Microsoft Teams

Transforming the Microsoft Teams call experience for users with surface dyslexia to foster better communication and teamwork.

My Role

Primary Research 
Secondary Research


Feature Prioritization




3 Designers

2 Engineers

2 Product managers


Stakeholder Interviews 
Heuristic Evaluation 
User Testing


Aug 23 - Dec 23

Helo, my nme is Dhanshri, and I am excitd to present our new prject plan. Pleese let me knw if you hav any questons.

Did you find it difficult to read the above line? Did you notice the spelling mistakes?

What if I told you that 1 in 10 individuals lives with surface dyslexia, struggling with whole-word recognition and spelling?


Our Vision

The goal is to enhance the Microsoft Teams desktop experience to empower junior-level employees with surface dyslexia in English, ensuring seamless collaboration and a sense of inclusion for all.


My team designed 3+ MVP features in Microsoft Teams video call to help users with surface dyslexia read and recognize words more effectively. These efforts resulted in positive feedback from users, with an average rating of 4.5/5 and a 32% increase in adoption rates.

Glimpse of Design Decisions


Zimmerman, Sarah

10:50 PM

Yes, I am joining in 5 mins.

Grate. We can discuss the p roject

Agarwal, Pradeep Dhanshri

Hi, everyone. Sure, I'm free. What's up?


Jump to the Solution


What is Surface Dyslexia?

Surface dyslexia is a type of dyslexia characterized by difficulty with whole-word recognition and spelling. They frequently find themselves compelled to navigate educational and work settings that do not cater to their specific needs.

Difficulty recognizing whole words

Individuals with surface dyslexia rely on phonetic decoding, struggling particularly with irregular words.

Slow and laborious reading

Surface dyslexia can lead to slow reading speeds and increased effort to decode each word, impacting overall reading fluency.

Trouble with accurate & fluent spelling

They frequently misspell words by applying regular phonetic rules, especially with irregular words.

Relying heavily on phonetic spelling, leading to errors

This reliance results in phonologically plausible but incorrect spellings, such as "sope" for "soap".

Defining our audience

What do people with surface dyslexia say?

It's not about reading difficulties; it's a constant battle with words flipping on the page.

My spelling is horrible and getting new things to stick in my memory is always a struggle.

Primary user focus

My team discovered that junior-level employees tend to encounter more challenges with spelling and writing. This difficulty often arises from their involvement in meetings, requiring detailed note-taking and a heightened focus on spelling and grammar.

User Persona

My team discovered that junior-level employees tend to encounter more challenges with spelling and writing. This difficulty often arises from their involvement in meetings, requiring detailed note-taking and a heightened focus on spelling and grammar.

Product Evaluation

Existing Accessibility features within Teams Calls

While evaluating the existing features within Teams calls, my team identified several that are beneficial for people with hearing or speech issues. However, we also recognized the significant potential for integrating and designing features to assist users with surface dyslexia.

Live Transcripts

It offers live transcription in 28 languages, allowing users to view real-time transcriptions alongside meeting content or review them at their own pace after the meeting.

Users may struggle with text size, line spacing, and background colors.

Live Captions

Users can turn on live captions from the meeting controls to view them at the bottom of the meeting window. However, these captions are not saved for later viewing.

Users with surface dyslexia may type or read more slowly than the usual pace. Thus, keeping up with live captions can be challenging for them.

Continue the conversation after the meeting

Users can use the chat feature during ongoing meetings, and all messages will be saved in the chat section on Microsoft Teams, helping to reduce email clutter.

Users with surface dyslexia may struggle with spelling and grammar, increasing communication anxiety and participation barriers during meetings.

Participate your way

Users can choose how to contribute to the conversation with live reactions, hand raising and other features.

Users may find it difficult to juggle between multiple chats, participate features, documents within Teams.

Design Opportunity

Turning Insights into Action

Users with surface dyslexia face significant challenges in reading and writing during meetings. They need features in Teams Desktop that can help alleviate these difficulties and assist with processing information.

A feature that provides contextual guides for challenging words, aiding their comprehension and retention of the content.

The option of enabling users to process meeting content at a more suitable pace.

An enhanced chat and messaging support to help communicate with confidence, ensuring that their written messages are accurate and error-free.

Final Solution

Immersive Reader in Live Caption to improve comprehension.

Integrating immersive readers into live captions to help users understand difficult words.

Users can hover over words in the live captions to access a pop-up dictionary, which breaks words into syllables and includes a read-aloud feature for pronunciation assistance.


Help users read new or obscure words and improve comprehension. Aim to increase user comprehension and achieve an average feedback rating of > 4/5.

North Star

The number of English-speaking junior-level working adults with surface dyslexia actively using the immersive reader feature in live captions.

Auto-complete in chat to reduce spelling mistakes

Integrating the Auto-Complete feature into live chat to predict and suggest the next word similar to Outlook.

This will help users in reducing their spelling mistakes and write with confidence.


Add auto-complete functionality to live chat to reduce spelling errors. Aim to decrease spelling errors, boost user confidence in writing irregular words, and achieve an average feedback rating of > 4.5/5.

North Star

The number of text messages with no spelling errors sent in a meeting using the live chat feature by the users.


How users reacted to our designs?

Error Reduction:

Usability tests predict a 40% reduction in spelling errors, decreasing from an average of 5 errors per message to 3 errors, as participants made fewer mistakes with the auto-complete feature

User Confidence:

Surveys during usability testing indicated that 85% of participants felt more confident in their writing abilities with the auto-complete feature, projecting user confidence ratings to increase from 2.8/5 to 4.2/5.

Lessons Learned

Reflecting on the project

Although the project was incredibly demanding, it proved to be an immensely enriching journey for our group. It invoked us to stretch our limits, acquire novel abilities, and construct something capable of fostering societal upliftment.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Using data-driven decision-making, I turned insights into action. By diving into user feedback and behavior metrics, the team could pinpoint the need to refine the auto-complete and immersive reader features. This approach helped me make informed design choices that truly resonated with our users, resulting in a more intuitive and enjoyable experience.

Importance of Agile Teamwork

Designing for accessibility and inclusivity was a core priority throughout this project. I recognized that users with surface dyslexia faced unique challenges, particularly with reading and writing, and it was important to understand their needs and empathize to create features that would help them.

Importance of Agile Teamwork

Embracing agile development allowed me to iterate rapidly and respond to user feedback effectively. By breaking down the project into manageable sprints, my team could focus on incremental improvements. With continuous learning and adaptation, ensuring that our design solutions were always aligned with user needs and evolving requirements

  • Crafted with passion and countless cups of coffee.

  • Last updated: June 2024.

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