Microsoft Teams will finally shine focus on these often-neglected participants

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The battle to be the best video conferencing platform in the game has never been hotter, and with more companies adopting hybrid working policies, companies like Microsoft regularly update their offerings to appeal to more users.

Accessibility is at the forefront of the latest Microsoft Teams update, which will soon offer enhanced support for sign language communication.

An entry on the company’s roadmap, where it announces upcoming features, reads “Sign Language View and always-on captions in meetings”.

Sign language in Teams

According to the description, users will be able to “prioritize up to two other participants’ videos for sign language in meetings so they stay visible even while content is shared and set captions to stay on across all meetings.” 

Because the supported platforms are desktop and Mac, it’s unlikely that the new feature is going to make it to mobile devices this time around. This may be due to the limitations of the smaller screen size, however we can’t rule this out for a future addition as the company realizes its importance.

The rollout of extended sign language support and always-on captions is set to begin in December 2022.

This is far from the only update coming to Teams this side of Christmas, with a whole handful of additions and refinements in the pipeline.

In November, Microsoft is set to expand its emoji reactions in Teams chat messages to include more than 800 emojis. Also set for a November release is a new scheduling tool which will prevent keen workers and night owls from disturbing colleagues by sending messages outside of working hours. Available to desktop users, messages will soon be able to be scheduled to send at a specific time.

Some forms of Sign Language Interpretation are already available to Zoom users who can see an additional popup window for up to 20 designated interpreters.

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