Software For The Visually Impaired

Written by Kimberly Clark
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When discussing the topic of software for the visually impaired, you first have to define the impairment. Basically, the available products can be divided into two categories. There is software designed for those that are partially sighted and then there are products for those who are unable to see at all.

Partially Sighted

A person who is partially sighted or has low vision is one whose corrected vision, in either eye, is no better than 20/70. Typically, they are unable to read standard sized text, such as found in a newspaper or magazine, even with the aid of corrected lenses. However, they can use extra large print or magnification devices to enhance their ability to see.

The software designed for partially sighted people, are generally referred to as screen enlargers. Most products use technology to magnify the images, such as text or graphics, displayed on the screen. In some instances, the appearance of the objects can be increased up to 20 times of their normal size.

Totally Sightless

A person who cannot see anything more than the perception of light is considered to be totally blind. In addition, an individual is usually considered to be legally blind if their corrected vision is no better than 20/200. Most people with this condition must use a tactile writing system, such as Braille or Moon type to read.

There are several cutting-edge software products geared toward encouraging more sightless people to use computers. These products are commonly called screen readers, which uses adaptive speech technology to relay information from the Internet and other software applications. In addition to screen readers, there are voice recognition products that allow the user to transfer information back to the computer.


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