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October 1, 2023


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Microsoft rolls out a new feature to make Teams meetings ‘more inclusive’

2 min read

Microsoft has introduced a new meeting experience in Teams. The company has introduced a ‘sign language view’ feature to Microsoft Teams to help signers – people who are deaf/hard of hearing and others who use sign language. With the new feature, signers can keep one another prioritized on center stage, in a consistent location, throughout every meeting.

Announcing the new feature via a blog post, Microsoft said “Today we are pleased to announce sign language view, a new meeting experience in Microsoft Teams that helps signers – people who are Deaf/hard of hearing, interpreters, and others who use sign language – keep one another prioritized on center stage, in a consistent location, throughout every meeting”.

Users will be able to prioritize up to two other participants’ videos in Teams Meetings so they stay visible and in a consistent location throughout the meeting. Once enabled, the prioritized video streams will automatically appear at the right aspect ratio as well as with highest available quality. As per Microsoft, the feature is personal to users and will not impact what others see in the meeting.

“With sign language view turned on, the video feeds of the individuals you have designated stay visible on center stage as long as their video is on. Other participants can also be pinned or spotlighted without encroaching on the sign language interpreter”, the company said in a blogpost.

In case someone shares a file/document during the meeting, the prioritized video stream will shift positions. However, it will retain the available highest quality and remain at a larger size than the video feeds of other participants.

The new sign language view can be enabled in the new Accessibility pane in the Settings menu. The view will be on by default across all your meetings, and pre-identify a set of preferred signers that you work with inside your organization on a regular basis. There will be a toggle in the accessibility pane to enable captions across all meetings.

Microsoft says that the sign language view and the accessibility settings pane are currently available in Public Preview. Public preview can be enabled on a per-user basis, though the option to turn on public preview is controlled in an admin policy. The features will be rolling out to GA for the Teams desktop and web clients for commercial and GCC customers in the coming weeks.

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