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Make Your Computer Easier to Use

In Assistive Technology Articles, Assistive Technology Resources, Featured, News, Ticket to Work Articles by Anna Gouker

Sometimes we forget that technology is meant to work for us…not the other way around.  Remember: our computers can be set up to make it easier for us to use them.

In my own life, I find that the simple adjustment of enlarging the font allows me to do my work faster and with ease.  I’m in the habit of pressing “Ctrl +” to enlarge what I’m viewing.  Changing the brightness level, color contrast, as well as the size of the mouse pointer are just a few of the other modifications that have enriched my personal user experience.  Here are other settings that may be helpful.

Text

Seeing is believing.  Don’t be afraid to play around with the tools at your fingertips to find what works best for you.

  • Change the size of text you are viewing in a browser. For PC users, achieve this by pressing “Ctrl +” and “Ctrl -” on your keyboard (psst, Mac users press “command +” and “command –“).  For more permanent adjustments, go to the settings in your web browser.
  • Modify the settings in your computer to:
    • change the screen’s brightness or contrast
    • alter the size and color of text or mouse pointer
    • enable the screen magnifier
    • activate screen readers that will read out loud the text on websites

Audio

Most of have this sequence down to access sound! Step 1: find the on/off switch on your speakers.  Step 2: enjoy!

However, here are a few other things to look for to help you navigate your audio options: many keyboards have volume buttons on them that will adjust the volume levels. Here are some other options that are available:

  • turn on captioning in the customization options for the media player
  • take advantage of transcriptions that may be available (sometimes located near the audio content)

Keyboard/Mouse

There are many different styles of the modern keyboard and mouse.  Many nifty upgrades are available to meet your needs, so take a look at what’s out there. You might also want to try using these settings in your computer:

  • enable “sticky keys” to decrease the need to hold two keys down at the same time
  • set “key filter” to decrease the sensitivity of your keyboard (this will allow for fewer errors)
  • slow the mouse movement down by adjusting the mouse sensitivity
  • customize your “double-click” to a certain length of time between clicks
  • set your keyboard to navigate websites instead of the mouse

That’s Just the Beginning

The possibilities are almost endless. Don’t forget, technology is always evolving. Who knows what will be available in the next few years!

Other resources:

Better Web Browsing: Tips for Customizing Your Computer
Do you need help making your computer easier to use?
Accessibility on Microsoft Products
Accessibility on the Mac
Accessibility for Windows Media Player Videos: Captions