If you know individuals who have impairments, it won't be hard for you to understand the issues of digital accessibility. However, what if you've never seen a blind person using a computer or smartphone? If you have a handicap and want to utilize the internet, we are here to provide you with some insight into the challenges you may have in doing so.
Blindness, like most other forms of disability, may be classified along a continuum. There are individuals who can see nothing (not even light) and those who are legally blind, and there are so many variables in between. There are also people who can see so little that they are legally blind. It is doubtful that you will be able to determine where a blind person falls on this spectrum when you meet them, even if they have a guide dog or a white cane with them at the time of your encounter. (And it's possible that the person sees something entirely different out of each of their eyes.) Today, we will be concentrating on those who are unable to use technology without the assistance of a screen reader or a braille keyboard.
The term "assistive technology" (AT) refers to a wide range of different pieces of hardware and software that are designed to make it easier for individuals with impairments to use technology. Screen readers, braille displays, and software that recognizes speech are the most important assistive technologies for people who are blind.
More than three decades have passed since the invention of screen readers. A text-to-speech translation is provided by a screen reader, which is a software that examines the structure and content of a website and then reads it out. The user has control over the playing speed, and they may utilize instructions to go quickly from heading to heading, click on links, and complete a variety of other necessary actions. If the content of the website has been coded with the appropriate header tags, a person who is blind can use their screen reader to find the section of the website that they are interested in reading in much the same way that a sighted person can visually skim a website to find the section that they want to read.
Computers may be used in a wide variety of ways by those who are partly sighted. The solution may be as easy as upgrading to a bigger monitor, modifying the look of the software to use larger letters and icons, modifying the color palette, and so on. This may be the case for certain individuals. Some individuals may use a piece of magnification software in order to expand the size of a portion of the screen so that it completely fills the region that can be seen. It's possible that some individuals might benefit from having material read to them by synthetic voice.
Electronic magnification is achieved by the use of a camera and a screen in video magnifiers, which are also referred to as CCTVs in certain contexts. They are most often used for reading and writing, but may be helpful for any activity that would benefit from magnification. There are many different types of video magnifiers available, such as those that can share a display with a computer, some that are portable, and those that can concentrate on faraway things like signs and notice boards.
Using a computer is certainly not out of the question for anyone who has no usable eyesight at all. The majority of visually impaired people who use computers often make use of a screen reader, which converts text on the display into synthetic voice and allows the user to navigate the operating system and operate applications through the keyboard. There are modified keyboards and technologies that recognize the user's speech that are available for those who are unable to use a normal keyboard. Ask websites to be more friendly to blind people.
People often have the need to be able to jot down a message, write a note, or anything similar. You will be able to record and save your own personal notes if you use a digital voice recorder.
Those who are blind and need access to printed material may use a scanner equipped with optical character recognition (OCR) technology to transform printed material into electronic text. This electronic text can then be read by technology that produces synthetic speech.
A braille display is a device that allows blind people who use computers to read the information that is shown on the screen. These may be used in addition to spoken communication.
If a person who is blind and reads braille has a need for hard copy material (this example be for the purpose of delivering a presentation or to refer to during a meeting), a braille embosser and transcription software can be used to create this information.
Alternately, using access technology to find a solution to every issue that may arise is not always practicable. For instance, to pick different copying settings, the display of many photocopiers is in the form of a touch screen. In this scenario, it is feasible to employ a "low tech" solution to fix the issue. For example, it may be able to acquire a tactile overlay for the screen, or the copier may be programmed with a variety of operations that can be readily selected using the keypad.