Quick! Name five jobs that don’t require any use of a computer (you’re not allowed to cheat and say something like snake charmer)… Well? How many did you get before going “oh, err…”? It’s just a fact that in most careers nowadays you will be required to use a computer. But this may be easier said than done for some. So what options are available if you struggle to use a conventional keyboard?
According to the experts
Jane Hatton is the director of Evenbreak, a non-profit organisation to help disabled people into employment. On the subject of adaptations in the workplace, she informs us that the most common types of computer adaptations are text to speech converting software for visually impaired people and voice recognition for those who cannot use a keyboard.
Who can you call?
Not Ghostbusters, but well done for shouting that. In fact you could turn your attention to www.screenreader.net, a website that is all about “mitigating isolation, helping people to read, write and keep in touch with friends, family and what is going on in the world”.
Via screenreader you can purchase clever bits of software like Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium which “allows you to dictate to your computer hands-free and the text appears on the screen”. This software will capture the voice of the speaker and write up to 130 words per minute. It also claims to have a minimum accuracy rate of 96%.
For those who are visually impaired and struggle to read things on screen, there is a device simply called Thunder Pen. Although it sounds like something Thor uses to take notes it actually consists of a USB drive that holds a programme that reads aloud whatever appears on your screen. This can also be downloaded but the advantage of the Thunder Pen is that you can carry it with you and use it on any computer.
Alternatively there exists a piece of software called Scan2Text. This is one that will interpret any scanned document and read them aloud for you, thus reducing the need to rely on others. I should point out that you do need a scanner already installed on your computer for this software to function.