In order to complete my assignments, I spend half my time on my Lenovo computer at work and the other half on my Lenovo laptop using Windows 10 operating system. I did not realize that Windows had included some assistive technologies to help people with different disabilities including vision, hearing, physical, and cognitive. For this week’s blog, I will review the accessibility features that Windows 10 has and describe how individuals with specific disabilities would use those features.
One of the features Windows offers is a narrator, or screen reader. It will read text and buttons that is displayed on the computer. The user can change many of the features to fit their preferences. For example, the user can change how fast or slow the speech is, the speaker’s voice, and the volume. Narrator can used with students that have a disability that involves their vision, students with a cognitive disability, and at-risk students that struggle with reading. The narrator will read each character that is typed or text on a webpage, making it easier for students to be successful using the computer and the internet.
The magnifier will allow users to magnify the whole screen or partial screen. It has different options including full screen, lens (partial screen), and docked (where it is partial but user can place it where he or she can see it better). The user can also choose to magnify it to their preference. It starts on 200% and increases by 100 after that, but it does reduce the viewing area for the user as it is increased. The magnifier can be used by students that has a partial vision loss. It will magnify the text and images to allow them to see the information easier. Another feature that magnifier has is an option to invert the colors. This could be used by students that are color blind, so that they are able to see the text and images.
High contrast is another feature that could be used by students that have a vision impairment or color blind. It allows the user to view text, webpages, and images using a color they can see. There are four themes to choose from in the drop down menu. The students can choose whichever theme works for them so they can use the computer more efficient for their needs.
“Closed captions let you read the words that are spoken in movies or television shows. With Windows, you can customize things like color, size, and background transparency to suit your needs and tastes” (Microsoft, 2018). It can only be used with Windows apps, like XBox Videos app.
Keyboard and Mouse
The keyboard feature allows the user to turn on an on-screen keyboard. The user then uses the mouse to interact with the keyboard. As the users are typing, the keyboard has word prediction so they can choose the word rather than typing out the entire word. Using the word prediction can help students that struggle with spelling, such as at-risk students or students with learning disabilities. As for the keyboard, students that have a mild form of a cognitive disability could use a large trackball mouse and the on-screen keyboard to answer questions for an assignment, especially if using a pencil is difficult for them.
The mouse feature allows the user to change the size and the color of the pointer. This would help students that have some vision impairment see the pointer easier. It could also help students with cognitive disabilities see it easier if the pointer was large and black. I changed it on my screen and it has made it easier for me to see, and I do not have a vision impairment.
Another feature includes speech recognition which can “dictate documents and email or surf the web just by saying what you see” (Microsoft, 2018). It requires students to complete a training to learn how to use it. This feature can be used by students that have physical disabilities and cognitive disabilities.
Microsoft has made it easier for students and adults that have disabilities use certain features with ease. This gives them the independence they need to complete assignments and enjoy the computer for entertainment purposes too.
Microsoft. (2018). Windows accessibility. Retrieved on April 18, 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/windows.
Purewal, S. (2016). Windows 10 settings menu: The ease of access tab. Retrieved from: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/windows-10-settings-menu-the-ease-of-access-tab/.