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Accessibility for Apple Computers

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Apple computer company, producer of technology such as the ipod, macbook, and most recently iphone, has a long-established goal to create products that have "Universal Access" so as to be accessible for all users, regardless of disability status. The designers of Macintosh computer systems, and other Apple products, strive to construct new interfaces that allow for more efficient interactions between individuals and technology. A number of examples of this new technology may be found on the Apple website.

Contents

Low Vision

Zoom

"Zoom view" allows for magnification of all items visible on the screen. It does not change the font size, thus eliminating the need to reduce font before printing/transferring files; instead, it serves as an internal magnification system. It magnifies text, graphics, and video up to 40x without reducing the quality of the display. In addition, the user can set his/her zoom preferences allowing for portions of the screen to be magnified differently than others for ease of use.

Scalable Curser

Macintosh computers allow for a scalable curser, a magnification tool that enlarges the curser to the users desired size, regardless of the shape of the curser (arrow, I-beam, etc.). In addition, the user's preference is saved until changed again. The curser will not revert to default if the user logsout, or if the computer is idle or shut down. The scalable curser may be utilized with or without other magnification tools.

Display Adjustment

Users of apple computers may change the contrast level of the computer screen to pure black and white or using a sliding scale of contrast to best meet their needs. In addition, the Macintosh screen may be set to grayscale, removing all color, but providing shading for needed contrast.

Voice Over

Apple computers provide a voice over system, which provides audible cues and computerized speech to assist users with low vision in accessing their computer as successfully as possible.


Hearing

Visual Alert

Macintosh computers provide visual alerts to notify users of a change in the opperating system and/or in the applications. The entire screen will flash to direct the user to the notification requiring his/her attention.

iChatAV

iChatAV is a combination between iChat and iSight. This program offers Macintosh users who communicate through sign language, to correspond via the internet. The technology is advanced enough to provide clear pictures and fully capture emotional expression from the face as well as specific finger and hand movements.


Physical/Motor

Keyboard

Sticky Keys: This feature promotes the building of "key chords" (ie: ctl/alt/delete) sequentially instead of instantaneously. The user may press one key at a time, and the keyboard/computer will remember the previous key until a command is completed.

Slow Keys: This feature prevents mis-typing through a delay between when a key is pressed and when it appears on the screen. If a user unintentionally strikes a key more than once, the computer will only recognize the first strike unless the second occurs after the delay. In addition, it allows for an extended period of time for navigation.

Keyboard Settings: A user may modify the keyboard settings to best meet his/her needs. This includes modifying the key repeat and/or delay rate. In addition, this may be used with Slow Keys.

Keyboard Navigation: This feature allows for navigation through the operating system utilizing keyboard shortcuts created by the user. This may eliminate the need for a mouse. In addition, the numeric keypad may be utilized instead of an external mouse to move between applications as well as to direct the curser around the screen.

Speech Recognition & Talking Alerts

Speakable Items: This feature allows a user to control applications on the computer using his/her voice. Unlike other software, macintosh computers do not require "training" before utilizing this feature. In addition, talking alerts identifies any new application and/or command through an audible signal to provide clarification to the user.

TextEdit: A user may speak an entire document and the computer will respond by displaying the words on the screen. This can be customized through the System Preferences settings, allowing the user to tailor the system to best meet his/her needs. Spelling check and word completion are also available through this feature.


References

More information about each of these adaptations may be found through the Apple website