Wales Council of the Blind

Glossary Browser

Android technology

Android is an operating system for certain smart phones and tablets (these terms are all explained in the glossary).

App technology

App is short for 'application' and is very often used to describe a small program that it installed onto a mobile phone or tablet device. It could be anything from a word processor to a colour detector or train times finder.

Assistive/access technology technology

Assistive or access technology is any additional software or hardware that is required by someone, because of a disability, to enable them to use a computer. The two most common types of assistive technology for people with sight loss are screen magnification and screen reading software. It is also known as access or adaptive technology.

Braille display technology

A braille display is a line of cells, each with six or eight pins that move up and down to represent dots of a braille cell. The display is used to represent a line of text on the computer screen. It is also called an electronic, soft or refreshable braille display.

Braille embosser/printer technology

Braille embossers/printers produce braille output from a computer by punching dots onto paper. They connect to the computer in the same way as text printers but need special braille translation software, and can also be connected to notetakers and other devices.

Braille translation software technology

Used in conjunction with the braille embosser, braille translation software translates printed text into braille.

Closed circuit television technology

CCTV (also known as a video magnifier) is a magnifying aid for people with some useful vision. Printed material and objects can be placed under a camera and the magnified image is displayed on a television screen or computer monitor. They are mostly used for reading, but can also be used for writing and other activities such as sewing.

DAISY technology

DAISY stands for Digital Accessible Information System is a standard for digital talking books. DAISY books are typically used by people have 'print disabilities', including blindness, impaired vision and dyslexia. The DAISY format allows users to hear and navigate written material presented in an audible format. A 'DAISY player' is a device that will play a DAISY book.

eBook technology

eBook stands for 'electronic book' (also known as a digital book). This is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.

Equipment assessor/advisor technology

A specialist equiped to assess or advise a disabled person for the best aids and equipment for daily living, education and employment.

Equipment provider technology

Agency or company supplying aids and equipment to aid daily living.

Modifier technology

A modifier is a key that can be used in conjunction with a second key and modifies its behaviour. Assistive technology may have its own modifier key so that its keystrokes do not conflict with the keystrokes used by the operating system (e.g. Windows) or other programs.

MP3 technology

MP3 is a common music file format. It stands for for "Moving Picture Experts Group Phase 1, Audio Layer 3".

Notetaker technology

A notetaker is a specialist portable device that enables someone with a sight problem to take notes and retrieve them later in an accessible form. Electronic notetakers usually contain a diary and other applications and some have a keyboard for braille instead of QWERTY keyboard input. They do not generally incorporate a screen display.

Optical character recognition (OCR) software technology

OCR software is used in conjunction with a PC and camera or scanner to copy printed text to the computer and hold it electronically so it can be read by a screen reader or magnified with software.

Resolution technology

A screen is made up of thousands of dots, called pixels ("picture elements"), arranged on the screen in columns and rows. The characters, pictures and shapes that appear on the screen are created by changing the colors of these dots. The resolution of a monitor is the number of pixels used within it, and is given as two numbers for instance "1280 by 800" (1280 across the screen and 800 down). With a larger number of pixels ("higher resolution"), screen objects can be shown in more detail and mor

Scanner technology

A scanner is a device which captures an image of a page and enters it into the computers memory so it can then be manipulated as required. In conjunction with OCR software the text in the image can be extracted and read back using a screen reader.

Screen magnification software technology

Screen magnification software can magnify the text, menus and icons on a computer or mobile phone screen. Because screen magnification software increases the size of the image displayed on the screen, only a portion of the original screen image can be seen at one time. Normally the magnification will automatically follow the area of attention, for example the cursor.

Screen reader technology

Screen readers sends screen text displayed on a computer or mobile phone screen to be spoken by a speech synthesiser. Common features include the ability to speak text on the full screen, a user defined area of the screen, a line, a word, individual letters or the phonetic equivalent of a letter and punctuation. A screen reader allows menus, dialog boxes, tool tips and system messages to be read back. A screen reader is designed to enable a blind person to use a computer fully.

Smart phone technology

A smart phone is an advanced mobile phone, that allows you to do more than just make phone calls and send text messages. A typical smart phone might let you browse the internet and download apps. The iPhone and the HTC are very well known examples of smart phones.

Social networking technology

Social networks is a term used for websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You use a social networking site to expand your social contacts by making connections with individuals and creating communities. It's also a fun way to keep in touch with friends and maybe to make some new acquaintances!

Text-to-speech (TTS) technology

Text-to-speech is often used interchangeably with "screen reader" to refer to the vocalisation of information from a screen, but strictly speaking a TTS system reads nothing but text. While this can be a useful aid to partial sight, a blind user will need extra contextual information conferred through visual means (for instance that something is a button in a ribbon or dialogue) or formatting (such as a heading on a webpage).

Touch screen technology

A touch screen enables you to control the computer by touching an area of the screen. This might be on a PC, tablet device, mobile phone or electronic kiosk.

video magnification technology

A video magnifier or CCTV is a simple way of producing large text and images for people with some useful vision. Printed documents, handwritten materials or objects can be placed under a camera. The magnified image is then displayed on a monitor. They are most often used for reading, but some can also be used for writing, checking a price tag, looking at a timetable or to read a whiteboard in a classroom.

Voice recognition software technology

Voice recognition software enables you to have an alternative to typing text into a computer. This is where the user talks to the computer and should not be confused with a screen reader where the computer talks to you.