For the past few weeks, one of the topics brought up on some blindness mailing lists and on social networking platforms was support for Windows 10 by screen readers. Since the release of technical preview of Windows 10, some blind users installed this OS and sent tweets regarding supposedly enhanced Narrator, some user interface issues and feelings about Windows 10 using their preferred screen readers. The consensus was that, although it felt like using Windows 8.1, it had its potential with return of start menu from Windows 7 yet cautioned that the OS is far from complete.
So when would have been a more appropriate time to announce support for Windows 10? Based on current developments in Windows 10 and with the current tech preview series being quite unstable, I’d put forth spring 2015 to be the right time (more towards CSUN 2015 conference season). This would allow a more mature Windows 10 code to be available for early adopters and for screen reader vendors to prepare their source code to tackle changes in accessibility implementation, as by then developer preview with API release notes would have been released. However, even if support for Windows 10 (NT 10.0) is announced by Freedom scientific, AI Squared, NV access and others, vendors should keep an eye on any critical changes to accessibility implementations that warrant further refinements to their source code (JAWS is written in C++, evidenced by the fact that it installed C++ runtime redistributables, NVDA’s front end is written in Python while critical backend is written in C++). As it is now, I’d consider Windows 10 support (or announcement of it) providing “ten”tative access to Windows 10. Thanks.