Disability Accessibility

The computer I use for my master’s program is a laptop with Windows 7.  I looked into the many different features Windows 7 offers for accessibility and was surprised at how much it offered.  At the same time, I assumed we were further in technology and thought it would have better quality, especially on the voiceover feature.
Windows 7 has an ease of accessibility center to locate all the different settings allowed for this operating system.  Within the center is a magnifier.  This program allows the user to magnify the screen as large as needed to make visibility easier.  The laptop I use also has a similar feature in the mouse.  I use this often to make the words on the screen the size I desire.  The magnifier was more difficult to use.  However, I think it would get easier the more it is used. The magnifier would be helpful for students/users who have a hard time seeing.  Making what is displayed on the screen larger would be helpful for using technology.
An on-screen keyboard is also available.  This makes it possible to use a keyboard without using the keyboard.  Either through touch screen, or the mouse, the user has access to a keyboard on the screen.  I can see this feature being very helpful to students who have a disconnection from looking at the board and copying onto paper.  I have a student similar to this.   who has aspergers.  He cannot copy the board without getting confused.     It makes  sense when watching what is on the board, but moving his head from looking at the board and lowering it to his paper the connection gets lost.  Having a keyboard on the screen would help with this disconnection.
Another feature that was interesting to me was the Narrator program.  This program speaks the words on the screen.  I could never figure out how to get the narrator to speak beyond the box of questions.  There are no options for different sounding narrators, just options on speed, pitch, and volume.  It sounded to me like a phone narrator from the bank.  The bank narrator sounds better!  I had higher hopes for this program and if it was one that was needed on a regular basis, buying or finding a different program would be beneficial.  Very disappointed in this quality.

2012. Accessibility in Windows 7. Retrieved from http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/windows7/default.aspx

One thought on “Disability Accessibility

  1. Hi Jaime,
    Unfortunately, I really didn’t expect too much from the quality of the accessible features that come with our operating systems. I am just glad that they are available. I also didn’t expect much because I know there are other software programs out there that offer better products. They do cost money though. In terms of the magnifier, I do rely on enlarging the text on screen quite a bit for my aging eyes and I have found that changing the size of the view options for the Microsoft products and internet sites helps me just as much. I appreciate hearing the real life story of your student with aspergers. Personal experiences help make these conversations relevant and relatable. Thank you for sharing, Chris

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