Lili Dewrance writes about how businesses can introduce tools to help make the workplace more accessible to people with disabilities:
Accessibility testing looks at the usability of software and/or document accessibility for people with visual and/or cognitive impairments, hearing disabilities, and learning disabilities. Typically, guidelines indicate how these individuals navigate, understand, and interact with the web and other systems. Read further for a list of assistive technology devices people with hearing or vision problems can use.
Digital Tools for Everyday Tasks
Digital tools make your work and everyday tasks easier and quicker. These tools can be software, an application, or even a simple document that entertains, achieves a goal, or improve workflow.
The most common digital tools include:
- Email – You can use email for communicating with friends or family members, applying for jobs, requesting important information, or receiving updates. People with visual or cognitive problems may need help reading or responding to emails.
- Google – Everyone who goes online almost always uses Google to buy products or search for information. If you have limited vision, you’ll need a special keyboard for typing keywords and another assistive technology device to help you read the results.
- Entertainment Tools – It may be to open Netflix to watch movies or Spotify to listen to music. Some people may also use social media to watch funny videos. If you’re hearing impaired, you’ll need an accessibility tool to help you hear better.
- Productivity Apps – This can be a Google Calendar to help you better manage time or other apps to help you accomplish tasks efficiently. People with vision problems may need assistance in using or managing these apps.
How Can People With Disabilities Take Advantage of Essential Digital Tools?
Assistive technology is a device or tool used by people with disabilities to help them communicate and function better. While they are very pragmatic, it also helps to use programs or documents that don’t need assistive technology, such as Adobe Acrobat. If needed, the Acrobat reader is compatible with assistive technology devices and software such as screen magnifiers, readers, and Braille embossers. If you are hearing or vision impaired, check the accessibility tools below:
If you have limited vision, a screen reader can help you navigate web pages, open or close files, and even listen to music. You can use a screen reader with your Linux, Mac, or Windows operating system. This assistive technology uses a text-to-speech engine when translating the text into speech and in Braille. But don’t expect the screen reader to read everything it sees on the screen — a good screen reader application lets you control what to read such as reading only one-liners or those in bold letters.
Do you have limited vision and need help reading text on a computer screen? You can use a screen magnifier to read text more easily by simply enlarging it. Like a magnifying glass, you can use the cursor to magnify any area on the screen to let you see graphics or read texts clearly. Some screen magnifiers can also magnify everything on the screen, including the buttons or icons. While they’re useful for those visually impaired, some people prefer to use a bigger monitor and adjust the resolution to enlarge the graphics and text.
Refreshable Braille Displays
If you use Braille, the refreshable display helps you efficiently access information online. This braille device is hardware that contains refreshable braille cells, allowing you to read information. You’ll need to have a screen reader to use the refreshable braille displays —the reader translates it into Braille and then displays the braille cells for easy reading.
You can also save money by getting a screen reader that comes with a refreshable braille display. Braille book versions can be expensive. You can save time and money by reading them electronically using this device.
Are you aware that head movements can be translated into clicks or commands? A hands-free mouse is a device for navigating a website or document without using your hands. With FaceMouse, just move your head to navigate the page. Lomak is another device that also serves as a mouse and keyboard and includes a voice feature. For people with extreme physical disabilities, the Eye Gaze Edge System can help. A video camera is installed on the screen and it looks at your eyes to check which part of the screen it’s looking at.
If you can’t type, use dictation software like Dragon to convert your spoken words to text. Compared to typing on the screen, this software is faster and a lot more convenient. Some programs even include features such as advanced speech and dictation in foreign languages. You can also use dictation software using your mobile phone.
Which Accessibility Tool is Right For You?
Choosing the right assistive technology device can be difficult. Whether you’re buying it for yourself or for a loved one, make sure it meets your needs. Use Adobe Acrobat too, if you want to save money or explore other accessibility tools offered by Adobe.