Think about your client, consumer or student who is visually impaired. Can they successfully and independently get through every day without technology?
As a professional, you play a critical role in the technology process. This does not mean you must become access technology experts. Just know the steps to help your client or student on the road to the appropriate technology solution.
Where and how the technology will be used is the next step. To identify the purpose, you will need to:
Define the Environment
Where will the technology be used – work, school, home?
Determine the Function
How will the technology be used – for work, school or personal? Now that you know the preferred media and how and where the technology will be used, let’s look at what technology solutions are available.
Before you can use screen reading software, you need a computer. Following is an overview of mainstream technology products that can be adapted for use by someone who is visually impaired.
PCs or Windows-Based Computers
Available in either desktop, laptop or the latest NetBook versions, today’s PC’s come standard with a soundcard and more than enough power to run access technology. Latest in the PC world is the introduction of the Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft assures us that this new operating system, which is replacing Vista, will solve all our problems.
Although a major frustration for all of us, the Office 2007 software and the “ribbon” is here to stay. It’s time to move over and get used to a new way of doing things.
With improvements in its built-in screen magnification and reading software, Macintosh is starting to make a name for itself in the world of visually impaired computer users. Macintosh computers are available as a desktop, mini or laptop. Consider CloseView or VoiceOver as possible solutions.
With the release of Macintosh’s 10.5 operating system, all Macintosh computers (laptops, minis and desktops) include the screen magnification program CloseView and the screen reading program VoiceOver. Additional products from Apple that are accessible include: