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Sometimes the solution can be as simple as using a large monitor. A large monitor, such as 19" or larger increases the size of objects seen on the screen.
Other simple solutions can be increasing text and cursor size, adjusting sizes of titles, scroll bars, borders, menu text, icon and other elements, and increasing contrast and reducing glare.
If you are having difficulty seeing the keyboard for typing, high contrast stickers are available. These stick to the tops of the keys and are a large, clear, high-contrast font. A sheet of stickers is available at nominal cost from a number of vendors. Try doing an Internet search on "keyboard stickers contrast".
System software on both Windows and Mac computers let you set high contrast options so images appear clearer. Macintosh computers include a screen enlargement program as part of their system software as well, called CloseView. On the Windows side, Magnifier does the same, beginning with Windows 98. Both Macintosh and Windows computers allow you to choose the size cursor and pointer you want to use and commercial software such as RJ Cooper’s Biggy (www.rjcooper.com) give even more options.
Some large print word processors are available as well as talking word processors, which will say letters or characters out loud as you type. This is helpful in orienting your hands to a typing position. Some talking word processors include Write:OutLoud (Don Johnston, Inc.) and IntelliTalk (IntelliTools).
Screen magnifiers are pieces of hardware that fit over the monitor and double the size of the image on the screen. Many people have difficulty with the clarity of these.
Screen enlargement programs are programs that magnify everything on the screen. One popular title is ZoomText, for Mac and Windows (www.aisquared.com).
Anti-glare filters reduce glare from overhead lights and large windows. They reduce screen flicker and increase contrast on the monitor. These are available through mainstream computer outlets.
If none of these modifications work for you, the next step might be to look at features that offer auditory output. With auditory output visual information from the computer (such as highlighted icons, alert messages or even typed text are announced verbally. These features include speech output utilities and screen readers.
See the Computers FAQs for more information about access features specific to operating systems.
A commercially available speech output utility is ZoomText Magnifier. It is a screen enlargement program which does include speech output. It is available for Windows.(Ai Squared, www.aisquared.com).
Screen readers read every bit of text that appears on the screen out loud to you including control buttons, menus, punctuation, etc. A common screen reader is JAWS, available for Windows (Freedom Scientific www.freedomscientific.com).
Other ways to access tactile information is by using a refreshable Braille display. Refreshable Braille displays provide tactile output of information on the computer screen. These are mechanical in nature and lift small, rounded plastic or metal pins as needed to form Braille characters.
Refreshable Braille displays contain 20, 40 or 80 braille cells. After the line is read, you "refresh" the display to read the next line. Common vendors include Freedom Scientific, and HumanWare.
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