- Microsoft unveiled the new Surface Adaptive Kit at the Microsoft Fall 2021 event which makes Microsoft’s laptops more accessible.
- The Surface Adaptive Kit features several sets of adhesive bump labels to provide better touch sensing for keycaps
- The Surface Adaptive Kit is compatible with all devices, which is one of the greatest aspects.
The Surface Adaptive Kit features several sets of adhesive bump labels to provide better touch sensing for keycaps, including translucent labels that don’t obscure the keys, port indicator labels, and opener support for those with motor disabilities.
Kris Hunter, principal director of Devices UX Research and Accessibility, and Dave Dame, Director of Accessibility for Devices, demonstrated how the Surface Adaptive Kit can be used to do anything from identifying ports to assisting users in opening their devices using pull tabs and lanyards at the Microsoft Fall 2021 event.
The Surface Adaptive Kit is compatible with all of the most recent Surface devices, including the Surface Laptop 4, Surface Book 3, and Surface Pro 8, but to be honest, you could probably use them on whatever device you have, which is one of the greatest aspects.
It’s wonderful when a manufacturer incorporates accessibility features into its products, but it doesn’t help people with disabilities who don’t own those products, especially when you consider that people with disabilities are among the most economically vulnerable people in society, due to employment discrimination or even the inability to work at all.
Computer hardware has traditionally been one of the simpler barriers to overcome in terms of accessibility, because a USB port is a USB port, and as long as a device complies with USB standards, a computer will recognize it, allowing a wide range of accessible controllers to operate with computers.
However, mobile devices that are more prevalent and significant than a desktop or even a laptop are becoming a more common and important element of the computing environment, and it is here that accessibility is sometimes ignored. While iOS and Android have built-in accessibility features, devices running those operating systems generally do not have any accessible interfaces at all.
Compatible with all devices
While the Microsoft Surface Adaptive Kit is labeled for Microsoft Surface devices, there is nothing that prevents someone with a disability from using these physical indications on an iPad, which is a huge issue. Given how straightforward a solution something like the Surface Adaptive Kit is to some very frequent accessibility concerns, one would think more well-known technology firms would have done something similar.
But, like with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft appears to be one of the only big-name tech firms that cares enough to try to tackle those problems, and for that, they deserve a lot of credit.