Everyday technology

For advice or support in any of the technologies discussed below, please book some time with one of our Access Technology Team, or contact the AT Helpdesk on 1300 84 74 66.

On this page:

Phones

If you are looking for easy-to-see landline phone or an accessible mobile phone with multiple functions (e.g text messaging and email and internet services) then Vision Australia can help.

Visit our online shop to view and purchase a large range of phones and remember to consider the following when selecting your device:

  • Buttons that make a noise when pressed, have large icons or number dial pads, are well-spaced, raised or light up and have good contrast and clear print
  • A screen that allows you to adjust the brightness and contrast
  • Speed dials where commonly used telephone numbers can be programmed so that dialing takes place with one or two button presses
  • Voice dialing where the phone recognises the person's name when you say it and automatically rings the contact
  • A phone that speaks back to you
  • Ease of answering and hanging up
  • Speech technology that allows speech access to a variety of apps and settings

Computers

Getting online today to find information, online shop, chat or catch up with the latest news is easy with accessible technology. The options below describe some technology that may work for you:

  • Screen magnification software (increases the size of the image displayed on the screen, e.g. Zoomtext)
  • Screen enhancement using mainstream software (both Microsoft Windows (via the Ease of Access Centre) and Apple Macintosh platforms offer a range of built in screen enhancement features, e.g. preset "high contrast" colour schemes, larger standard fonts, and improvements to the visibility of the mouse pointer)
  • Screen readers (read out loud the content that is on the computer screen , e.g. JAWs or Apple’s VoiceOver)
  • Large computer monitor
  • Large print keyboard

Magnifiers

Electronic or video magnifiers are versatile tools to access print information for people with low vision. Electronic magnifiers are available in three general formats:

  • Portable options with screen sizes ranging from 3” to 7”
  • Portable desktop video magnifiers that have both document and distance functions
  • Desktop video magnifiers

Note: Some of these devices read out the text as well as display it visually.
Optical magnifiers are also available in a range of strengths and sizes.  Vision Australia has low vision services that can explore options available that will help you achieve your goals.

Visit our online shop to view and purchase a large range of magnifiers.

Braille

Technology is available to enable access to a computer via braille or to produce braille. The three main categories of braille technology described here are:

  • Braille embossers (a Braille printer that uses thicker paper than a normal printer, and renders text as tactile Braille cells onto the paper)
  • Braille notetakers (are to Braille readers as the pen and pad are to sighted users)
  • Refreshable braille display (work in conjunction with a screen reader, to provide a Braille version of the information being read out).

Visit our online shop to view and purchase a large range of braille technology.

Reading

More and more electronic ways of reading books are available that bring the joy of reading to all of us no matter what our level of vision. DAISY is the name of an audio book format that enhances the way you can navigate within the book. For example, you can place bookmarks, go to particular pages or chapters or sections. Visit our Vision Australia Library to find out more.

Some new commercial eBook readers are also becoming more user friendly for people who are blind or have low vision, e.g. Amazon Kindle.

Equipment that reads printed documents

There is a range of equipment available that will quickly convert a printed document and read it to you.  The process is called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and involves taking a photo of the document and then converting the text into speech.

OCR is available either as:

  • Software on computers (using a scanner to capture the image)
  • Apps on Smart phones
  • Dedicated portable readers

GPS

GPS stands for Global Positioning System and is a satellite-based navigation system that can be used when you are out and about. In addition to your cane or Seeing Eye dog, a talking GPS can assist you to work out where you are, where you want to go and how to get there. Contact Vision Australia to find out more.

Contact us

Contact us early and get the support you need. For more information on Vision Australia’s technology services call our helpline on 1300 84 74 66 or email info@visionaustralia.orgNote: Services can vary across states because of regional and funding differences.

Contact the AT Helpdesk

Phone: 1300 84 74 66
Email: athelp@visionaustralia.org


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