Other portable devices (iPads/Droid tablets, etc.)

Touchscreen Use and Accessibility Issues

Touchscreens are becoming ubiquitous in mobile devices: tablets, smartphones, e-readers, etc. However, individuals who have either visual or dexterity disabilities (or both) may have difficulties using standard touchscreen technology. This article covers the types of problems that people may experience, as well as innovations that attempt to address these barriers.

Vision

Traditional touchscreen use, like mouse use, requires good hand/eye coordination. If users cannot see the target, they cannot activate it. This affects opening applications, using the virtual keyboard, and most other touch screen functions. Recent touchscreens have built-in solutions for this problem:

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Technology for People who Stutter

Individuals who stutter may or may not wish to have assistance with modifying their speech. For those who do, a variety of technologies are available. This article summarizes some of the latest options.

Therapeutic Devices

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Using Pictures in Mainstream Communication Programs

Adding pictures to standard communication tools such as address books may provide important visual cues for people with learning or other cognitive disabilities -- users can contact people without knowing how to read or write their names. This article contains information on ways that Macintosh and Windows computers and mobile devices support this feature.

Adding Pictures to Email Address Books

Macintosh

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Mounting Systems for Electronic Devices

Mounting systems are often needed to hold specialized or mainstream devices to wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, or stationary objects such as desks, counters, beds, and walls. They provide a way to accommodate the user's ability to reach or operate the device, or a cognitive disability. They work well in public settings and institutions, where the device must be easy to find and use, but protected against theft. Mounting systems have evolved to handle many devices and environments. This article provides an overview of available mounting systems, including what to consider when selecting a system.

When considering mounting systems, keep the following in mind:

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Free AAC Software for iPhone/iPodTouch/ iPad Devices

Many free alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) apps are available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. This article summarizes the capabilities of the most useful of these apps as well as providing links to the products' iTunes pages.

For an introduction to AAC, please see the articles on Alternative and Augmentative Communication--What Is It? and Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) -- What are the options?

Introduction

One benefit of using free apps is that they can be used to explore whether AAC is beneficial to an individual, and what type of AAC is beneficial, without requiring a financial commitment beyond the necessary hardware. They also tend to have simple designs so that they are very intuitive and can be used with little or no training or configuration.

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Refreshable Braille Devices

Individuals who can read braille may prefer it to audio as a means of accessing information from a computer. This is particularly true for programmers and others who need to closely proofread their work. Refreshable (electronic) braille displays allow blind individuals to access on-screen text.

Refreshable braille devices have multiple braille 'cells', spaces on a surface that correspond to the 2-column-3-row layout of braille dots. Each cell has 6 pins that can be raised or lowered electronically, creating the dot pattern for the character. For example, the letter 'a' is created by raising only the top left pin.

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Alternative and Augmentative Communication--What Is It?

People may have difficulty speaking due to a physical injury or a disability (e.g., cerebral palsy), a cognitive impairment (such as brain injury or autism), or both physical and cognitive disabilities. Some of these people use alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) strategies for communication. This article covers the general principles of AAC; more information about specific strategies is in our article about Alternative and Augmentative Communication--What are the Options?

AAC needs to be matched to the user's physical and cognitive capabilities, but also to the immediacy of their communication needs. If someone is trying to communicate, it is better to quickly provide simple but reasonably effective strategies, such as a sheet of paper with pictures that she can point to, than to wait until more sophisticated options are available.

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Apple’s Mobile Products (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch)

In many ways, Apple’s iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch are ideal accessibility tools. They’re lightweight and easy to use. The wide range of applications -- built-in, free, or generally inexpensive -- suit a variety of needs. The touchscreen interface is ideal for many people who can't use a keyboard or mouse. Finally, because they’re mainstream products, people use them without feeling self-conscious or paying a large amount of money. This article covers some of the accessibility features and ways you can use these devices.

Apple has included some powerful accessibility features in the iOS operating system used by its mobile devices:

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Screen Magnifier Software

Simple magnifiers are built into all operating systems.

">Screen magnifier software enlarges text and other elements on the monitor.  Simple versions are built into all operating systems, and on some smartphones and other portable devices

This article covers both free and third-party AT solutions.

Try it yourself:

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