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Microsoft Teams - Accessibility

Last Updated: 08/07/2020

Service Overview

Microsoft Teams is a messaging application that supports embedding documents and software tools within workspaces for teams. 

Microsoft Teams has both web browser and desktop client interfaces (for both Mac and Windows). There is also a mobile app available for iOS and Android.

Teams Accessibility Status

Microsoft Teams is extraordinarily difficult for users of assistive technology (e.g., screen readers) due to inconsistent navigation requirements, multiple regions, unpredictable focus changes, quantity of content, and lack of structural cues. Structural cues available to sighted users are not available to screen reader users. These cues delineate distinct regions of the software and establish relationships between pieces of information. Without them, it is extremely difficult for screen reader users to correctly interpret, find or work with content. 

Additionally, keyboard-only use of Microsoft Teams is cumbersome and challenging due to the variety of techniques required to successfully work with the application.

Extensive training and continual use of Teams would help mitigate some of the previously identified issues. 

Recommendations: Consider using an alternative collaboration tool rather than Microsoft Teams if you have a team member who uses assistive technology or keyboard only access.

If moving forward with this collaboration tool, teams that include members who use assistive technology must be afforded the opportunity to receive extensive training with the tool in order to become fully productive members of the team.

Please note: Statements on this page about the accessibility of Microsoft Teams are based on accessibility testing done from 2017 through July 2020 with multiple screen readers (Windows desktop) and February 2019 (iOS), and may no longer represent the current status of the software. Teams has not yet been tested on macOS or Android.

Findings presented here are accurate in the context of the IT environment and configuration at the time of testing at CU Boulder and may not be accurate in other environments and at other times.

Information for Assistive Technology Users

There are a number of severe accessibility issues in Teams for screen reader users. Using Microsoft Teams with a screen reader is not recommended.

Alternatives

CU Boulder is working directly with Microsoft to improve the accessibility of Microsoft Teams. While this effort is underway, you may want to consider alternatives such as:

  • Zoom (for meetings)
  • Mobile app for Teams (limited functionality compared to desktop application)
  • Email (for communication)

Vendor Accessibility Documentation

Get Help or Provide Feedback

OIT has partnered with Disability Services to provide assistance for accessibility issues related to OIT supported services and we want to hear from you about this service. If you need assistance using this service or you have more information about the accessibility of this service that we should share with others, please contact the IT Service Center at oithelp@colorado.edu or at 303-735-4357.