Magnification and/or text to speech for those with visual acuity and reading difficulties

Most smart phones offer a built in screen-enlargement utility to allow those with visual impairments or reading difficulties to access content.  The system may have a gesture that will action ‘zoom’  to  portions of the screen as you scroll vertically and horizontally.  This technique enlarges text as well as images.  It may be easier just to enlarge the font size for those with reading difficulties as moving around areas of overly large text can be disconcerting.

Screen Magnification on Mobile Devices from MOOCAP on Vimeo.

Apps or built in options that take written text and speak it out using the same speech synthesis as the screen reader system can help those with dyslexia or other literacy and language difficulties  – the user chooses which text to be read aloud and it may also be highlighted with a different colour as it is read out.

Watch out for these barriers

  • Text, images, and layouts that cannot be resized, or that lose information when resized.
  • Text and images with insufficient contrast between foreground and background colour combinations.
  • Complex fonts and clutter