Low Vision

Accessibility and E-Readers

E-readers (portable devices used primarily for reading electronic books) and general purpose tablets with book-reading apps, like the iPad, are fast becoming popular choices for reading the growing collection of books available in electronic formats. Both types arrived with some accessibility advantages, and developers have been making their products more accessible to people with visual and dexterity disabilities. This article is a summary of the current accessibility state-of-the-art for the most popular of these devices, as well as information on using computers to access e-books. The field is evolving due to lawsuits against schools and libraries, by groups concerned with access.

Most e-readers have features that make them easier for some users, compared to printed books: lighter weight, buttons or screen gestures for page-turning, magnification, and good contrast in low light. Brands and models differ widely on these and more advanced features such as text-to-speech, easy-to-use controls, and screens that perform well in all lighting conditions.

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Assistive Technology for People with Visual Disabilities

Tools that provide access to people who are blind or have low vision are available to help with a variety of tasks, including telephone use, cooking, self-care, and even carpentry. These tools usually provide output in at least one of three ways: audio, magnification, or braille.

Note: For information on computer access, see our articles on magnification, refreshable braille, and screen readers. For information on magnifying printed text, see our article on CCTVs.

Telephone Access

Large button telephones can make dialing easier for people with low vision. They may have additional features, such as audio amplification.

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New App for DAISY Audio Books

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) has released an app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that allows users to download and read their more than 60,000 DAISY Consortium.

">DAISY books in audio. You must be an RFB&D member to use the service, and the app costs $19.99.

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Assistive Technology and Elders

When considering assistive computer technology for elders, three issues need to be addressed: how will they need to be accommodated, what technology exists to provide accommodations, and how can these technologies be presented so elders will use them.

How Do Elders Need To Be Accommodated?

For elders, disability exists on a continuum of severity. Some disabilities are a natural part of aging and are generally mild.  Other disabilities rise in incidence with age, and may be mild to severe. Finally, more people with mild to severe long-term disabilities are living well beyond retirement age.

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Broadband Access and How It Is Redefining Quality of Life Issues for People with Disabilities

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Pacific Standard Time

This webinar will present a general introduction and overview of Broadband—both as a public policy agenda and as a quality of life issue for people with disabilities. The training will review the unique ways in which Broadband is redefining health care, education, employment, citizenship, and community participation for people with disabilities.

Description: This webinar will present a general introduction and overview of Broadband—both as a public policy agenda and as a quality of life issue for people with disabilities. The training will review the unique ways in which Broadband is redefining health care, education, employment, citizenship, and community participation for people with disabilities.

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Free Computer AT Already In Macintosh OSX And How To Use It!

Thursday, June 16, 2011
11:00 AM - 12:00 AM Pacific Standard Time

Apple OSX and iOS have a variety of built-in features useful to people with disabilities. This webinar will show you how to find these features and discuss what needs they can meet.

Description: Apple OSX and iOS have a variety of built-in features useful to people with disabilities. This webinar will show you how to find these features and understand what needs they can meet.

Learning Goals:

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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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Creating Captioned Video

Adding captions to video is easier than it seems, and it's getting easier all the time.  The process consists of 2 or 3 elements:

  • The text of the captions, which should be an accurate transcript of what is said in the video, plus sound effects
  • Timing information, so the right caption shows up at the right time
  • Optional formatting information about where the captions appear on the screen, font, color, etc. 

This article covers the basic steps of adding captions to a video you are creating. In some cases the steps will depend on the video production system you are using.

Why Add Captions?

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Introduction to Assistive Technology

Thursday, February 17, 2011
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM PST

Assistive Technology is anything that bridges a gap between the goals and aptitudes of people with disabilities. In this training, we will take a look at assistive technology for use in the home, school, workplace, and community environments. We'll move from the simplest low tech through the most cutting-edge high tech, and provide suggestions on how to find solutions to meet any individual's needs.

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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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