Tagged With accessibility

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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There are many examples of individuals with different disabilities who excel and accomplish much in their lifetime, rendering physical or mental attributes meaningless -- consider Stephen Hawking, Stevie Wonder and Helen Keller, among many others. But certain tasks and careers are more or less suited to some disabilities than others. Thankfully Ray Charles could sing and compose without his sight, but if his natural talent had been as a sportsman then the world may have not seen him rise to fame. Today's technology offers many new possibilities, not least the opportunity to work in the information technology field itself.

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For many of us, the Windows Magnifier tool is something we've occasionally activated by accident. There's a lot more to Magnifier in Windows 7 then just a big box that shows pixellated mouse movement, however. It makes for a great laptop-in-bed helper, for example.

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Mobile phones might be ubiquitous, but that doesn't mean they're equally well-designed for everyone. If you're short-sighted, seeing small buttons may be impossible; if you have limited muscular control, then a touch screen's a non-starter. Nokia Australia has just published an accessibility guide for its phone range, which includes some useful tips on picking the right phone model for your needs and setting it up for accessibility (in amongst the inevitable self-serving corporate gumpf and cheesy photography). While it's Nokia-specific, the guidelines are potentially useful whatever phone you end up buying.

Nokia Accessibility Guide (PDF)