Saturday, 18 October 2014

Mac Accessibility options for Low Vision

Mac Accessibility options for Low Vision

Apple Macintosh Computers feature a superior bundle of inbuilt accessibility options which mean that unlike Windows systems, Blind and Low Vision Mac users can use their computer out of the box and comfortably achieve most tasks. 


Mac Accessibility Options

All accessibility options can be found one place on a Mac, to get to the accessibility options follow these three steps;
  1. click apple and click systempreferences
  2. click the icon called 'universal access'
  3. In universal access there are four tabs. Typically vision studentsbenefit from options in the tabs marked 'seeing' as well as 'mouse and trackpad'

Mac Accessibility Options

In the 'seeing' menu you can turn onVoiceOver which will start the VoiceOvertutorial, this Is great for students who are unable to use their sight to access the screen. run through the tutorial once if you are unfamiliar with it, it will take 15 minutes and will serve to give you the bare basics of use. 

Voiceover is also Braille Display compatible
For an indepth look at VoiceOver click thislink

if you have a low vision student who benefits from magnification turn 'zoom' on, the default shortcuts for turning 'zoom' on is alt command 8,  when 'zoom' is on the two most important commands are alt command equals for increasing magnification and alt command minus for decreasing magnification.

please note you cannot have both Zoomand VoiceOver working at the same time, students who benefit from both voice and zoom will have to alternate between the two modes using the shortcuts command function f5 for VoiceOver and alt command 8 for Zoom. 

Zoom options

your low vision student may also benefit from some of the options in the 'Zoom' menu.

When you click 'options' your student may benefit from showing the preview rectangle when they zoom out to help them track where they are.

Smooth images should always be checked to make the letters sharp as possible when zoomed.

'zoom follows the keyboard focus'
 will also be useful to our students who want the magnifier to follow their typing. 

The 'display' menu primarily includes options that will assist with color blindness and glare issues such as those associated with ocular albinism, if your student is affected by these conditions try the white on black setting or grayscale(monochrome) to see if they are of any benefit- most students with these conditions will still prefer the default look without these adjustments. 

YouTube Video

Mouse and Trackpad
All vision impaired students who use a mouse are likely to benefit from cursor size adjustment.

In the menu 'mouse and trackpad' adjust the option 'cursor size' to as large as the student benefits. If your student is new at using the mouse or has fine motor difficulties you may want to decrease the maximum speed of the mouse. 

YouTube Video

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