Part of our work at Shaw Trust Accessibility Services is to test websites and other digital services and help make them more accessible for users with cognitive impairments.

This has given us a great deal of experience in looking at how people with cognitive impairment can get the best from their digital devices. Below are some of the approaches you can use.

Make your smartphone or tablet easier to use

Depending on the kind of smartphone or tablet you have, you can make it easier to use.

For Android 7 Nougat devices, you can adjust the ‘touch and hold’ function. This function relates to apps that need you to press and hold your finger on the screen in order to trigger an action. If you are accidentally triggering actions by pushing for too long, instead of just tapping the screen, you can change the length of time that you need to press your finger on the screen.

For iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, the ‘guided access’ function allows you to concentrate on a single part of an app without being distracted by other processes. It does this by restricting access to areas of the screen that aren’t applicable to the current task.  This is particularly useful if you have attention and sensory challenges. It’s also useful if you have difficulty concentrating and are tempted to explore other areas of the app or device.

Make text larger

You can adjust the settings on your device to make the text larger on the screen. This can make it easier to read.

Magnify the screen

Windows computers, Macs and Linux machines all allow you to magnify your screen. This can make the text and images easier to see and understand.

Change colours

If you struggle with certain colours, you can change your computer’s settings to change the colours that it presents. Many smartphones and tablets also offer a range of colour inversion options, which can make it easier for you to see and keep your focus on the content you’re reading.

Change your font

You can change the font on your laptop or computer in order to make it clearer to see and easier to understand. Adjusting the font settings can be a good way to help keep you focused on the information you want to access.

Talking to your device

Thanks to advances in technology, you don’t have to type in order to communicate with your device. Voice command technology has improved hugely in the past few years and you can now talk to a range of devices in order to make them do things. This includes asking them to provide you with information from the internet.

Use the speech function

Both Windows computers and Macs can be set to speak to you. Activate the speech function in order to hear the information that is presented to you, as well as to see it.

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