This section describes the basic controls that are built
into the most common operating systems and web browsing
applications that may make it easier for people with
disabilities to access the internet. For further
information on more specialist equipment and software
for blind people, please visit the products section of
Both Windows and Mac OS provide some control over the
working environment of the computer desktop through
control panels (available via Start then Settings on a
PC or the Apple menu on a Mac). The options vary between
systems and between different versions of the same
system. Consult your operating system manual or
on-screen help for more detailed instructions.
There are a two main ways to control the monitor display
to make it easier to view.
Contrast - increasing the contrast, either by a
control on the monitor itself or through an on-screen
control panel, allows you to improve the definition of
images and text.
Colours - the colours of different components of
the desktop display, such as window frames and the
desktop itself, can be changed to make items easier to
The pointer can be made bigger (PCs only) or to move at
different speeds. It can also be made to create a
'jet-stream' trail as it moves, which makes it easier to
follow its movements.
There are a number of alternatives on the keyboard to
make it easier to use.
'Sticky' keys - this feature allows you to set a
modifier key such as SHIFT, ALT or CTRL to stay on until
another key is pressed. This helps people who cannot
press two keys simultaneously.
'Filter' or 'slow' keys - this feature instructs
the keyboard to ignore keys repeatedly pressed or keys
touched momentarily. The rate at which the keyboard
repeats a pressed key can also be modified from a
'Toggle' keys - this feature can be set to that
the system plays a high sound when any of the LOCK keys
are pressed and a low sound when deactivated.
Web browsing software
Most web browsing software packages have settings that
allow you to change the size and style of text to suit
your needs. These changes usually override the layout of
the web document. Below are details of how to change
these settings in two of the most common browsers:
Click on the View button and then choose the Increase
Font or Decrease Font until the text is the size that
suits you best.
Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Click on View, then choose Text Size or Text from the
menu and highlight your preferred size.
You can further customise both applications to ensure
that you get the best layout possible.
Click on Edit, then choose Preferences from the
drop-down list. Click on the Appearance option from the
left-hand menu to change the font size and web colours.
You can also choose to override certain layouts of the
web document, and use your custom settings throughout.
Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Click on Tools, and choose Internet Options from the
drop-down list. This opens the General options tab with
four buttons along the bottom, for Colours, Fonts,
Language and Accessibility. The accessibility button
allows you to override the web document layout and use
your settings throughout.
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