There’s no getting away from it, we’re all getting older. It’s only natural that advancing years may make eyes weaker, hearing strained and fingers not as dexterous as they used to be. So, should new technology be confined to a ‘young person’s game’? We say no.
If you’re finding tasks a bit trickier these days, you can still enjoy the benefits of a tablet computer. Both Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems offer a wealth of features that make them easier to use.
Tablet reviews – expert reviews of iPads, Nexus slates and Samsung Galaxy devices.
Google Android: talkback, magnifier, Google Now and more
Talkback: this pre-installed feature on Android gives you spoken feedback describing what’s happening on screen, such as apps being launched or new-message notifications.
Explore by Touch: this works alongside Talkback and enables you to drag your finger over the Android tablet screen and then have what’s on screen desribed or read out via spoken feedback. Just double tap with your finger on anything you want to open. You can change the speed at which text is read out in both Explore by Touch and Talkback.
Magnifier: if you activate this feature in your Android tablet settings, you can temporarily magnify areas of the screen to make them easier to see or read. Tap your finger on the screen and the area will stay magnified for as long as you hold your finger down.
Google Now: Google’s voice assistant is available in most places on Android and it allows you to do various tasks – such as perform web searches, call people, send texts and check the weather – just with your voice.
Accessibility settings: the Android settings menu offers a huge range of useful accessibility options, including the ability to change font size, or reverse the colours on your tablet screen to make things easier to read.
Apple iOS: voice over, zoom, Siri and more
Voice Over: this feature from Apple reads out what’s happening on your iPad touchscreen, helping you to navigate it more easily if you have poor eyesight. Like Explore by Touch on Android, just touch the screen and hear what’s under your finger.
Speak selection: if you struggle to read text on screen, speak selection reads out your email, iMessages, web pages and even books for you. Just highlight text in any application and tap ‘speak’ for the device to read it out. You can adjust the voice’s speaking rate and even dialect.
Zoom: this built-in magnifier works anywhere on iOS and allows magnification up to 500%. You can also increase the iPad’s text size to a maximum of 56 points, and invert the entire colour scheme to give greater contrast.
Siri: working a bit like Google Now, Siri helps you do everyday jobs just with your voice. You can make reservations at your favourite restaurant, dictate emails and schedule meetings. Siri is integrated with Voice Over, so you can get longer written answers, such as sports scores, read out to you.
AssistiveTouch: if you have trouble with some of the touch gestures in iOS, you can change them. For example, you could swap the pinch gesture to a tap of a finger, or even add a custom gesture that is more comfortable to you.
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