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Accessibility Features in Computer Operating Systems

All current computer operating systems include features that make using the computer easier for people with disabilities.  For many people, these features may provide sufficient accommodations or may be the best available solution. In other cases, the features are scaled-down versions of capabilities that are available in more sophisticated versions from third-party vendors.

These features accommodate a wide range of users:

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Keyboards for Users with Dexterity Impairments

Some people have trouble hitting the right keys accurately or holding down one key while pressing another.  There are hardware and software solutions that provide accommodations; this article covers the basics and will help you get started.

Software Solutions

Utilities

All operating systems have two utilities that change how the keyboard works.  StickyKeys lets the user press keys one at a time to get combinations like "CTRL-P" for printing, instead of having to hold one key down while pressing another.  Filter Keys reduces unwanted keystrokes.

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Comparing the Accessibility and Screen Enhancement Features of Google Android Lollipop 5.0 and Apple iOS 8.1.1 for People with Low Vision

The AFB has posted a good comparison of the two dominant smartphone operating systems

"It can be argued that Apple has represented the gold standard of accessibility for some time now. It is reassuring to see Google taking accessibility more seriously with its more recent Android releases that include Magnification Gestures and color inversion."

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Fujitsu’s Smartphone Designed for Seniors

 Fujitsu has designed an Android-based smartphone, the Stylistic S-O1, with a number of features to improve functionality and reduce frustration for seniors.

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Trabasack Combines Laptop Bag with Laptray

Trabasack is a combination product that lets you carry a laptop or tablet computer, then use it on a firm tray surface, with a detachable beanbag cushion.

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Control Android Devices with Special Switches

Tekla is a free software app for the Android platform that lets you control other apps on the device, including its phone function, via any specialized switch setup: puff and sip, large ability switches, wheelchair controller, etc.

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UK Site Features Info on Simple Switch Access to Games and Entertainment

OneSwitch is a UK organization that develops and shares information about simple access to games and other software. It's got lots of fun, practical solutions for entertainment, music, and art, and an attached blog for dialogue and involvement.

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New Gaming Site Shares Advice on Accessibility

Gamebase is a new website that lets disabled gamers trade information about what they play and how they play it. It's a project of SpecialEffect, a UK charity dedicated to accessible gaming that has developed eye gaze technology for video games and operates a loan library.

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