Whether you're just thinking of getting a computer, or if you've been using one for years and years, you may not be clear of all the options that are available, or know everything you need to about how to use a computer as a blind or partially sighted person.
That's where we can help - read on to enhance your knowledge!
If you are new to computers, our beginner's guide to computers, laptops and tablets offers a great starting point for choosing the right computer for your needs.
To sum up, there are four general types of computer:
If you already have a computer, we have lots of information about how you can make your computer accessible.
First, check out the built in accessibility options on your computer. You can use these to change the size and colour of things on the screen to make them easier to see, or perhaps even speak them so that you don't have to use the screen. These options come with the computer and are therefore free. All you need to do is find them and turn them on!
Second, if the options within the computer aren't enough, you can download free "assistive technology" software that can magnify or speak the screen contents. It will be limited, but it may be enough to allow you to write documents, send and receive emails and surf the web. We've gathered some information on the more popular free assistive technology applications to help you decide if one of them may be what you need.
Third, if none of the free stuff works, there are a number of products you can buy. Such commercial software usually has more features and better support than the free varieties. Commercial hardware includes high visibility keyboards, large monitors, and braille displays which can replace a monitor. For people in work or study, funding may be available for pay for this kind of equipment.
Getting a computer set up and working as you want can be tricky, especially if you're new to computers yourself. The Technical Support Squad can help you here, and you can contact them through the Helpline on 0303 123 9999.
RNIB Webwatchers are a group of blind and partially sighted people who use the internet on various devices. They provide useful feedback on websites and apps and help us keep tabs on what online services people use and like.
To speak to one of our Technology for Life coordinators contact 0303 123 9999; or to make a referral request for Technology Support - please contact our technology mailbox [email protected] or complete the enquiry form on the following page.