A man wearing headphones works on a Surface device at home

Making Microsoft’s UK News Centre more accessible for all readers with Azure Immersive Reader

Azure Immersive Reader helps users read and comprehend text through features such as reading aloud, translating languages, and focusing attention through highlighting and other design elements.

The service, which began as a feature in OneNote and is now available in Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Forms, PowerPoint and selected external sites, supports people of all ages and abilities. You can try it now on any News Centre article, whether you’re using Edge or another internet browser; on mobile or a laptop: simply click the Immersive Reader link at the top of the story.

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more. That means EVERY person, regardless of background or ability. We are constantly striving to be an inclusive company, helping everyone to be their true, authentic self and achieve their goals.

Hector Minto, Microsoft Accessibility Evangelist, said: “Enabling Immersive Reader on our UK News Centre may seem like a small step but it will have huge implications for many people who struggle with reading. The tool is currently used by more than 23 million people every month to complete schoolwork, understand work documents or simply browse the internet. It’s become a lifeline to many; their route to engaging with and understanding content.

“I encourage everyone to try Immersive Reader on the Microsoft UK News Centre and find out how it can help you.”

Immersive Reader is an Azure service that any website or organization can use. It’s a simple API anyone with an Azure account can embed in their website or app, and works with any internet browser. It took the UK News Centre team less than a month to implement, test and launch Immersive Reader on the website, and the tool now appears as a link at the top of every story. Microsoft is encouraging every organisation and company to adopt Immersive Reader on their websites to support people with accessibility needs.

Minto said: “Because Immersive Reader is a standalone service, any organisation can use the API to embed it in their website. Whatever sector you work in – retail, financial services, public sector, government etc – it will be a huge help to your customers and, as a result, your business. It makes business sense for every company to make it as easy as possible for people to use their services.”

Click here to learn more about Immersive Reader and how to embed it in your website.