Accessibility in Skype for Business

Office Accessibility Center

Skype for Business

The Skype for Business app in Office 365 includes accessibility features that make it easier for people with disabilities to use the meeting and messaging app.

Many accessibility tools, such as screen readers, magnifiers, color contrast controls, and dictation tools, are unique to the device platform (Windows, Mac, iOS, Androids, and so on.) To learn how to choose accessibility features in your computer or device, see Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business layout

Using Skype for Business, you can schedule and conduct online meetings that include as many as 250 attendees. Plus, you can call colleagues and send messages to them. The elements included in the Skype for Business UI change based on the communication element you select: contacts, conversations, phone calls, or meetings.

If you’re a person who is blind or has low vision, or if you have limited mobility, it helps to know the landmarks in the Skype for Business UI so you can more easily build a mental model of it to more quickly move around the UI.

You can use the main areas of the Skype for Business UI (described in the following table), along with the specific elements in the UI, as landmarks in your mental model.

Landmarks to use in your mental model of the Skype for Business UI

Area

Elements you'll find in this area

First row: Menu bar or your personalized post

  • If you use the default view for the app, the What’s happening today text box is in the first row. It shows your personalized post.

  • If you change the default view to show the menu bar for the app, the menu bar is in the first row, followed by the What’s happening today text box.

Second row: Information about you

  • User name

  • Status menu. Shows your status, such as Available, Busy, or Do Not Disturb, among other options.

  • Set Your Location text box. Shows your location.

Third row: Communication elements that change the information shown in the main area of the UI

  • Contacts button. Shows information about your contacts.

  • Conversations button. Shows information about your conversations.

  • Phone button. Shows information about your voice mail.

  • Meetings button. Shows information about your upcoming meetings.

  • Show Menu button. Enables you to access the following buttons and menus:

    • File menu

    • Meet Now button

    • Tools menu

    • Help menu

    • Show Menu Bar toggle. Shows or hides the menu bar for the app in the first row of the UI.

Variable number of rows: Information that corresponds to the communication element you selected

If you select the Contacts button, the following information is shown:

  • Find someone search box. Searches for people in your organization.

  • Contact view buttons:

    • Groups button. Groups and shows your contacts by your favorites and other contacts.

    • Status button. Groups and shows your contacts by their status, such as Online or Away, and so forth.

    • Relationships button. Groups and shows your contacts by their privacy relationship with you, such as Colleagues, Friends and Family, or Workgroups, among others.

    • New button. Shows the people who have added you to their contact lists.

    • Add a contact, create a group, and customize the Contacts list button. Adds contacts, creates groups, and sets display options.

  • The contact details for each person include name, status, and device capabilities (such as Video Capable).

If you select the Conversations button, the following information is shown:

  • All conversations button. Shows all your conversations.

  • Missed conversations button. Shows your missed conversations.

  • Calls button. Shows your call history.

  • Each of your conversations or each call in your call history.

If you select the Phone button, the following information is shown:

  • Find someone search box. Searches for people in your organization.

  • See Voice Mail Options menu. Shows a menu that includes the following commands: Call Voice Mail, Change Greetings, and Set Up Voice Mail.

  • Each of your voice mails.

If you select the Meetings button, the following information is shown:

  • Meet Now button. Starts a meeting now.

  • Each of your meetings grouped by the scheduled date.

Last row: Information about your primary device

Select Primary Device menu. Shows audio and video information about your primary device.

Use special accessibility features in Skype for Business

Change IM text size

If you want to change the size of text displayed in conversations, perform the following steps:

  • In a conversation window, select the More Options button.

  • Select the IM Text Display Size menu item.

  • Select the text display size you want.

    Note: This changes the text size on your screen but not the size of the text in the message that you send.

Adjust screen reader volume when you initiate or receive a call

If you have Dolby audio controls on your computer, you may notice that the volume of the audible feedback from your screen reader decreases when you initiate or receive a call with Skype for Business. This is a known issue and is being addressed in Windows 10 for all audio-device manufacturers. However, until the fix is implemented for all devices, you can eliminate this volume decrease by using either of the following two methods:

  • Attach external USB speakers.Non-USB speakers use your device’s built-in audio with the Dolby driver. Attach external USB speakers to your device, instead of using your device’s built-in speakers or speakers plugged into the headphone jack.

  • Disable the Dolby feature of the audio driver. To disable the Dolby feature, perform the following steps:

    1. In Windows 10, go to the Control Panel and open the Sound settings.

    2. In the Sound settings dialog box, select the Playback tab and then select your audio device.

    3. Select the Properties button, and then, in the Properties dialog box, select the Dolby tab and turn off the Dolby feature. Select the OK button.

    4. In the Sound settings dialog box, select the OK button.

Turn on teletypewriter (TTY) mode in Skype for Business

If you use a teletypewriter (TTY) device, to turn on TTY mode in Skype for Business, take these steps:

  1. From the menu bar, select Tools > Options or press the Options button.

  2. Select the Phones tab, and then, in the Phone accessibility area, select the Turn on TTY mode check box.

  3. Select the OK button.

Operate Skype for Business with speech recognition

Speech recognition tools are helpful for people who have limited mobility and who need to use voice commands (rather than the keyboard or mouse) to operate Microsoft products, including Skype for Business.

You can use third-party speech recognition tools or the functionality called Speech Recognition, which is included with the Windows operating system. To enable Speech Recognition on your computer, refer to Use Speech Recognition.

Navigate by using the keyboard

The following are some frequently used keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business:

  • To show or hide the menu bar in the top row of the Skype for Business UI, press Alt. With the menu bar shown and immediately after pressing Alt, to open any menu, press the letter that’s underlined in the name of the menu (often the first letter). Then, to open one of the items on the menu, press the letter that’s underlined in the name of the menu item (often the first letter). For example, to open the Options menu item on the Tools menu, press Alt+T+O.

  • To move forward through the elements of the Skype for Business UI, press the Tab key, or to move back, press Shift+Tab. To move between some elements, you may need to use the arrow keys.

  • To initiate any type of communication with a contact, select the contact and then press Enter to open a separate communication window.

For more information on the keyboard shortcuts specifically for Skype for Business, go to Keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business.

Technical support for customers 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.

See also

Get started using a screen reader with Skype for Business

Make or receive a call using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Share your screen using Skype for Business with a screen reader

Skype for Business on Mac

Use the Skype for Business on Mac accessibility features to easily join online meetings, share your screen, and chat to your contacts. You can use Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business, the VoiceOver screen reader, Siri, and the Speak dictation tool to work with Skype for Business on Mac.

Many accessibility features like these are unique to the device platform, such as Windows or Mac. To learn how to use these features on Mac, go to Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business on Mac layout

Area of the UI

First column: Main navigation group

Second column: a pane that lists the items related to each main item on the navigation group

Third column: a pane showing the details of the item selected in the second column.

Elements of the Skype for Business on Mac UI

  • My profile popup button:

    • Modify your availability info

    • Write a personalized status message

  • Chats button

  • Meetings button

  • Calls button

  • Contacts button

  • Chats:

    • Search for chats

    • A list of IMs

  • Meetings:

    • Upcoming meetings

  • Calls

    • All calls option

    • Missed calls option

    • Saved calls (if you have any

    • Voicemails option (depending on your settings)

  • Contacts

    • Search for Contacts

    • Favorite Contacts group

    • New Group (if you don’t have custom groups set up)

    • Other Contacts group

  • See the details of instant messages, calls, contacts, and meetings.

  • Join meetings when you have selected a meeting.

By default, Skype for Business on Mac starts on Contacts tab selected, and the focus is on Search for Contacts.

Display conversations in separate windows

By default, Skype for Business on Mac shows all instant message (IM) conversations of a contact in the same window pane as the main app. However, you may prefer to manage conversations when they are in a separate window.

  1. In the Skype for Business preferences, the General tab is selected by default. You hear: “General, selected, button.” Then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  2. Press Tab until you hear “Show Conversations in Separate Windows, unchecked check box.” To select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Turn on sounds for incoming messages and calls

Sound effects for incoming messages notify you of a new instant message or an incoming call.

  1. In the Skype for Business preferences, press the Left or Right arrow key, or Tab until you hear: “Notifications, selected, button.” Then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  2. Press the Left or Right arrow key, or Tab until you hear: “Play Sound related to Calls, unchecked check box.” To select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press the Left or Right arrow key, or Tab until you hear: “Play Sounds related to Messages, unchecked check box.” To select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    Tip: If you don’t want to display notifications when you’re sharing your screen, Press the Left or Right arrow key, or Tab until you hear: “Stop Notifications while Sharing Screen, unchecked check box.” To select the option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Navigate by using keyboard shortcuts

With VoiceOver turned on, make sure Quick Nav is on, too. The Control and Option keys are called the “VoiceOver keys,” or “Control+Option keys”. To enter VoiceOver commands, press and hold the Control+Option keys, along with one or more other keys. In this topic, the actual key names are used instead of Control+Option.

  • To navigate around the main window, press the Control+Option+arrow keys.

  • To interact with items, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow.

  • To select and deselect an item, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  • To exit items, press Control+Option+Shift+Up arrow.

  • To browse within menus or lists, press the Up Arrow key or the Down Arrow key, and then, to make a selection, press Enter.

  • To exit a menu or a list, press Esc.

  • To access the menu bar, press Control+Option+M. You hear: “Menu bar, Apple”.

For more details, see Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business.

Use the Voice Over Item Chooser

To easily navigate around Skype for Business, you can also use VoiceOver Item Chooser. To activate Item Chooser, press Control+Option+I. You hear: “Item Chooser-menu.” Then use the arrow keys to move in the menu and listen to the content.

Go to Skype for Business preferences

Press Command+, (Comma). You hear: “Preferences, General.” Then navigate around the window to listen to the options.

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.

See also

Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business

FAQ - Skype for Business on Mac

Skype for Business help

Use the Skype for Business app for iPhone and iPad accessibility features to easily join online meetings, share your screen, and chat to your contacts. You can use Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business, the VoiceOver screen reader, Siri, and the Speak dictation tool to work with Skype for Business on iOS devices.

Many accessibility features like these are unique to the device platform, such as Windows or Mac. To learn how to use these features on your device, go to Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business layout in iPhone and iPad

After you start the Skype for Business app on iPhone and iPad, you'll find the following elements in the layout:

Note: Skype chooses what to show based on recent activity. What appears on your device might vary.

  • Your profile, Meetings button, Keypad button for calls, and Contacts button.

  • Search for contacts box.

  • Upcoming heading (if you have any upcoming meetings).

  • Recent heading, which lists any recent communications, including meetings.

  • List of contacts you’ve recently communicated with—in addition to meetings you’ve attended—through Skype for Business.

Navigate with VoiceOver by using gestures

  • To scroll up, down, left, or right, swipe three fingers in that direction.

  • To select a command or other UI element, tap once

  • To activate the selected command or other UI element, double-tap.

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.

Use the accessibility features inSkype for Business app for Android features to easily join online meetings, share your screen, and chat to your contacts. You can use Keyboard shortcuts in Skype for Business for Android. the TalkBack screen reader, and other built-in Android tools to work with .

Many accessibility features like these are unique to the device platform, such as Windows or Mac. To learn how to use these features on your device, go to Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365.

In this topic

Get to know the Skype for Business for Android layout

The Skype for Business for Android screen has four sections.

  • The first section is a heading at the top of the screen. At the left edge of that heading is your profile. When you move the focus to your profile, you hear “View profile settings menu, Button.” To open the profile, double-tap the button. A menu opens which you can use to set your availability status, change Skype for Business for Android settings, get help, provide feedback, and sign out. To dismiss the menu, use two fingers to swipe from right to left.

    On the right edge of the heading are the Meeting and Contacts buttons. To view your meeting list or manage your contacts, tap the button and then double-tap. To dismiss the Meetings or Contacts screen, in the upper-left corner, move the focus to the Go Back button and double-tap.

  • Search for contacts box that you can use to find people in the company directory. Move the focus to the search box and double-tap. The on-screen keyboard opens. Type or speak the name of the person you want to find.

  • Upcoming shows upcoming events and appointments.

  • Below that is the fourth section: a list of your recently used contacts. This list indicates the contact names with the dates of recent conversations or meetings.

Navigate with Talkback shortcuts

If you use an external keyboard with Skype for Business for Android, you can navigate the app with the Tab key, Shift+Tab, the arrow keys, the Esc or Back key, and Enter. (For more information, go to Keyboard shortcuts for Skype for Business for Android.) In addition, when you use TalkBack with your Android device, about two dozen more keyboard shortcuts become available.

Find Talkback shortcuts
  1. To return to the home screen, tap and then double-tap the Android Home button.

  2. From the home screen, navigate to the screen containing the Settings button, move the focus to it, and double-tap.

  3. Move down the screen to the System area until you hear “Accessibility,” and double-tap.

  4. On the Accessibility screen, move the focus to TalkBack, which is usually the first command. You hear “TalkBack, On.” Double-tap.

  5. On the TalkBack screen, move the focus to the Settings menu and double-tap. You hear something like “TalkBack settings, Showing items one to thirteen of thirty-two.”

  6. To scroll down the list, swipe up with two fingers. Slide down the screen until Manage keyboard shortcuts has the focus. Double-tap.

  7. Slide down the screen to explore the list of available keyboard shortcuts that you can use when TalkBack is on. To scroll down the list, swipe up with two fingers.

  8. To hear a keyboard shortcut, slide to it. You hear something like “Home, Alt+Shift+H” or “Pause or resume TalkBack, Alt+Shift+Z.”

  9. To exit the Manage keyboard shortcuts screen, press the Esc or Back key. Or, on your device, move the focus to the Home button and double-tap.

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.

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