What's new in accessibility for SharePoint Online

Our top priority is to make SharePoint Online easy to use, responsive, and accessible for people of all abilities. We’ve listened to you, the people who use SharePoint Online, and made improvements based on your feedback.

In August 2016, we provided an update on the improvements we delivered in the first half of the year. These included SharePoint home, document libraries, site contents page and the SharePoint Online mobile app for iOS.

In January 2017, we want to give you an update on our progress since then and announce new page authoring and publishing, better navigation and authoring for team sites, a new creation wizard for site creation, and redesigned lists. We also expanded our mobile offering to include SharePoint mobile apps for Android devices and Windows Phone devices.

Lists

Re-designed SharePoint Online lists make it easy for people to collaborate on structured data directly from your team site to help your team organize content. We applied the improvements from document libraries to the new lists experience. We also replaced the ribbon with a command bar that offers only commands that are relevant to the current task. The command bar lets you add or edit list items, and create Microsoft Flows or Power Apps.

Updated lists give you two options for editing: edit the full-page, or edit just item details without leaving the list.

Accessibility improvements include:

  • Keyboard shortcuts for all major list functions, including a shortcut (SHIFT+F10) for the details menu. Press the question mark “?” to browse the full list of shortcuts.

  • Up and Down Arrow keys navigate between list items. Left and Right Arrow keys navigate between columns.

  • Action confirmations when you updated list item fields.

  • Focus returns to where you were when you finish working in the list and exit, so you never have to start from the top of the page.

Learn more about Lists in SharePoint Online, including integration with Flow and Power Apps.

Site creation

When it comes to managing information and building business apps, people turn to SharePoint Online team sites—to create multimedia news articles, manage documents, track data in lists and more. Users can create SharePoint Online team sites connected to Office 365 Groups by clicking the Create site button on the SharePoint home page in Office 365. A two-step creation wizard will fly out from the right to enable users to create sites that are either public or private and to enter owners and members to the site. A SharePoint Online team site is provisioned and ready for use in seconds.

Accessibility improvements include:

  • A single destination for creating sites, where you can set their privacy level, set their classification, and add owners and members.

  • Proper field types and labels that provide details to screen reader users on what each field is and how to use it.

Learn more about new site creation in SharePoint Online.

Team sites

Team sites enable sharing and communication within teams and across organizations. They provide the content, information, and apps that you rely on. The team sites update starts with the home page, now focused on the team’s most relevant content. The new experience maintains easy navigation to the team’s lists, libraries, pages, subsites, and apps. The home page also provides quick access to the group’s Outlook conversations.

Accessibility improvements include:

  • Navigate navigating through the major portions of the page using reserved tab stops.

  • Create libraries and lists easily and in-place. You can also edit left navigation elements, site information and site permissions.

    The new Team Site is a one-stop shop: you don't have to go to a separate page to take care of important tasks.

  • Take advantage of the new accessible SharePoint Online page authoring experience for edit and view your home page.

Learn more about new team sites experience in SharePoint Online.

SharePoint Online page authoring

We’ve introduced a new page authoring and publishing experience to help you create attractive pages that are responsive, mobile and easy to share with your team and the organization. SharePoint site pages are easy to author quickly, and they support rich multimedia content. Most importantly, we’ve made sure sites pages are accessible to read and create.

SharePoint site pages are built with web parts, which you can customize according to your needs. You can add documents, videos, images, site activities, Yammer feeds, and more. In addition, by using the SharePoint Framework, developers can build custom web parts that will show up right in the toolbox.

Pages are a great way to communicate and share your ideas—such as status and trip reports, how-to write-ups, know-before-you-go guides, and frequently asked questions.

Accessibility improvements include:

  • Landmarks and headings for easy navigation across major areas of the page.

  • Web part focus zones to make it easy to setup and edit a web part. In edit mode, just press Enter to navigate into the web part, then use the Tab and Arrow keys to navigate within the web part.

  • Keyboard shortcuts in the rich text editor allow you to jump to the command bar and execute common text commands such as bold, italics, underline, and so on.

  • Focus automatically goes to the caption field when you add images or video web parts, to encourage you to add alternative text descriptions of the images.

  • Page authoring automatically confirms actions that you take when you update web part properties, use the rich text editor commands, and so on. You never have to question an action again.

Learn more about the page authoring experience in SharePoint Online.

SharePoint mobile apps for Android and Windows Phone

With this release, we delivered the first ever SharePoint mobile apps for Android devices and Windows Phone. We’ve tested both to ensure its native experiences are accessible and usable. The app provides quick access to SharePoint team sites, organization portals and resources, SharePoint search, and a view into what the people you work with are working on.

Learn more about the SharePoint mobile app for Android and Windows Phone..

SharePoint home

The SharePoint home is your portal to navigate your intranet, finding the sites you use quickly and easily. Home helps you catch up with activity across your sites. Improved accessibility features include:

  • Landmarks and headings for easy navigation across the major areas of the page.

  • “Search as you type” experience that alerts screen readers when it finds matching content.

  • Improved navigation that lets you use JAWS table commands or arrow keys.

Learn more about the new SharePoint Online home at The Future of SharePoint.

Document libraries

People use document libraries more than any other feature in SharePoint. It is easier to create a new folder and upload files in the browser. The ribbon has been replaced by a trim command bar that contains intelligent commands that are relevant to the tasks at hand. The command bar lets you to pin important documents to the top, copy and move files, and import files from other libraries by adding links.

Other accessibility improvements include:

  • Landmarks and headings for easy navigation.

  • Keyboard shortcuts for all major document functions, including a shortcut (SHIFT+F10) for the details menu. Pressing the question mark “?” lets you browse the full list of shortcuts.

  • File and folder navigation that’s just like File Explorer. Use Up and Down Arrow keys to navigate between files, have the screen reader read out the file name and file type, and use the Left and Right Arrow keys to navigate between columns.

  • Upload progress announcements and other action confirmations.

  • Focus returns to where you were, so you never have to start from the top of the page.

Learn more about Document libraries in SharePoint Online.

Site Contents page

The SharePoint Online Site Contents page – which helps site owners, members and visitors better understand the activities occurring within each site – has been updated. The refreshed page offers better visibility into site activity and content that’s viewed most often.

Accessibility improvements include:

  • A site map that’s easy to navigate.

  • Tips for easier and more effective use.

  • Access for adding lists, document libraries, subsites and apps.

  • Navigation commands that are the same as those for the new document libraries. You can use the Up and Down Arrow keys to navigate between items, and the Left and Right Arrow keys to navigate between columns.

SharePoint Online mobile app for iOS

We shipped the first ever SharePoint Online mobile app for iOS. Tested to ensure its native experiences are accessible and usable prior to its full release, the app provides quick access to SharePoint Online team sites, organization portals and resources, and even a view into what the people you work with are working on.

Learn more about the SharePoint Online mobile app for iOS at Your intranet in your pocket - the SharePoint mobile app for iOS is now available.

Help and how-to support for accessibility

All our new features are accompanied by accessibility support articles that help people navigate and use screen readers with SharePoint Online.

Go to the Office Accessibility Center, and click the SharePoint icon link. It takes you right to help links.

Help and how-to support for accessibility

All our new features are accompanied by accessibility support articles that help people navigate and use screen readers with SharePoint Online.

Go to the Office Accessibility Center, and click the SharePoint icon. It takes you right to help links.

Technical support for people with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

Talk to us

At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. We are committed to delivering great experiences to people with disabilities.

If you have feedback to offer, or requests to make of us, we encourage you to let us know via Microsoft Accessibility Forum.

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