Using Accessibility Features

There are various computer accessibility options available today for those who are impaired. Learn all about assistive technology here.

What are accessibility features?

Accessibility features are designed to help people with disabilities use technology more easily. For example, a text-to-speech feature may read text out loud for people with limited vision, while a speech-recognition feature allows users with limited mobility to control the computer with their voice. In this lesson, we'll introduce you to some common accessibility features. We'll also discuss assistive technology that you can attach to your computer for greater accessibility.

Common accessibility features

Although some accessibility features require special software downloads, many are built into the operating system of your computer or mobile device. Here are just a few types of accessibility features you may already have on your device.

screenshot accessibility menu

Using accessibility features

Most computers and mobile devices come with built-in accessibility features, although they'll usually need to be turned on before you can use them. Let's take a look at how to locate these features for your device.

Web accessibility

Most web browsers also offer their own built-in accessibility features. You'll usually find these options in your browser's settings.

opening Chrome settings

Before you adjust these settings, you may want to try zooming instead. Zooming is an easy way to make webpages easier to read, and it works the same way in most browsers. If you're using a browser in Windows, you can zoom in or out by pressing Ctrl+ or Ctrl- (hold down the Ctrl key and press the + or - key). If you're using a Mac, you'll press Command+ or Command-.

To return to the default zoom level, press Ctrl+0 (hold down the Ctrl key and press the zero key). If you're using a Mac, press Command+0.

Accessibility features in specific software

There are many more accessibility features you can use, depending on the type of computer you have and the software you use. The resources below will direct you to accessibility features for some of the most commonly used applications.

Assistive technology devices

As you've already seen, software can do a lot to make computers more accessible for disabled users. However, some accessibility features require extra hardware, or assistive technology. Most assistive-technology devices are similar to keyboards and speakers—they are peripherals that can be plugged into the main computer. Here are some common types of assistive technology you may encounter.

More resources