LinkedIn is incorporating Microsoft's Immersive Reader, a multifaceted tool developed to facilitate content consumption and comprehension. The integration, unveiled during Dyslexia Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month, aims to foster an inclusive digital environment for users with diverse needs, including those with dyslexia and visual impairments.
Immersive Reader has previously been integrated into a variety of Microsoft's products and services, including Microsoft Office and Minecraft: Education Edition, and OneNote. However, its debut on LinkedIn signifies a noteworthy advancement in extending accessibility features to social media platforms, a domain where such tools are becoming increasingly indispensable.
Its key features include a Read Aloud function for pronunciation and understanding, grammar options such as syllable splitting and parts of speech highlighting, adjustable reading and text preferences with remembered settings, translation into over 70 languages, a Picture Dictionary for quick word comprehension, and Line Focus to aid reading focus by highlighting specific lines as you scroll through content.
A Suite of Accessibility Features
Upon implementing this upgrade, users will encounter the Immersive Reader icon prominently displayed on all articles and newsletters within LinkedIn. Activating Immersive Reader unveils a comprehensive suite of accessibility tools designed to cater to a diverse user base. The text-to-speech function stands out as a pivotal component, with the capability to accurately distinguish between homographs, thereby significantly enhancing the auditory learning experience for individuals with visual impairments.
LinkedIn emphasized the importance of this feature, stating, “Distinguishing between words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently makes it easier for… users to consume and process content.” Moreover, the tool is equipped to support an extensive array of over 60 languages and has the capacity to perform real-time translations for an impressive 100 languages, broadening its accessibility scope.
Content Isolation is another innovative feature that helps to minimize distractions by isolating the main text against a plain backdrop. It grants users the autonomy to customize visual elements such as colors, fonts, and text sizes, ensuring a tailored reading experience that accommodates individual preferences and needs. The Syllable Splitting feature complements this by deconstructing complex words into more manageable components, thereby aiding users in pronunciation and comprehension.