How to Make a Computer More Accessible for the Immobile



Using a computer is a potential blessing for anyone who is struggling with their mobility. When you are bed bound and unable to move freely, a computer with an internet connection can provide a window on the world and allow you to see things and speak to people that would otherwise be possible. Of course though there is a big problem with this idea: that being that many people who are immobile will be unable to use a computer: either because they never learned, or because they are no longer able to use one due to their immobility.

But the great thing about technology today is that it is more universal and more accessible than it has ever been before. With the right tweaks and the right understanding it’s possible for almost anyone to interact with a computer. If you want to give someone in your life that window on the world, then read on to find out how you might be able to do that.

Hardware


The first thing to consider is that a large desktop computer is unlikely to be suitable for most people who are bed-ridden. If you need a hoist to even get out of bed, then you are going to want a computer that you can use in bed.
But don’t think that this necessarily means any laptop will do – as laptops can actually be surprisingly awkward and cumbersome. Not only are laptops very heavy if you need to lift them with one hand, but they are also prone to getting hot and don’t have the longest battery life always. This makes something like a tablet that can easily be carried with one hand and which will last for 10 hours or more a much more viable option. Likewise netbooks and ultrabooks will at least be a lot easier to lift with one hand and to fit onto a bed without burning your legs.

Other important points to consider are things like the size of the screen and even how easy to use the power chord/on switch is. A long power chord is also important. It’s also worth considering whether a keyboard input or touch-screen input would be preferable in these circumstances.
Settings

Setting up the computer can also make a big difference and there are a lot of different ways you can customise a typical PC or tablet to be more user-friendly for someone that would traditionally have difficulty accessing one. On a PC for instance you can increase the size of text, you can set up annotations and you can increase the contrast among other things to make getting around easier. iOS and Android devices have similar settings, and with Android you can even replace the main launcher with much more accessible alternatives so that all apps can easily be accessed.

Most important of all though is to spend time setting up your friend or family member and teaching them how to get around on the computer The time you put in will make all the difference so don’t think that just buying the device will be enough on its own!

Author Bio:
Nancy Baker, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger who is currently writing for Molift, a leading hoists and spare parts website. She takes keen interest in auto racing and enjoys playing billiards. You can also follow her on Twitter @Nancy Baker.

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