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Solutions to meet needs

Solutions to meet needs


Author: David Banes, Chief Executive Officer, Mada - Qatar Assistive Technology Center. Edited by James Thurston, Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Group.

Vision

In-built solutions within the Operating System:

Almost all technologies offer a degree of ability to customise the presentation of visual information according to personal preferences. These usually take two forms:

  1. Making information larger on screen (magnification)

  2. Replacing visual output with audio or tactile forms (Screenreading or Braille)

Information on the solutions offered within OS can be found via a number of websites:

Updated content for new OS and computers is currently also available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/.

Open Source and Free technologies to enhance a platform
There are a number of free and open source technologies that enhance the operating system. Examples of these include:

  • NVDA for Windows

  • Orca for Linux

Commercial and Proprietary Solutions to meet individual needs
Commercial solutions can offer either a specific solution such as magnification or screen reading, but increasingly combine these features to allow users to mix and match features to meet their personal needs.
Examples of such programmes include

  • Jaws

  • Supernova

Physical
Meeting the physical needs of users will often require a combination of hardware in the form of alternatives to the standard keyboard or mouse and software to adjust the way the keyboard/mouse or alternative responds to an action

Information on a  full range of alternatives to the keyboard and mouse can be found at

Solutions within the Operating System

Updated content for new OS and computers is currently also available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/.

Open Source and Free technologies to enhance a platform
Further customisations to the platform are available through a range of free and open source solutions. Some examples are given below

  • Dasher

  • FXC Software

  • Click N Type

Commercial and Proprietary Solutions to meet individual needs
There are a wide range of commercial and third party solutions designed to assist with ease of access. People with physical impairments may need to utilise a range of solutions. Some of these include:

  • Touchscreens

  • Switching

  • Voice Recognition

  • On screen keyboards

Information on all of these and others can be found at:

Reading and Communication
There are a number of standalone devices that are available to assist people with difficulties in reading and writing. These would include Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCA) suitable for people with little and no speech and reading aids such as ebook readers or spelling aids for people with reading difficulties such as dyslexia.

Examples of these types of devices can be found at :   

Solutions within the Operating System

Updated content for new OS and computers is currently also available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/guides/.

Open Source and Free technologies to enhance a platform
There are a number of additional resources that support reading. These can be divided into tools that change the way text is presented on screen, amending the font, colours, style etc and tools that are designed to be applied to the text as additional tools.

Tools to amend the style of text include:

  • RapidSet

  • Washer

  • ssOverlay

Solutions that add extra tools to the computer to support reading include:

  • VuBar

  • ReadPlease

  • Natural Reader

  • BookReader

Commercial and Proprietary Solutions to meet individual needs
There are in addition a number of commercial and proprietary tools that enhance the computer with specialised features. These include both hardware and software tools.

Hardware:

  • BookCourier

  • Daisy Readers

  • Kurzweil Reading machines

  • Ebook readers

Software:

  • TextHelp Read and write ClaroSoftware Dragon Naturally speaking

Further information on solutions can be found at GATE and EMPTECH.