Teams Public Preview in Microsoft Learn.
For advice on making Microsoft Teams work for your organisation, contact GCIT today