Tablet computers are fantastic; simply on the basis of what they can bring and offere within one small device. The tricky bit comes in choosing the right one that offers the best and most effective accessibility.
Historically, the IPad has been touted as the one that offers everything that a visually impaired person needs; with VoiceOver (screen reader), Zoom (magnification) and Siri (voice activation) encompassing all. Well, no, don’t necessarily let this lead you into thinking that it has to be the device of choice.
In terms of tablets, there are three main systems that provide varying levels of accessibility. Apple with the IPad has its well know functions as shown above, but tends to be at the higher end of the price range. android is an alternative that is cheaper, but at the same tiem has many more devices to choose from and a varying level of accessibility. Windows, as the third choice brings familiarity but at the same time can deliver less certainty in terms of access and usability.
Oh yes, this is not forgetting the range of kindle devices, that are on android, but bring their own pros and cons to the whole picture.
Each does bring a varying level of magnification, screen reading and voice activation support. Its difficult to generalise, but if I was going to make a judgement, screen reading support tends to be better on apple devices, magnification is most improved on Android and Windows well microsoft as usual tends to play catch up with accessibility on all counts.
However, there are always going to be variations with everyones experience, thoughts and opinions and that has to be a good thing. As a screen reader user and someone who has had an IPad for the last three years, I must admit that its possibly the best bit of technology that I’ve baught. Why? Because it has given me a mutil-media and multi-information platform where on the one hand I can find out news and sport, where on the other I can listen to the radio, seek out podcasts and social network.
In the next blog article, I’m going to look at the IPad in more detail and give a more in depth appraisal of its pluses and minuses; demonstrating its versitility, but also illustrating that other less expensive options may give as much value as it does.