The Visual Studio team is looking for appropriate measures to improve the accessibility of Visual Studio. A blog post suggests a few adjustments and at the same time calls on the community to contribute their own ideas. The declared aim is to improve the operation of the development environment for people with any kind of permanent or temporary impairment.
In the last few years the sensitivity for the topic has grown significantly and accessibility means more than the correct integration of screen readers and mouse-free operation purely via the keyboard. Microsoft’s open source source code editor Visual Studio Code has received a few updates in the last few months that specifically target accessibility, but this is a project that, despite the similar name, is completely independent of the Visual Studio IDE.
Spaces or tabs
The discussion of whether spaces or tabs are better for indenting code feels as old as the concept of indentation itself. It made its way into series like “Silicon Valley”, and Stack Overflow did in 2017 published a poll, according to which developers who use tabs make less money than those who use spaces.
A Post on Reddit highlights for accessibility the advantage of tabs. The Visual Studio team, however, does not want to pin down any tabs or spaces, but rather display the indentations in an adaptable manner regardless of personal preference. After all, Visual Studio recognizes multiple spaces as identifying indented code such as tabs.
Less is more
Obviously, the accessibility can already be improved with numerous options in the configuration, but these are not necessarily to be found immediately. This could be remedied by a separate view with the options aimed at accessibility. In the course of implementation, the blog post suggests similar views of the settings for security and privacy.
In addition, a focus mode is up for debate, which, like the notification assistant in Windows 10 or the “do not disturb” mode of smartphones, hides a large part of the notifications and potential distractions.
Finally, the Visual Studio team is considering how additional acoustic cues can help people with visual impairments in particular. The blog post calls for this point explicitly to suggestionswhere the acoustic support is helpful.
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