Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablet computers, can be great tools for supporting recovery and daily living. Most devices have accessibility features to enable you to adapt them to your needs. Look for accessibility options in your device’s ‘Settings’ app.
Here are a few ways you can make your device easier to use:
Set up voice controls
You can control your device with your voice instead of typing. Most on-screen keyboards have a microphone icon. To use voice control, tap the microphone. Then you can speak your messages or web searches and the words appear on the screen.
Enable your device to talk to you
Most devices now have a built-in text-to-speech app that reads out the text on your screen. This can be particularly useful if you have reading difficulties, sight problems, or fatigue. You can change the speed and pitch of the screen reader’s voice to suit your needs. You can sometimes change the way it pronounces words to make it easier to understand.
You can also get your phone to describe your actions when you touch the screen. This enables you to navigate your device without having to see it. Look in the ‘Settings’ app for TalkBack (on Android devices) and VoiceOver (on IOS/Apple devices).
Make websites and applications easier to see
Change the text size and font type to make words clearer, or adjust the colour settings to improve contrast. You can also set up your device so you can zoom in and out by pinching or tapping the screen. Or turn on the magnification settings to see the whole, or part of the screen in more detail.
Adapt your phone for one-handed use
Go into your device’s keyboard settings to change the on-screen keyboard to one-handed mode. You can also choose whether you use your left hand or right hand. Some devices also have a ‘one-handed’, or ‘reachability’ mode, that makes the screen smaller, so that it’s easier for your thumb to reach.
Further advice and assistance
We’ve partnered with AbilityNet, a charity helping people with disabilities to use technology. Their online guide, My Computer My Way, gives you information on how to set up your technology to suit your needs, including step-by-step instructions for the features mentioned here.
Stroke News magazine
This article is featured in the Spring 2020 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.