By Tan Chong Yaw
WITH age, your eyesight will deteriorate. Assistive technology is tucked away in everyday tech - like your iPhone and Windows operating system - to help.
This built-in screen reader differs from others as it is based on gestures.
Instead of having to form a mental picture of the display, the touchscreen lets you know exactly where applications are on the screen.
Touch the screen and the phone tells you what it is under your finger.
VoiceOver works with the iPhone's built-in and compatible apps so making and receiving calls, SMS and e-mail messages and surfing are easy to do.
Think of this as an electronic magnifying glass on the screen. Zoom magnifies the entire screen but because of the magnification, you get to see only a part of it.
A different set of gestures with three fingers are needed in Zoom mode.
A double-tap with three fingers zooms in and out 200 per cent. A three-finger double-tap and drag-up gesture adjusts the magnification up to 500 per cent.
Standard iPhone gestures like the flick and pinch work in Zoom mode.
White On Black
This tweaks the iPhone's colour scheme for higher contrast.
A side effect is that photos are reversed in colours and look like film negatives. This setting can be used with Zoom and VoiceOver.
To turn on the White On Black, VoiceOver and Zoom functions, click the Settings icon, go to General and then Accessibility. All three settings are there.
There is also Voice Control where you can use your voice, even when speaking in Cantonese, to make calls and play music on the phone.
Microsoft Windows 7
These functions are also found in the XP and Vista editions.
A separate, small window is created at the top of the screen enlarging up to 15 times the part of the window where the cursor is.
Go to Start, click All Programs, Accessories, Ease of Access and then Magnifier.
Move the magnifier around as a floating window.
There is also a full-screen mode where your entire screen is magnified - like in the iPhone.
Using stark colours like black and yellow and bold and bigger fonts, the screen display can be transformed to increase its legibility.
From the Start button, click Control Panel, then Ease of Access, Ease of Access Center and then High Contrast.
This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life.
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