Add Speech to Windows BIOS
The most inaccessible part of Windows is the BIOS. There is no way for a blind person to change the BIOS by them selves and it is almost impossible to have someone on your phone read the screen that is on the bios over the phone.
This means that I need to have someone who is comfortable with working on the innards of the computer, who I trust, following directions from someone who has no idea what they should be looking for.
This is the only time where Narrator has an advantage over other screen readers.
Please allow some access to BIOS, especially on Surface products.
Tolga Karatas commented
hi ms disability answer desk, I am having a similar issue to the person who posted above, I am having trouble accessing the bios, in windows 7 without sighted assistance, I would of preferred if screen reader support was enabled because it would of made my life a lot easier
My understanding is that Intel has already developed a blind accessible bios but didn't find it cost effective. blind people are 3% of the population, the vast majority of which are elderly people with age related macular degeneration. Those people are incredibly unlikely to know what a bios is, let alone make their purchasing decision on whether or not it is blind accessible. The rest of us, I believe 10% of blind people, 0.3% of the population, are not likely enough to make their purchasing decisions on this factor, all else being equal. Even if they were, the purchasing power of 10% of blind people is not likely to sway Intel or any other hardware manufacturer. Now if Microsoft came to bat for us and make clear their desire to ensure blind accessibility in their machines that would certainly be beneficial. Though I'm not certain they'd really care at the end of the day. This is a matter of compliance with the ADA as far as I'm concerned, especially given the shift toward our increasingly digital society. Given that there are a number of training programs pushing for blind people to enter IT support positions this is going to be an increasingly important factor in the hiring process. Technical constraints that are hardware based are the largest limiting factor in my IT career. As far as I'm concerned the NFB and AFB should make this a priority given their stated goals of supporting the independence of blind people. IT positions are good paying positions in high demand. Even if their were legislation to make hardware manufacturers implement blind accessible bios passed today, it would take at least a decade for the legacy systems that do not have this hardware to populate throughout the majority of organizations. This is an issue that doesn't get nearly enough attention and is urgently needed.
Good morning, if Microsoft were wanting to leed and innovate with this idea they would need to collaborate with vendors to have an audio drive developped for UEFI bios systems. Then self voicing or screen reading may be something foreseeable in the future.
Thank you for your feedback. The BIOS on a system varies by the manufacturer. For accessibility concerns relating to the BIOS I would encourage you to reach out to the hardware manufacturer.
The Microsoft Disability Answer Desk team.
This is a great idea. However, I don't know how feasible this is. The BIOS is not a part of Windows. Maybe Microsoft can do this on their own hardware, but convincing other manufacturers to implement speech into UEFI is going to be a major issue. Perhaps this is something else Microsoft should promote. Maybe third parties will listen if a giant corporation like Microsoft is promoting accessible UEFI.