Microsoft Teams - Accessibility

Last Updated: 02/26/2020

What is Accessibility?

‘Accessible’ means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally inclusive manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

Information for Assistive Technology Users

There are a number of severe accessibility issues in Teams. Microsoft is aware and actively working on improving screen reader support of the Microsoft Teams web and desktop client.

The most problematic issues are summarized below based on preliminary screen reader testing by CU Boulder AUL.  Testing was conducted with NVDA and JAWS with Firefox.

  • Teams does not provide enough structural information to screen readers to allow screen reader users to build a mental map of the application. Therefore, screen reader users are unable to determine where they are, what features are available, and which content is related to which features and how to get from one feature to another or how to dive further into particular features.
  • Navigation requirements vary throughout the application; at times tabbing (forms mode) is required, at other times, arrowing (browse mode) is required - with no indication given that a navigation mode change is needed to move through or exit a location.
  • Cues identifying a location, what is available at the location, and how to interact with the features at that location are lacking throughout the application.

Accessibility Considerations

Microsoft Teams has both web browser and desktop client interfaces (for Mac and Windows). This makes Teams’ accessibility features work a little differently across the interfaces. For example, keyboard shortcuts are different across the Mac and Windows interface. Microsoft has documented accessibility support information at links below:

Alternatives/Workarounds

CU Boulder OIT is working directly with Microsoft to improve the accessibility of Microsoft Teams. While this effort is underway, you may want to consider trying alternative messaging applications:

Service Road Map & Accessibility Documentation

Teams has been tested through the CU Boulder Accessibility and Usability Lab. OIT is actively working with Microsoft to resolve the issues identified above, and will update this page as additional information becomes available. Additional testing is planned for the Fall of 2018 based on Microsoft’s roadmap for accessibility improvements.

For more information, see the Teams 508 Statement.

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.