Thursday, August 7, 2008

Microsoft Accessibility Video Spotlights Visual Impairment Support

I have students that need vision support in accessing the computer at school and home. There are some nice features in the Microsoft Accessibility Options within Windows that I use to help them and use for me as well. For example: I have larger icons on my desktop, my Word documents are set at a larger font size and when on the Internet my browser display is set to be larger. These features and more might be an option you want to explore with your students at school or at home. These disabilities effect more of us than you might think.
I get occasional update news from Microsoft concerning their accessibility options in Windows.
They shared:
"Vision difficulties and impairments include low vision, color blindness, and blindness. Among adult computer users in the United States, 1 in 4 (27%) have a vision difficulty (see study). There are many options for individuals with vision difficulties to modify the computer displays and appearance so it is more legible, or receive information through sound or touch."
One of their employees, Karen, is featured in a short video on how she uses the accessibility options to change the background and font colors as well as magnification to help her read easier. There is also a piece on a portable reader she uses.
There is a handy resource guide with information on AT support tools and links to video tutorials on how to use the accessibility options in Windows. I have linked it below.

Microsoft Resource Guide: List of AT tools and tutorial links

To access the options for accessibility in Windows and change the resolution (taken from the MS Accessibility Update newsletter):

In Windows XP, display the Start menu by pressing CTRL+ESC (or the Windows logo key), then select:

Control Panel
In Control Panel, select:

In the Display Properties dialog box, select:

The Settings tab.
On the Settings tab, under Screen Resolution:

Select a screen resolution value by moving the slider arrow. Less (lower) resolution makes items appear larger. More (higher) resolution makes items on screen appear smaller but allows more items to show on screen.
Find more Windows XP tutorials

In Windows Vista:
In Windows Vista, to open the Ease of Access Center, press Windows logo key + U, or select:


Control Panel

Ease of Access

Ease of Access Center
Under Explore all settings, select:
"Make the computer easier to see."

Under See also, select:
"Personalize appearance and sound effects."

In Personalize appearance and sounds, select:
Display settings.

Under Resolution:
Select a resolution between Low (screen elements appear larger) and High (screen elements appear smaller).
Find more Windows Vista tutorials

I hope you will take advantage of the options within Windows that can make visual impairments a little easier to live with when on a computer.

Don't forget gh Accessibility CEO Dave Schleppenbach today on No Limits 2 Learning Live at 12:30 Pacific time.

All the best to you!

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