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Library Guides

Digital accessibility: Your own device

Your device, your way

Using your own device to make your mobile technology work smarter

Most operating systems for mobile devices have a built in screen reader to enable operation with simple touches and gestures

Go to Settings on your device and select General to see what options are available

Look in sections for Keyboard and Accessibility to make changes

See AbilityNet 'how to' guides to help you set up your own device

Select from the dropdown arrows relevant to your needs for the following:

Category, Adjustment, Condition, Symptom, Operating System, Browser


Text magnified through reading glasses

Features for vision

  • Touch the screen to hear what is under your finger
  • Speak commands and dictate comments with hands-free voice control and Siri-like assistants
  • Take notes by voice recording and assign appointments via calendar app
  • Synchronize with your work computer for convenience
  • Use speech synthesis and vibrations for feedback on what is happening

Screen magnifiers

  • Magnify part of the screen to read the content if you have low vision 
  • Magnify the whole screen or zoom in on an area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its original size
  • Find out more about magnification from this fact sheet

Speech synthesis

  • Select parts of the screen or the whole page and have it read it back aloud
  • Adjust the voice’s dialect and speaking rate and have words highlighted as they are being read

Useful if you have problems reading content off screen as well as for doing something else while listening

Speech recognition

  • Your voice is recognised allowing words and numbers to be converted into text and entered in text fields
  • You can also ask questions that the system will try to answer, send messages, place phone calls, and schedule meetings - all with just the use of your voice

Font adjustments

  • Change the font size of text into a larger, easier to read size

Greyscale and inverted colours / high contrast mode

  • Higher contrast or a lack of colour can help you see displays better
  • High contrast between the text colour and the background can also help with low vision or poor visual focus

Features for cognitive skills

jigsaw image

These tools may help with cognitive skills:

  • Alarms, timers and calendars for time keeping
  • Different colour settings for visual stress issues

Other features that can be used:

  • Speech Recognition: to operate a mobile device, make calls, find numbers 
  • Dictate text into browsers to search or write messages
  • Text Replacement shortcuts for frequently used phrases, allows you to type less 



Features for hearing

  • Double tap to move around or activate features - to explore the screen
  • Synchronize with your work computer for convenience

Video call

  • Capture gesture and facial expressions to help understand a conversation
  • Communication with sign language is also possible

Visible and vibrating alerts

  • Alerts for incoming phone calls and messages are ideal for people who have hearing problems

Features for physical and motor-skills


Synchronize with your work computer for convenience

Gesture replacement

Replace certain gestures like a pinch or a swipe on a mobile device with a single tap

Touch configuration

  • Adjust how long to touch the screen until an action is recognised
  • Indicate repeated touches that should be ignored, for instance, if you have a trembling hand
  • Put your finger anywhere on the screen and move around, without mistakenly performing other actions
  • Switch access scanning allows you to use a mobile device with only one switch
  • Move in order over each item on the screen and when you want to perform an action or touch an icon - simply press the switch. This allows very complex interaction with a single switch alone

Features for mental health issues

  • Search for a specific need e.g. making text larger
  • Filter the guides based on your symptoms or condition:
    • concentration problem
    • anxiety