What are ‘Assistive Technologies’?
Assistive technologies are digital tools, specialist software and equipment that can help you increase your productivity when studying. For example, tools that read text aloud to you, rather than you reading the text on the screen, are assistive technologies.
Looking for a specific tool?
Our recommended resource is Ability Net’s My Computer My Way which provides simple ‘how to’ guides to make your device easier to use.
Your computer and the main tools you use on it all have built-in features which are worth exploring, particularly the features of the operating systems and web browsers. Many of these appear in My Computer My Way.
Your operating system
Make sure you explore the features of your operating system:
- Microsoft Windows offers a set of accessibility features and tips for using them: Explore and download the Microsoft accessibility guides.
- Apple Mac OS includes features to help you work in alternative ways including keyboard customisation, screen motion-reduction and Switch Control for assistive devices. Get started with accessibility features on Mac.
- Apple iPhone and iPad devices have built-in settings that include voice control and display changes. From your device’s Home screen, go to Settings and find Accessibility. See accessibility features on Apple iPhone or see accessibility features on Apple iPad.
- Google Android devices include audio, vision and mobility support. On your device’s Settings app, tap Accessibility to find features. More about accessibility on Google Android devices.
Your internet browser
- Microsoft Edge includes Read Aloud and Immersive Readings functions: Accessibility features in Microsoft Edge
- Google Chrome include TalkBack and options for changing text size: Accessibility on Chrome
Tools for PDFs
Acrobat Reader has a Read Aloud feature and an option to change the background colour when reading a PDF. Watch our videos to learn more:
How to use read aloud:
How to change background colours on a PDF:
Other free tools
There are many free and paid-for assistive technologies. These examples all have free versions:
- Grammarly is an online writing assistant which helps check your spelling, grammar, punctuation and assist with the clarity of your writing. It has a free version: Grammarly for Students
- Mindly is a mind-mapping tool which helps you organise information in a more visual way. It works on multiple devices including phones. It has a free version: Mindly App
- Popplet is a mind-mapping tool which allows you to incorporate media such as YouTube videos. The free version limits you to one mind map: Popplet