Tag Archives: vision

Visually Impaired Software is Built Into Mac OS X

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I had a community member call in the other night asking me about accessibility features inside of OS X. He specifically wondered about things that may help those of us who have impaired vision and need some extra help to maneuver around our computers with ease.

There are several options built in to OS X that can help you be able to see and manage your experience if you have problems with your eyesight. I know that as my eyes become even weaker over the years, I’m likely to use some of these features myself. I have the ability to zoom in quite a ways, which will come in handy once I can no longer see small objects and text.

You can choose how it zooms in specifically. You can smooth images as you zoom, and have the cursor stay at the center. There are a lot of small things that make the entire experience even better. You also have the ability to change the contrast. Instead of having black on white… you can use white on black. This helps some people who have troubles seeing different types of backgrounds. You can also revert to greyscale, which can help those who are color blind.

These same types of system preferences are available in the iPad, as well. This caller was from the UK, and was disappointed to learn that he couldn’t order one for himself at the time of this recording. However, he was happy to learn that they were coming in the near future.

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Unlock the iPad Zoom Feature

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Even with the larger screen on the iPad, some people may have trouble reading what’s in front of them. There are a countless number of people who have impaired vision, and Apple kept them in mind. It’s quite easy to zoom in on anything you may be looking at on the device.

All you need to do is double-tap the screen with three fingers… then slide your fingers upwards until the zoom is where you want it to be. To go back to normal size, double-tap with those three fingers again and then slide them down. This works throughout the operating system – no matter what application you may be using.

If you try to zoom in or out with only one or two fingers, nothing happens. You have to use all three fingers. This will keep you from accidentally zooming in and out all of the time. This feature is not enabled by default. Go into your options and choose “Accessibility”. You can toggle it on from there.

Additionally, you can turn on the “White on Black” mode, which changes the way everything looks for those of you who have trouble reading black text on white backgrounds.

These may seem to be small details that you might feel aren’t important. However, they are VERY important to those of us who have bad eyes. The little things like this can help a device stand out about its rivals.

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