Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If Santa Used Assistive Technology What Would it Be? Part One:

We all know that Santa has to make his trip around the world in one night. We also know that he is overweight and wears glasses. With all the great gadgets and supports we see available to those of us with disabilities, obvious or hidden, surely there is something that could assist Santa as he prepares for his biggest night of the year, making it a little easier on him. Sometimes we don't know we need AT until we try it.

Since we sometimes see Santa with glasses and sometimes without, my guess is that he struggles off and on with some visual impairment. I have glasses and I don't like to wear them because they get dirty and I can't see through them and then I have to clean them - except I don't have my cleaning cloth around... so I use some wonderful simple technology to make up for my deficiencies. (This probably sounds like whining and seems pretty trivial to those of you who really have severe visual impairment or are blind. Sorry - I am just thankful to have these tools for my inconvenient vision issues.)

Here are some suggestions Santa might find helpful this year:

Font size in the web browser: I like to read larger print so my eyes don't tire as fast, allowing me to read without my glasses longer (Somehow that doesn't seem too smart). I go up to the view menu in Interenet Explorer and go to "text size". I can choose between 5 sizes - I use the medium setting.

Larger Icons on Desktop:
I like to see nice finger-tip size icons on my desktop, not microscopic icons the size of a paper punch hole. I live with most of my files and works in progress on my desktop. Here's what I would tell Santa to do...

Steps for changing desktop icon size in Windows XP:

1. Right Click Desktop + Choose “Properties”

2. In the Properties Window click on the “Appearance Tab” at the top.

3. In the Appearance Window click on the button called “Advanced”

4. In the Advanced Appearance Window choose “Item:” from the drop down list and choose “Icon” and you can choose desired Icon size. By default many users will see 32 x 32 pixels but this can be changed to whatever you want.

Credit for the task above goes to: http://www.entity.cc/change-icon-size.php

Virtual Manifying Glass:
This free software download can really help with seeing things on the computer close-up. The "glass" has adjustable power and size and slides around the screen with a click and drag motion.
It works great in those elf staff meetings when you have a data projector shining toy production projections for the next quarter and need to zoom in on a piece of data or show a web address.

Get the free download here.

These tools make my life easier on a day to day basis. Maybe they will help you too. We hope Santa will check in as we look at some AT support items for handling those naughty and nice lists with some great computer software tools for text to speech and the data base.

You can purchase the glasses pictured on Santa above for $2.95 from Caufield's Novelty. This serves also as my credit to the picture: http://www.caufields.com/browseproducts/Rectangular-Santa-Glasses.html

Merry Christmas!



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1 comment:

anne marie said...

As usual a very useful post. Thanks!
anne marie