Microsoft Teams - Accessibility

Last Updated: 01/21/2021

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 can be 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 continuous use of Teams would help mitigate some of the previously identified issues. 

Recommendations

Ensure that team members who use assistive technology are given sufficient time to learn the tool prior to usage. The actual time is hard to estimate and will depend on the user’s skill and expected pattern of use, but it is likely to be several hours or even several work days.

If users experience continued difficulties with the tool or are unable to effectively engage with functions deemed important by your team, consider using an alternative collaboration tool.  We have noted some other options in the “Alternatives” section of this document.

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done from 2017 through July 2020 with multiple screen readers (Windows desktop) and February 2019 (iOS), and may no longer represent the current status of the software.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

Alternatives

If use of Teams proves to be time consuming, cumbersome, or otherwise difficult to use, you may want to consider alternatives such as:

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