Nick's technologies

Nick’s technologies

Technology can provide its own barriers, as the videos below illustrate, but there has also been an increase in the number of technologies that may be described as being ‘assistive’, providing access to computers and other devices and enabling users to carry out a wide range of activities.

The type of assistive technologies used in an educational and work environment are described under the following categories with links to descriptions and further information thanks to the Open University inclusive teaching website and EmpTech



More technologies that might be used for daily living can be found on the Disabled Living Foundation Living made Easy website and the AskSara self-help pages

Videos 1-9 illustrate how some assistive technologies are used to aid communication and working with computers.

Accessibility of Videos

There may be some keyboard access issues with the YouTube videos presented below. Please try Easy YouTube by copying and pasting the link to the video into the Easy YouTube address box.  We are grateful to those who have provided the videos and have tried to describe the contents where captions do not exist.

Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) w/captions and description (alternative versions of the video)

The video describes an effort to build accessibility and usability directly into the cloud and ICT infrastructure to allow anyone to encounter any information or communication technology (or any device with an electronic interface) anywhere and be able to have it instantly and automatically change into a form they can understand and use. Video created by an international nonprofit organization (Raising the Floor – International) that is supporting efforts to create a Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure. More can be found at

Videos that illustrate accessibility and ease of use issues.

Video 1

In the first part of this video, Maureen is quietly celebrating her birthday while, at the same time, her brother Tommy is eager to get to grips with his new Digital TV system. Meanwhile, Maureen’s other brother Jack has planned a birthday surprise for his sister. YouTube version of Video 1

Video 2

In the second part of this video, Tommy has “burned” a DVD of the children as a present for his sister. But Maureen doesn’t have anything that plays DVDs, or to let her watch Digital TV. But the shops are full of these new fancy digital boxes – surely it’s just a case of buying the cheapest one you find? YouTube version of Video 2

Video 3

Maureen’s digibox is up and running. She wants to record a programme of her son’s home town to show her grandchildren. Although she no longer has a video recorder, surely it should be just as easy to record TV programmes on her new digibox, shouldn’t it? YouTube version of Video 3

These videos have been made available through the Inclusive Digital Economy Network

Videos illustrating the use of Assistive Technologies

Video 4

Ellen using Assistive Technology
Ellen has Cerebral Palsy and has difficulty controlling her body – she is able to access her Assistive Technology using two head switches. YouTube version of Ellen using Assistive Technology

Video 5

Everything I can’t do in the real world I can do with my Mac
Joe Barnick was born with spinal muscular atrophy and cannot use a keyboard or mouse, yet thanks to assistive technology he can use his computer to do all those things he cannot do in real life. YouTube version of Joe Barnick using Assistive Technology

Video 6

Accessing the web using screen reading software

For many people, particularly those who are blind or have a visual impairment, the only way to access the web is with screen reading software such as JAWS. The extent to which information on a web page is read back to the user is dependent on how the website has been designed, for example, image descriptions for images, good navigation etc. In this clip Craig demonstrates how screen readers can be used to access and read information on a website. YouTube version of Craig Mill using a screen reader

Video 7

Accessing the web using voice recognition software

Speech recognition software allows a computer to understand spoken words for the purpose of receiving commands and data input from the speaker/user. In this video clip Craig demonstrates how to navigate the Internet using voice recognition and voice commands. YouTube version of Craig Mill using speech recognition

Video 8

Accessing the web with switch access system

There are many people who are unable to use a keyboard or a mouse to access a computer. Instead they need to rely on a switch input system. A switch can take many forms and shapes but is essentially a method of replicating the keyboard and mouse. YouTube version of Craig Mill using switch access

Video 9

Reading Text from a Web Page with ClaroRead
This video explains how to read text from a web page with ClaroRead. ClaroRead allows most web pages to be spoken back easily, especially when using Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome.YouTube version of Craig Mill using ClaroRead