Microsoft is committed to creating products and services designed for everyone, including over one billion people with disabilities. In celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Microsoft is excited to announce new accessibility features for the Outlook Mobile app on iOS and Android phones that will empower blind and low-vision customers to achieve more. Cortana’s updated features were designed to be more compatible with mobile screen readers through innovative gesture controls and improved interaction models. This will enable customers to effortlessly switch between voice commands and screen reader controls to catch up on emails, organize their day, and take advantage of Microsoft’s powerful search capabilities.
An eyes-free email experience
We made it easier than ever to invoke Cortana and start listening to your emails. On an Android phone, simply say, “Hey Google, play my emails in Outlook.” iPhone users can set up a Siri Shortcut and add it to the Home Screen or widgets. For even quicker access, you can combine a Siri Shortcut with Apple’s new Back Tap feature, which allows you to start listening to your emails just by tapping the back of your phone. Once you’ve set up a Siri Shortcut for Play My Emails, go to Back Tap in the Accessibility Touch Settings, choose Double Tap or Triple Tap, and then select Play My Emails from the list of Shortcuts. To learn more about Play My Emails accessibility features for mobile devices see, Accessibility gestures in Play My Emails.
As you’re listening to your emails on an iPhone with VoiceOver turned on, you can use customizable touch gestures to triage your inbox. The default setting lets you archive an email by swiping up with three fingers and flag an email by swiping down with three fingers. On both iPhone and Android, you can pause playback by double tapping the screen with two fingers and you can control the readout speed by asking Cortana to "speed up" or "slow down." Plus, you can switch to a different app or turn the screen off while continuing to listen to your emails in the background. With a more accessible Cortana, you can easily ask about upcoming meetings, emails from specific contacts, and even schedule focus time. Play My Emails is optimized for both Cortana and your screen reader to provide a seamless audible email experience. For a full list of things you can say to Cortana while listening to your emails, see What Can You Do With Play My Emails from Cortana?
We’re committed to accessibility
At Microsoft, we’re dedicated to providing inclusive tools and features that empower people living with disabilities to achieve more. To ensure we're creating products that effectively meet the needs of all our customers, all our products follow a set of accessibility principles based on transparency, accountability and inclusion. Throughout the development of Play My Emails, Microsoft worked with blind customers to understand and implement the necessary requirements to translate their needs into voice-enabled capabilities.
As Play My Emails continues to evolve, we're committed to creating new features and experiences that are accessible to all our customers. This is achieved thanks to the insightful and valuable feedback we receive from you. When the Outlook Mobile app is open you can say, “I have feedback,” at any time to share your thoughts and suggestions. We want to hear from you!
Frequently asked questions
How do I customize the up and down swipe gestures on iOS?
When using Play My Emails on iOS with VoiceOver turned on, you can archive an email by swiping up with three fingers and flag an email by swiping down with three fingers. These swipe gestures map to custom action buttons that appear to the left and right of the Play button on the Play My Emails screen. These gestures can be customized to perform different actions, like flag, snooze, delete, and more, by going to Settings > Play My Emails > Swipe Options. To change the action taken when swiping up with three fingers, you need to change the Swipe Left option. To change the action taken when swiping down with three fingers, choose Swipe Right.
How do I change the speed of the readout?
You can change the readout speed by going to Settings > Play My Emails > Readout Speed. Or while you’re listening to your emails, you can tap the mic and ask Cortana to “speed up” or “slow down.”
Where can I learn more about Cortana in Play My Emails?