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A Look at Windows 7 Ease of Access Features

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Maybe you've seen the folder in your Start Menu\Accessories titled "Ease of Access" and if you're like many people you likely never poked around with the tools in there. Well there are some very helpful features that make life easier for all users. Daniel Hubbell from the Windows Accessibility team joined me to walk through a few of these features and how they apply to all users.

[01:27] Windows Magnifier.
[03:47] Options for increasing readability
[06:50] Options for using a PC without a keyboard and mouse attached.
[11:00] Using Sticky Keys
[12:45] Keyboard Shortcuts
[14:34] Using Speech Recognition
[23:12] Using Ease of Access Center (Win+U)

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    The Discussion

    • User profile image
      CKurt

      Nice video. I think I knew most of the shortcuts and features but I just shared the video with my Facebook friends and I'm sure a lot of them will learn new stuff.

      It's a shame the "activate windows when hover" function does not seem to work when hovering over the actual window content. At least if I have a dual monitor setup and have IE running on both I can't just start scrolling in the other windows when I hover over the web page. I need to hover over the titlebar/top.

      And Speech Recognition is not available if you have a non-English version of Windows. So that really sucks, because I can speek English but my desktop is in Dutch because I bought it in Belgium.

      Sticky keys is fun to make somebody freaky because of the noises there pc makes when pushing buttons. Feels like a bomb will explode, ha!

    • User profile image
      DanHub

      @CKurt. Speech recognition is actually supported in US English, UK English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and both simplified and traditional Chinese. Unfortunately you are correct there is not a Dutch version.

    • User profile image
      CKurt

      @DanHub:I don't want a Dutch version. I want the English version to work in my Dutch operating system, just like I want speech recognition on my Xbox with Kinect Tongue Out

    • User profile image
      martinmine

      Nice show! I remember some years ago in school, we used to press the shift key and turn on the sticky key feature just to make that noise =D

      @CKurt: I totally agree with you! Even though I don't care wether Windows language is in Norwegian or English, I still preffer english even though I'm from Norway. However, it would be really cool if we could choose which speech recognition language we want to use =)

       

    • User profile image
      vesuvius

      Windows 7 magnifying is a huge hit with my uncle who is partially sighted (almost blind) and can now use any PC with Windows 7 without having to install software that cost hundreds of pounds and was nowhere near as good.

      Epic #Win

    • User profile image
      Yakko Warner

      I found one caveat to using pointer trails.  Apparently, they don't play well with DirectX.

      When I was in the Age of Empires Online beta, I filed a report about the mouse cursor being completely invisible in the game.  Then I happened to turn off pointer trails (I don't remember exactly what prompted me to do that), and the mouse cursor was fine.  When I added that to my report, I got a reply back that it was a "known issue" with pointer trails and DirectX.

      I've found pointer trails to be less necessary with modern LCD screens (I found it to be a necessity on older notebook screens with their lower refresh rates), so I just keep it off now.

    • User profile image
      Jeff_Saffan
      Great refresher and awesome accessibility options!
    • User profile image
      fmerrow

      Occasionally, I would like to have the computer read text to me.  I have the habit of typing "an" for "a" or occasionally "and" for "an", etc . . . when I proof my text, my eye often misses these mistakes, but if I can hear the text I can often find them immediately.  So if it is an important document, I'd like to have the text read to me.

      I've seen options in windows for telling you what is happening (Narrator and Audio Description options), but I really don't want it to read "everthing darn thing" . . . I'd like it to just read a document or a portion of text that I highlight . . . is there a way to do that without Narrator or Audio Description which I don't find that useful.

      Frank

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