Accessibility

Many people have different issues with reading information on computers, smartphones, tablets and laptops, particularly websites. We have attempted to gather together some hints and tips in this article. Why not give it a try if you’re having problems? If you have a particular issue, why not drop us an email, and we’ll try to give you some help.

First, some quick tips.

Text Size

Smartphone/Tablet (IPhone, iPad and Android)

To quickly zoom in on any text on a smartphone or tablet, put two fingers on the screen and pull them apart. This is called “Pinching Out”. To move around on the expanded screen, use just one finger. To zoom out, put two fingers on the screen and pull them together (“Pinching In”).

Windows PC/Laptop

To quickly zoom in on a Windows PC, hold down the “CTRL” key on the keyboard and rotate the thumbwheel on top of the mouse. On a laptop with a touchpad, try “Pinching” as described for smartphones above.

There is also a “Magnifier”. To turn this on, hold the “Windows Logo” button on your keyboard and the “+/=” key simultaneously. For a full run down on how to use this, click here.

Apple Mac

On your Mac, choose “Apple menu > System Preferences”, click “Accessibility”, then click “Zoom” and choose the options you prefer. If your device has a touchpad, try “Pinching” as described for smartphones above.

Contrast

Smartphone/Tablet

To alter the contrast settings on an Android smartphone or tablet, go to “Settings > Accessibility > High Contrast Text” and enable it. On an iPhone or iPad, go to “Settings > General > Accessibility > Increase Contrast”.

Windows 10 PC/Laptop

Windows 10 has a “High Contrast” mode which is activated by pressing the “Start” button (extreme bottom left normally), then the gear icon, click on “Ease of Access” and “High Contrast”. There are many different settings here to improve the contrast settings on your PC or Laptop, so experiment to see which suits you best.

Windows 7 PC/Laptop

First, you really should upgrade to Windows 10 as Windows 7 is no longer being supported by Microsoft. You could be vulnerable to many different types of security threats and vulnerabilities.

To alter the Contrast settings on Windows 7, go to “Start > Control Panel > Appearance and Personalisation” and click on “Change the theme” Scroll down and pick a High Contrast theme.

Apple Mac

To change the contrast settings on a Mac, choose “Apple Menu > System Preferences”, click “Accessibility”, click “Display”, then click “Display”. There are many different settings here, so experiment to find what suits you best.

The Full Story

There are many different things you can do to improve accessibility of the various common devices. We’ve picked out a few really common requirements above, but there’s a lot more you can do to help. For the full story, click here for Android smartphones and tablets, here for iPhone smartphones, here for iPad tablets, here for Windows and finally here for Apple Mac.

Changing The Font of a Website on your Browser

Some people have issues with the type of font that is displayed on web pages and it’s not always obvious how to change it. Some want Serif fonts, some Sans Serif, some like Comic Sans, others Times Roman, and so on. Most websites nowadays tell your browser which font to use and this can only be overridden using special tools. If you use any of the common browsers (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari), then it’s sometimes not obvious how to achieve this, so we’ve put some ideas together for you to try below. They may not work, but it’s worth a try if you have issues. However, bear in mind that some web sites won’t display too well if they’re designed for one particular font and font size, so you’re warned!

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world and there’s a version that works on most machines. To change the font that Google Chrome displays for the information on a website, it’s necessary to add an extension. Unfortunately, extensions are not supported on the smartphone or tablet versions of Chrome (yet). On the desktop version, go to “Settings” (the three little dots, top right), “More Tools > Extensions” and click on “Open Chrome Web Store”. In the “Search” box, type “Font Changer”. Click on the “Font Changer Plus” extension and then on “Add to Chrome” button. On the security pop up, click “Add Extension”

To change the fonts displayed, click on the “T” symbol that appears in the Toolbar at the top on the right-hand side. Select your favourite fonts for each type of text and they will be used when displaying data from a website.

Microsoft Edge

Based on the same underlying code as Chrome, adding the extension to the desktop version is very similar. Go to “Settings” (the three little dots, top right), “Extensions”, click on “Get Extensions for Microsoft Edge” and, in the “Search” box, type “Font Changer”. Click on the “Get” button next to “Font Changer Plus”. Click on the “Add Extension” button in the security pop up.

To change the fonts displayed, click on the “T” symbol that appears in the Toolbar at the top on the right-hand side. Select your favourite fonts for each type of text and they will be used when displaying data from a website.

Internet Explorer

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to change the fonts that are displayed by Internet Explorer. You really ought to be using Microsoft Edge anyway, as Internet Explorer is deprecated by Microsoft.

Firefox

Extensions are not required for Firefox. Click on the hamburger menu on the top right, then on “Options”, go to “Language and Appearance > Fonts and Colours > Advanced”. Using the 4 dropdowns, pick the fonts of your choice for each category. Then make sure that the “Allow pages to choose their own fonts, instead of your selections above” box is unticked. Finally, click “OK” to store the altered settings.

Safari

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to change the fonts that are displayed by Safari.

Audio Assistance

Most devices provide some way of reading text aloud, some better than others. Find below some pointers to help you with your device. There are also ways of controlling your devices with voice commands, provided it has a microphone – most laptops, smartphones and tablets have them built in.

Smartphone/Tablet

Android phones and tablets have several different ways of reading text aloud depending on the phone manufacturer and the version of Android installed. First, look at the “Accessibility” features on your device by selecting “Settings > Accessibility”. You can find more details by clicking here. Experiment with the options to see which suits you best. Another option is “Google Assistant” app which can be downloaded from the Google Play store. It is sometimes comes pre-installed by the device manufacturer. Again, experiment with the app to see what suits you best. More details here.

iPhones and iPads have very similar facilities to Android, explore the possibilities by selecting “Settings > Accessibility > Spoken Word”. There is also the Siri Assistant, for full details click here. Full details here. Google Assistant is also available for the iPhone, full details here.

Windows 10 PC/Laptop

Windows 10 provides the “Narrator” facility to read text aloud. For full details on how to use this facility, click here.

Windows 7 PC/Laptop

See remarks above about upgrading. Narrator is also available for Windows 7, click here for more information.

Apple Mac

Apple Mac devices offer a whole range of assistance, see what’s available here.

Alternative International Languages

The provision of international languages for a website is not easy due to the sheer number and the amount of work involved in providing the translations. One alternative is to use Google Translate, although the translations are sometimes not very accurate, especially with the less common languages. Translations of pieces of text can be achieved by copying and pasting into Google Translate using this link. It is also possible to translate an entire website (click here for this website), but again, you are cautioned about the accuracy of this feature. You can translate any website using this link and typing in the web site address at the top left.