Emails, Skype calls, Facebook messages and twitter posts (tweets) are enabling video, voice and text-based conversations and information sharing as never before. We have talked about using your smartphone to stay in touch but you can use your computer and tablet to do the same.
Whilst mobile phones and tablets are usually self-contained devices, desktop computers and laptops tend to come with more flexible designs and are therefore easier to adapt for optimum accessible use and comfort. They are also capable of far more than contacting friends and relatives. The main way to stay in touch on computers is to access your email and social media sites using your chosen internet browser. You can find out more about the many possible adaptations available to make your computer or laptop easier to use, including alternative keyboards, speech, magnification and Braille support, in our Computers section.
There are a wide range of tablets available, offering a larger screen area than phones. Some tablets are dependent on an available Wi-Fi connection while others allow roaming and can access internet data on the move, if a Sim card for tablet use is installed. The information we have provided on mobile phone accessibility can also be applied to tablets. Tablets are also used in the same way as mobile phones to be able to access your emails and social media.
Synapptic sell specialist tablets with their own accessibility software pre-installed.
There have been a number of companies focusing on developing specialist braille tablet devices. insideOne is a tactile tablet featuring a braille keyboard laid into a screen with indented grooves. As well as a refreshable display along the bottom, the screen has a ‘haptic area’ which gives touch feedback to the user.
The Blitab markets itself as ‘the tablet for the blind’. Half of the surface area of the device is devoted to a refreshable display, so it is able to present whole pages of braille text all at once.
Basic add on hardware such as plug in keyboards can be handy for those who like to type on their tablets. It is also possible to connect up tablets with specialist braille equipment such as refreshable displays (see ‘Using braille’ page for more details).