Making computers easier to see

The computer screen can be made easier to see by make the content larger, enhancing contrast or using a screen magnifier. The information below describes some of the options that may work for you.

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Large computer monitors

Depending on your level of vision, a simple solution to improve your access to your computer is purchasing a larger sized monitor.

A standard computer monitor or screen is 17 inches when measured diagonally. Replacing a 17 inch monitor with a larger one gives a greater screen area for the same image so the image appears larger.

Before purchasing a larger monitor, it is important to check if your existing computer system will support the new monitor.

Screen enhancement using mainstream software

Both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh platforms offer a range of built in screen enhancement features. These features include preset "high contrast" colour schemes, larger standard fonts, and improvements to the visibility of the mouse pointer.

The latest version of Microsoft Windows, Windows 7, also has an inbuilt full screen magnifier that is comparable to many of the purpose built screen magnifier programs available. This feature is available via the Ease of Access Centre.

Previous versions of Windows also have inbuilt screen magnifiers but these only take up half the screen. Apple computers also come with an inbuilt screen magnifier called Zoom.

In some situations however, a purpose built screen magnification software program provides a greater level of customisation for the computer user with low vision.

Screen magnification software

This software increases the size of the image displayed on the screen so that only a portion of the original screen image can be seen at one time.

Normally, the screen magnification will automatically follow the focus of attention, so that the area around the mouse pointer or highlighted item is magnified. Moving the magnified window in order to view other parts of the original screen image is done using the mouse or keyboard.

Some common features of screen magnification software include:

  • continuously magnifying an area of the screen,
  • smoothing jagged edges of characters at larger magnifications,
  • altering the colours on the screen to suit viewer preferences,
  • changing the size and colour of the mouse pointer,
  • changing the shape of the characters on the screen.

Most screen magnification software can work in conjunction with screen readers. A few on the market even have a basic or fully functional screen reader built-in to them.

Demonstration versions of screen magnifiers or information concerning other magnification options can be downloaded from the Internet.

Large print keyboards

There is a lot of choice available in computer keyboards these days. While we strongly recommend learning to touch type, sometimes people do like to glance at their keyboards when typing at their computers.

Large print keyboards feature large letters, numbers and other characters. They are available with white letters on black keys, black letters on white keys or black letters on yellow keys for enhanced contrast. A lower cost alternative to these keyboards is stickers with enlarged characters that can be stuck to your traditional keyboard. These can be handy for laptops or notebooks.

Some large print keyboards are available that support screen magnification software. Apart from featuring large letters on the keys they also have buttons that directly control the settings of the screen magnifier. For example, buttons for zooming in and out, changing colour contrast and more.

Visit our online shop to browse the large print keyboards available from Equipment Solutions.



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