How do I make my computer or laptop accessible?

Check out the accessibility options available within the operating system of your computer. The most common operating systems found on desktop computers and laptops are Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS. Both of which have features and tools incorporated into the platform that make them accessible by people who are blind or partially sighted.

The content from the computer can be accessed by a screen reader which will provide speech output (Windows Narrator and VoiceOver), screen magnification (Windows Magnifier and Zoom) and also change the colour of how things appear on screen (high contrast and inverted colours). Other elements - like the size, shape and transparancy of the mouse cursor can be adjusted to suit your personal preference.

Virtual assistants like Cortana and SIRI can also be voice controlled to undertake tasks like sending an email, conducting a web search and opening applications and files.

Windows and Mac accessibility features and tools can be used at home, in the work place, in education and in public areas like libraries. It makes the content from the desktop or laptop computer accessible meaning that a blind technology user can access and enjoy their device without barriers or obstacles.

If the options within your computer aren't enough you can also download extra software, sometimes for free.

Free accessibility software

If the options within your computer aren't enough you can download extra software, sometimes for free, that will magnify or speak the screen contents. It can be limited, but it will be enough to allow you to write documents, send and receive emails and surf the web.

Paid-for accessibility software

You can also buy accessibility software which usually has more features and better support than the free software.

You can also buy accessibility hardware, including high visibility keyboards, large monitors, and braille displays which can replace a monitor. For people in work or study, funding may be available to pay for this kind of equipment.

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