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Switch Access to Technology

When most of us use a computer we use the standard interface – a keyboard and mouse. However, what do you do if you can't use these? A number of 'alternative access' systems exist, for example alternative keyboards, trackerballs, touchscreens, headpointers etc. But for some people these devices are also an unuseable, and this is where switches step in.

The main subject of this freely downloadable pdf document is the switch user. The document aims to encourage developers to include switch access into their products, and standardise practice and terminology. It explains some of the issues involved for people with severe physical difficulties who access computers and other electronic devices with switches. It details the ways in which switch users interact with software and other technology that's designed to be directly accessible to them. It also attempts to survey the whole range of issues associated with switch use.

It's a publication that's useful to professionals and software developers working or entering the field. Use it as a guide to promote standards and a common understanding and nomenclature for switch use. It's hoped that the adoption of the terminology and approach detailed in this document should help improve the development of evidence on switch access.

You can download this document here.

A more in-depth look at the development and programming issues for mainstream software and resources can be found in the ACE Centre publication Making software inclusive and digital publications accessible.