There are several myths revolving around blindness. One of them is that blind people can’t use computers. Well, you know what, this is not true! Irrespective of what you believe, the truth is that many blind people use computers all the time. A number of them are experts in doing so.
A few different ways to help a visually impaired individual operate on computers. Some blind people use screen readers that read aloud what is on the screen. Others use braille keyboards, which come with bumps corresponding to the letters on a regular keyboard. And still, others use special software that turns images into braille.
Stay tuned as we explore and uncover some methods that help blind people seamlessly use computers.
How Do Blind People Use Computers
Although Blind people can’t see the computer screen or what’s displayed, they can still use computers thanks to some unique software and hardware combinations. Let’s understand what and how.
Method #1: Screen Reading Software
One of the most common practices that help blind people operate on computers is by utilizing screen reading software. In case you don’t already know, these pieces of software work in a manner that reads the text displayed on the computer screen aloud. It thus helps the visually impaired person understand what is taking place on-screen.
Speaking of screen reading software, there are different types available. However, all essentially end up working in the same manner. Whenever a blind person uses a keyboard for navigation, the software will immediately read aloud the screen output. That way, the concerned individual acquires the necessary assistance.
Screen reading software is multi-dimensional. These can be employed for a variety of tasks. Whether we talk about surfing the internet, checking email, or even writing documents, the overall working mechanism ensures the end goal is well-served. Thanks to this technology, a willing blind person can use computers just like everyone else.
Some screen reading software is blessed with the ability to provide Braille output. These allow blind people to read and understand everything more efficiently.
Method #2: Braille Keyboards
Just like screen reading software, Braille keyboards are meant to help the blind or visually impaired individuals serve the requisites for using a computer. With Braille keyboards, we’re looking at a unique input device with raised dots. These dots correspond to the position of keys on a standard keyboard.
I bet you’re aware of what a Braille pattern is, right? The dots that make up the reading material for those who are blind or have low vision.
Coming back to the Braille keyboards, these work on simple touch-and-understand mechanisms. Visually impaired individuals can find the correct keys by touching and feeling the dots.
Over the years, Braille keyboards have seen significant evolution, and the ones available these days are loaded with special abilities. Some unique function keys offer direct access to various computer commands by abilities. Isn’t that efficient?
Braille keyboards with impressive usability have made seamless computing possible for blind people, whether the user focuses on work, school, or personal use.
Discussing blind people using computers is undone without mentioning “Assistive Technology.” It usually refers to any device or piece of software that can play a pivotal role in enhancing the functional abilities of specially-abled people. Tools dictating “Assistive Technology” can vary depending on the concerned disability and its extent.
In general, the existence of “Assistive Technology” can range from simple tools like magnifying glasses to even complex systems. The advanced sphere usually involves the likes of computer-based speech recognition software we’ve talked about earlier.
Assistive technology is age-independent and can be used by anyone in need. The only thing to consider, though, is the disability under concern.
Smart glasses are a stunning example of “Assistive Technology” for visually impaired individuals. These unique inventions allow the wearer to navigate through their surroundings seamlessly. Smart glasses provide visual information, which eventually helps deal with situations like computer use.
Voice Recognition Programs
That’s another impressive recipe out of Assistive Technology’s cookbook. The fact that voice recognition programs are a great asset for the blind or visually impaired isn’t really hard to digest. Practically employing voice commands, these utilities can go a long way in helping the concerned individual navigate their computers and perform associated tasks.
People who are blind use computers in many ways. The usage depends on their level of blindness and what they want to use the computer for. While people use special software that reads everything on-screen, others use programs that offer a Braille output. The evolution that Assistive Technology has seen in recent years has been a driving force in this respect.