Compatibility with AT

What Smartphone Should I Buy if I'm Hearing Impaired?

Buying a smart phone involves a lot of decisions and their are tools to help you in your selection.

Individuals who are hearing impaired and use a hearing aid will want a cellphone that is most compatible with hearing aides. (Compatibility means least likelihood of microphone interference and greatest likelihood of telecoil coupling compatibility with the cell phone.)

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Use of Macros as an Accessibility Strategy

Macros are coded sets of instructions added to existing programs to change or enhance their functionality. In some cases, macros are easy to create and implement; in others, they may require sophisticated programming knowledge. This article talks about how macros can be used as an important accessibility tool and various ways to develop them.

Examples of Macro Use

  • Macros can be used to simplify the execution of complex functions, particularly those that need to be repeated. For example, users may need to go through documents imported from other sources to find and remove extraneous page breaks; a macro can be written to initiate and perform this process with a single key combination.

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Making Documents Accessible

Much information is available about website accessibility. However, documents in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF can also be inaccessible to blind users, as well as some users with cognitive and physical disabilities. This article summarizes the accessibility process for several versions of the Microsoft products, and discusses multiple ways to address PDF accessibility.

 

What is Document Accessibility?

A document is accessible if users with disabilities can read and understand all essential information that it contains, whether or not they use assistive technology. In particular:

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Access to Videos

This article provides an overview of the issues people may have when accessing videos online, in theaters, and from DVD or Blu-Ray players, and the solutions that have been developed to address these. 

Barriers to Video Access

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Content Management Systems (CMSs) and Accessibility

Content Management Systems (CMSs) let you create websites without having to write software or know much about web technologies -- they separate the task of creating and managing the content of your site from the task of building and maintaining the underlying structure. This lets 'average people' set up and manage a site, and makes it easy for contributors to write and comment. Drupal, Joomla!, WordPress, and Plone are popular CMSs. This article provides an overview of CMSs and accessibility, and how to get started.

Note: this article does not cover the specific types of CMSs used widely in education, called learning management systems, such as Blackboard and Elluminate.

How CMSs Work

CMSs are all about simplicity, and they use 2 techniques to achieve their goal of simplification; both have accessibility implications.

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Accessible Options for Art, Music, and Other Creative Activities

Creativity software can help users bypass the most difficult physical, sensory, and cognitive aspects of making art, while enabling expression and exploration. While there is not much high-tech hardware or software for making art specifically made for people with disabilities, there are a variety of mainstream options that can be put to this purpose. Many of these are particularly relevant to people with dexterity disabilities that prevent them from holding a paintbrush or strumming a guitar.

This article covers some of those options in:

  • Painting/Drawing
  • Making Music
  • Photography
  • Video and Animation

If you already have a creativity application, examine the interface, documentation, and online resources; you will usually find at least some of these usability and accessibility features:

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Making Browsers More Accessible

Browsers are the software programs used to access the web, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. All have accessibility features built in; you can add more features by downloading add-ons. This article covers what's available for each of these popular browsers.

Internet Explorer

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Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS)

Telecommunication Relay Service (background article.

">TRS) is a family of free services that lets people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or speech impaired independently place and receive phone calls.  A communication assistant (CA) "translates" between a text or sign language user on one side and a voice telephone user on the other.

This article covers the various types of relay services and how to use them.

background article.

">TRS includes:

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PDF Accessibility

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a common file format that allows the layout of a document to look the same across different platforms and applications. This article explains how to view and create PDFs with accessibility in mind.

Viewing PDFs

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Assistive Technology on USB Drives

Many assistive technology software programs are available on USB drives (also known as "flash" or "thumb" drives). These drives allow the programs to be run without being installed on the computer, which may be ideal for public computers with security settings that prevent software installation. A library patron, for example, may show up with his or her preferred AT, requiring little additional effort or expense from the library. This article covers how your library or other public access point can take advantage of these accessibility solutions.

Public computing locations should have IT management policies and procedures in place that let users show up with their own AT, while protecting the security of the computers and network. A staffer may have to work with the user to get the software to run effectively on your machines.

Here are some things to watch out for:

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