A Personal Perspective by Carrie Anton, Assistive Technologist & National Honorary Chairperson of CNIB
There are many functions built into Windows that
can improve the visibility, use and effective reading on a computer. Most of us
want to be effective and get things done as quickly as possible with the least
of frustration possible. I hope that this article will help you through my
experience and tips to embrace the technology that you have in your hands to
aid in happily completing computer tasks. This is not an exhaustive list but
are things that can be very helpful.
Microsoft’s Windows has an Ease of Access Center
in the Control Panel. In my professional opinion as an Assistive Technologist
and partially sighted user, it has improved to a point of being reliable and
functional as far as assistive technology being built into an operating system
goes. And to you and me that means good and free solutions for the partially
This article started out as a learning experience
for myself as I received a new laptop at work that had Windows 10 on it. There
seemed to be appetite for a resource to help people learn the features built
into Microsoft Windows. This can help people who experience vision loss without
investing in expensive magnification software products. So I brought the topic
in the form of a face to face presentation to the GTT Edmonton (Getting
together to Talk Technology) user group meeting and then an encore presentation
was requested at the GTT National teleconference meeting. I think most attendees took away at least one
new nugget of information.
I’ve been working in assistive technology for
close to 30 years and have worked with many products for users with vision impairment
and other disabilities. I’ve seen many developer’s products, call them the
good, bad and the ugly, but all made with good intentions. My goal as an Assistive
Technologist is to find technological solutions to daily needs without wasting someone’s
time or money. I try to be the most resourceful I can and stay up to date. Even
this article is probably half a year too late to help many.
This guide with resources is an important starting
point to creating a usable experience in Windows 10 for someone with partial
sight, without getting too technical. In most cases people with low vision a)
want to use the vision they have, b) use the mouse and a few keyboard shortcuts,
and c) have horrible headaches and neck pain from squinting and poor posture leaning
so close to the monitor. We also have well-meaning friends and family who have
computers who want to help but often times miss the issues we are going through
with our vision differences.
I hope there are resources in this guide that propel
you further to find out more about the feature you find useful. The commands
provided are for Windows 10. The resource links provided take you to the
Microsoft webpages where you can choose the version of Windows you are using
and find its commands. There are slight differences in some commands between Windows
7 & 8 to Windows 10.
The obvious difference between Windows 8 and
Windows 10 is that we now have the desktop view and start menu back. These were
consistent landmarks since Windows XP, and those of us who are not real
functional at doing puzzles or playing with random Mah-jongg tiles to find our
icons, are once again happy with the familiar consistent layout and navigation
from Windows products past.
If you have Windows 7 or 8, please do not update yourself
to Windows 10 even though it says it’s for free. Please get a professional to
do it. There have been glitches. Ensure you back up all your data like
pictures, videos, and documents and find your important software serial numbers
in case something goes wrong.
read the full article Windows 10: Ease of Access Features for Someone with Partial Sight