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Computer Accessibility


Also see Assistive Technology, Accessibility Basics, Accessible Software, Accessible Web Design
For information about Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII), see Accessibility of Information & Technology in Accessibility Basics

General Resources
Writing Tools (Spelling Checker, Word Prediction, Speech Recognition)
Screen Magnification and Reading Tools
Text-To-Speech
Adaptive Cursors, Virtual Mouses, etc
Adaptive Keyboarding

GENERAL RESOURCES


Microsoft Accessibility Page
http://microsoft.com/enable/

Apple Easy Access
http://www.apple.com/education/k12/disability/

Accessibility Options in Windows 7 and Office 2010 Make It Easier for Everyone to See, Hear and Use Computers
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2010/oct10/10-21accessibility.mspx

Guide for Aging Computer Users: Discover How to Make the Computer Easier to See, Hear, and Use
http://www.microsoft.com/enable/aging/default.aspx

Apple's Disability Resources
http://www.apple.com/disability/
Apple Computer's disability connection computer access - MAC's - listing of technology supports...adaptive technology

IBM's Special Needs Systems
http://www.austin.ibm.com/sns/index.html
Computer Access - PC's - listing of technology supports...adaptive technology

Accessibar (Firefox Add-On)
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4242

TRACE Center
www.trace.wisc.edu
This group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the original sources on information about computer accessibility.

Ability Net
http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/content/home.htm

- Fact Sheets http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/content/factsheets/Factsheets-list.htm (in PDF format) about a wide range of topics, many related to technology.

- Skill Sheets http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/content/factsheets/Skillsheets.htm show how to make changes to your Windows computer.

- My Computer My Way http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/myway/ discusses ways to customize your computer by looking at the “many ways you can make your keyboard and mouse, Windows, the internet and your favourite applications suit you and your needs...”

Synapse Adaptive
http://www.synapseadaptive.com/
They offer commercial products, but also give good information and demos of resources for individuals with disabilities.

Intellitools
www.intellitools.com
“IntelliTools provides technology to help struggling students learn to their fullest potential: serving students in PreK-8 who use assistive technology, have IEPs, have limited English proficiency, or need additional instructional support for any reason.”

AbleLink Technologies
http://www.ablelinktech.com/

Desktop products
http://www.ablelinktech.com/_desktop/

E-bility
http://www.e-bility.com/links/software.php
This site offers links to products and gives a brief description of each one.

SOLO (commercial)
http://www.donjohnston.com/products/solo/
This is a "literacy suite of the most popular assistive technology accommodations, including a text reader, graphic organizer, talking word processor, and word prediction." (Co-Writer, Read Outloud, Write Outloud, Draft Builder)

Understanding Accessible Technology
http://www.microsoft.com/enable/business/at.aspx
“Accessible technology is computer technology which enables individuals to adjust a computer to meet their visual, hearing, dexterity, cognitive, and speech needs.”

Developing an Accessible Technology Plan
http://www.microsoft.com/enable/business/plan.aspx

Articles - Introduction to Web Accessibility
http://www.webaim.org/articles/

Accessible Technology: A Guide for Educators
http://www.microsoft.com/enable/education/default.aspx

(Accessibility) Resource Guide for Individuals with Learning Difficulties and Impairments
http://www.microsoft.com/enable/guides/learning.aspx

Web Accessibility for All
http://www.cew.wisc.edu/accessibility/default.asp
This is from the Center on Education and Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

(Accessibility) Guides by Impairment
http://www.microsoft.com/enable/guides/default.aspx

A Review of Free, Online Accessibility Tools
http://www.webaim.org/articles/freetools/

Guide for Aging Computer Users
http://www.microsoft.com/enable/aging/default.aspx
“Discover How to Make the Computer Easier to See, Hear, and Use”

Aging Workforce and Accessible Technology—Introduction
http://www.microsoft.com/enable/aging/workforce.aspx


LexDis
http://www.lexdis.org.uk/
This is for people "who are using or developing on-line learning materials. All the strategies have been provided by students who have first hand experience of e-learning. We have pulled together handy hints and tips on technologies you can use to make e-learning easier. Any technology that achieves this has been called an Assistive Technology."

ECS Accessibility Projects
http://access.ecs.soton.ac.uk
This group is developing and distributing free tools for accessibility – for the developer and for the end user.


WRITING TOOLS (SPELLING CHECKER, WORD PREDICTION, SPEECH RECOGNITION)


- Spelling Checker

Orangoo
Spell Check Your Text or Website Right Now!
http://orangoo.com/spell/
This is a free online spell checker where you can paste text into a box or you can type in a URL to check the spelling on a web site. The results will be e-mailed to you.

tinySpell
http://www.tinyspell.m6.net/
“It is a small utility that allows you to easily and quickly check and correct the spelling in any Windows application.[It will] alert you whenever it detects a misspelled word. It can also check the spelling of text that you copy to the clipboard. tinySpell installs itself in the system tray for easy access.”

gSpell (Mac only)
http://nspindel.com/gspell/
This tool “provides spelling suggestions from Google.” You need to be online to use it.

Phrase Express
http://www.phraseexpress.com/
“No more typing common phrases again!” It can “organize frequently used text snippets, expand abbreviations as you type, auto-complete repetitive phrases, … correct spelling mistakes in any application.”


- Word Prediction

What is Word Prediction?
http://www2.edc.org/ncip/LIBRARY/wp/What_is.htm

Word Prediction
http://atto.buffalo.edu/registered/ATBasics/Curriculum/Writing/wordPrediction.php

Motivating a Reluctant Writer [word prediction]
http://www2.edc.org/ncip/LIBRARY/wp/motiv.htm

Word Prediction – What’s Good Enough
http://www.donjohnston.com/products/cowriter/word_prediction.html

Phrase Express
http://www.phraseexpress.com/
“No more typing common phrases again!” It can “organize frequently used text snippets, expand abbreviations as you type, auto-complete repetitive phrases, … correct spelling mistakes in any application.”

(article) Word Prediction by SNOW Special Needs Ontario Window
http://snow.utoronto.ca/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=213&Itemid=103

(article) Best Word Prediction Software for Children with Special Needs
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/254974/best_word_prediction_software_for_children.html?cat=15

Co:Writer [commercial product]
http://www.donjohnston.com/products/cowriter/
They say this is the “industry standard for word prediction” – and it probably is. It was one of the originals.

SoothSayer [commercial word prediction program]
http://www.ahf-net.com/sooth.htm

- Speech Recognition

Windows Speech Recognition in Windows Vista
http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/windowsvista/speech.aspx

Speech Recognition
http://cslu.cse.ogi.edu/HLTsurvey/ch1node4.html
This is part of a paper about Spoken Language Input.

How Speech Recognition Works
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/speech-recognition.htm

How it Works: Speech Recognition
http://www.pcworld.com/article/16276/how_it_works_speech_recognition.html

Speech Interfaces for Games: Part 1: How Speech Recognition Works
http://www.gignews.com/fdlspeech1.htm

History of Speech Recognition and Transcription Software
http://www.dragon-medical-transcription.com/historyspeechrecognition.html

Dragon NaturallySpeaking: Helping All Students Reach Their Full Potential] (PDF)
http://www.nuance.com/naturallyspeaking/pdf/wp_DNS10_Education_FINAL.pdf
“A White Paper for the Education Industry from Nuance Communications”

(video) An interview with Don Oliver, a user of Dragon Naturally Speaking
http://www.nuance.com/naturallyspeaking/flash/DonOliver-FLV8-5/DonOliver-FLV8-5.htm


SCREEN MAGNIFICATION AND READING TOOLS


Freedom Scientific
www.freedomscientific.com
This company’s mission is to “To develop, manufacture, and market technology-based products that provide equal access to information and computing for those with vision impairments or learning disabilities.” They are one of the early players in the field.

Three of their products are available in the Training Center at the College of Education at USC:

- JAWS (commercial product)
http://www.freedomscientific.com/products/fs/jaws-product-page.asp

- MAGic Screen Magnification Software (commercial product)
http://www.freedomscientific.com/products/lv/magic-bl-product-page.asp

- Open Book Scanning and Reading Software (commercial product)
http://www.freedomscientific.com/products/fs/openbook-product-page.asp

TEXT-TO-SPEECH


Read Please
http://www.readplease.com
There is a free version (look carefully on site for link) or a relatively inexpensive version with more advanced features. Note that it is NOT currently compatible with Vista OS.

vozMe
http://vozme.com/index.php?lang=en

vozMe - Add text-to-speech to your browser
http://vozme.com/bookmarklet.php?lang=en
“vozMe lets you add a speech synthesis bookmarlet to your browser” You can install either the male or female voice.

SpeakText
http://www.speaktext.com/
“Text to speech, read aloud file list, let your computer talking to you. Batch convert texts to MP3, listen to stories anywhere.” Works with Vista OS.

Spoken Text
http://spokentext.net/
“online text to audio converter” The free version is quite limited, but they have different levels of accounts and prices.

Natural Reader
http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.htm
They have a free version with major limitations, such as not being able to save the file to MP3, Wav or OGG files.

Voki
http://www.voki.com/
“Voki is a free service that allows you to create personalized speaking avatars and use them on your blog, profile, and in email messages.”

WordTalk
http://www.wordtalk.org.uk/Home/
WordTalk is a free text-to-speech plugin for Microsoft Word that stays in the toolbar. It speaks the text of the document and highlights the text as it reads. You can adjust the color of the highlight, change the speech voice and speed, and save the speech as a .wav or .mp3 file.


Read the Words
http://readthewords.com/
COOL! This is a free online text-to-speech service where you upload or enter text, choose a ‘person’ to read your text, and then listen!


ADAPTIVE CURSORS, VIRTUAL MOUSES, ETC


Big Cursors
http://rbx.de/big-cursors/
“Download large, thick, black versions of Windows pointers and timers.” It is unclear if they would work on more recent versions of Windows.

Dierk's List of Animated Cursors
www.anicursor.com/special.html
This site has links to a variety of cursors – not all are animated. In fact, some are just larger or are in different colors; some are designed for left-handed users!

Point-N-Click
www.polital.com/pnc
This is a “free stand-alone on-screen virtual mouse designed for anyone with a disability that makes it difficult or impossible to click a computer mouse. As long as they can move a mouse, trackball or other pointing device, they can send mouse clicks to virtually any Windows application.”

ADAPTIVE KEYBOARDING


Accessible Keyboarding: Providing Keyboard Shortcuts Using accesskey
http://www.webaim.org/techniques/keyboard/

(video) Time saving keyboard shortcuts demonstrated using Microsoft On-Screen Keyboard
http://www.screencastcentral.com/public/522.cfm?sd=92
“Keyboard shortcuts are great - if you can get into the habit of using them - this quick screencast tutorial shows the most popular keyboard shortcuts “ – Careful. The video starts immediately.

Dasher
www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/dasher
This is a free software program that is a “text-entry interface, driven by natural continuous pointing gestures. It is “especially useful for one-handed users or for those who cannot use their hands at all. It can be used with a mouse, head pointers, and eyetrackers.”

Click-N-Type
http://cnt.lakefolks.com/
This is an “on-screen virtual keyboard designed for anyone with a disability that prevents him or her from typing on a physical computer keyboard. As long as the physically challenged person can control a mouse, trackball, touch screen or other pointing device, this software keyboard allows you to send keystrokes to virtually any Windows application…”

One Hand Typing [commercial products]
www.aboutonehandtyping.com
“”This site offers a free demo of one-handed typing, plus a product guide, free typing tutorials and testing. Visitors can also find information on kid-sized and one-hand only keyboards.

Reach [commercial on-screen keyboard]
http://www.ahf-net.com/reach.htm

ScanBuddy [commercial full screen scanning tool]
http://www.ahf-net.com/Scanbuddy.htm
The user can position the mouse using one switch, two switches, or keys on the computer keyboard.

IntelliKeys [commercial products]
http://store.cambiumlearning.com/ProgramPage.aspx?parentId=074003405&functionID=009000008&site=itc
This is one of the original alternative keyboards. It “provides access for anyone with physical, visual, or cognitive disabilities who has difficulty using a standard keyboard. In combination with its many overlays, it is the most flexible alternative keyboard available…”