Operating computers and observing displays can prove challenging for blind and partially sighted people. This section describes options for improving keyboards, monitors and integrating Braille.
All mainstream keyboards have some inclusive design features and functionality as standard. Raised notches on keys ‘f’ ‘j’ and ‘number pad 5’ keys help users position their fingers using touch. You can also adapt a standard keyboard yourself by adding large print stickers.
When it comes to monitors, some blind and partially sighted people prefer touchscreens, as they can enable the user to get a better idea of how the screen is set out spatially. Many partially sighted people prefer extra large monitors, but for people with little or no usable vision, it may be better to go for less monitor as smaller is usually cheaper.
Mainstream computer keyboards can be adapted using braille keyboard stickers from RNIB or keyboard skins such as A2i’s braille keyboard cover.
Easier to see keyboards feature large print characters or contrasting colours, such as these ZoomText devices available from Sight and Sound. Higher specification laptop keyboards have backlit keys built in.
This Dolphin large-print keyboard is designed with additional tactile buttons, which enable speedy access to specialist accessibility functions with their software.
The Daily Living Foundation’s (DLF) ‘Living Made Easy’ website offers a range of keyboards including this large print spill-proof device from Ravencourt.
High visibility keyboards with detachable lights are available from RNIB, with either white on black, or black on yellow keys.
The Logickeyboard website is a good place to find a whole range of different colour contrast options, for both PCs and Apple Macs.
Specialist braille keyboards, such as the BrailleKey from Portset, are laid out in a way that is logical for typing through this medium.
On the more expensive side, there are refreshable Braille displays and note-takers. See our Refreshable Braille Displays and Tablets page for information.
Jackie Brown’s book Braille on Display is a comprehensive look at available Braille devices.
Another possible approach is to modify a mainstream keyboard using stickers or specially designed covers:
Logickeyboard sells a variety of large print keyboard skins.
High visibility keyboard stickers are available from IC Vision.
Specialist devices can be bought at: