Whether you’re at home, in education or in work, Shaw Trust Accessibility Services aims to provide resources to enable you to get the most out of digital technology.

We test digital services for accessibility and train companies on how to make their web platforms more accessible for people with disability; including blind or visually impaired users. This has given us extensive experience in using digital services and in overcoming the issues that blind or visually impaired users can face.

Did you know?

1.87 million people in the UK have sight loss that has a significant impact on their daily lives, according to the RNIB Sight Loss UK 2013 Report. The RNIB also reports that 224,000 people in the UK are living with severe sight loss or blindness. Both of these figures represent an increase over the previous year’s figures.

As technology advances, it offers more options to users who are blind or visually impaired.

Here we share eight tips to ensure you get the most out of the technology you use

Use the speech function

Many computers and laptops now come with a built-in speech function. Turning this on means that the information on your screen is presented in an audible format as well as a visual one.

Magnify your screen

Whether you’re a Windows, Mac or Linux user, you have the option to magnify your screen to make content larger. The procedures for doing this will depend on your particular system set up.

Change your fonts

Some fonts are easier to read than others. Verdana, Lucida Sans (PC), Lucida Grande (Mac), Tahoma and Georgia are all clear fonts, which are easy to read. You can change the fonts on your computer and in your web browser to ensure that the information you read is presented as clearly as possible.

Change your colours

Using different colours and contrasts can make a big difference to how easy information is to read. PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones offer various options for enhanced visibility, allowing you to experiment with colour inversion options that have been designed to maximise accessibility.

Make your text larger

You don’t have to view the text on your screen using the default size in which it has been presented. Your options will vary based on the device and operating system that you use, but there are various ways that you can make text larger in order to make it easier to read.

Improve your keyboard

There are various ways in which you can make the letters, numbers and symbols on your keyboard easier to see. Keyboard overlays and stickers can be applied to most standard sized keyboards. These are available in a range of colour combinations and contrasts. Keyboards specifically designed for users with blindness or visual impairment are also available.

Improve your mouse

You can make your mouse pointer larger and thus more clearly visible on your screen by changing its settings. Slowing down your mouse speed can also help.

For further information and advice on making the most of your digital devices, please contact Shaw Trust Accessibility Services.