What is an accessibility feature, and how can it help me?
An accessibility feature (also known as Assistive Technology or AT) generally refers to built-in software or a third-party app that can help people with impairments and disabilities use popular consumer devices.
Most popular devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets already have useful accessibility features out-of-the-box as part of what you get with best-selling operating systems like Google Android and Microsoft Windows.
Here are some examples of common accessibility features in popular products:
- Screen reader: A text-to-speech application that reads out computer and Internet-related information to assist people who are blind or vision impaired.
- Screen magnifier: A magnification tool for enlarging screen content.
- Closed captions: enables dialogue and audio effects in a video to be displayed as text on a screen to support people who are Deaf or hearing impaired.
- Themes: High-contrast themes allow people with visual impairments to change the colours to a more comfortable setting (such as white-on-black), and increase the size of mouse pointers and text.
- On-screen keyboard: Enables people with mobility impairments to ‘type’ by using a pointing device to select letters and words on the screen.
- On-screen alerts: Visual messages can appear in place of audible sounds to help people who are Deaf or hearing impaired.
While the quality and type of accessibility features vary between operating systems and devices, most modern consumer computers, smartphones, tablets and media players contain them in some form.