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From low vision to blindness, the range of visual limitations is broad. Symptoms of low vision include dimness, haziness, extreme far-/near-sightedness, color blindness, and tunnel vision, among others. People with these disabilities are concerned with being able to see text or images on a computer screen and being able to perform tasks that require eye-hand coordination, such as moving a computer mouse. Text size and color can make a big difference in legibility for people with low vision.

The technologies that can assist those with low vision or blindness are:

  • Desktop Appearance Enhancement - users can configure the desktop to be easy to read; for example, by increasing text size and using high-contrast themes.
  • Screen Magnifier - this is like a magnifying glass. People using them are able to control what area of the computer screen they want enlarged, and can move the magnifier to view different areas of the screen. They are also known as screen enlargers or large print programs.
  • Screen Reader - this makes on-screen information available as synthesized speech and/or a refreshable braille display. They generally only translate text-based information. Graphics and other non-textual objects can be translated if there is alternative text describing the item. They are also known as blind access utilities or screen reviewers.