Skip to 0 minutes and 2 secondsDOM: Hi folks. This is John, and he's a lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsJOHN: Hello, and this is Dom, he is professor of the University of Paris 8.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsDOM: We have prepared some content for you in this week two of our MOOC app.

Skip to 0 minutes and 15 secondsJOHN: Week two looks at the domain of desktop computing, and how you can make accessible the documents you create.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 secondsDOM: Desktop computers are used at work, at school, at college and university, for leisure, for games, for communication, for online shopping, and much, much more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 30 secondsJOHN: The typical desktop configuration involves input via keyboard and mouse and output via screen. And most people also use loudspeakers and webcams, however, this is not always the case, and many people cannot access the computer that way. These includes people with restrictive control of their upper limbs, blind people, and people with reading difficulties.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 secondsDOM: Many people use alternative input on output mechanisms. They may use voice recognition software for inputting text, or onscreen keyboards together with a pointing device, or even a single switch, while some other will use synthesised voice to access text content or braille devices. In order to make content more accessible for this diverse population of users, it is necessary to follow some straightforward accessibility guidelines. We will illustrate these guidelines in the context of work processing, which is one of the major activities of desktop computing.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 secondsJOHN: There, we will discuss typical desktop applications. That is how most people use computers. What are the barriers that some people experience accessing them? Then we will show an overview of assistive technologies that make possible alternative access to desktop computers for people who cannot use standard access. And in the last part, we'll have a closer look at specific desktop application, namely, word processing software, and explain how you can improve the accessibility of the documents you create by following certain guidelines. Before we move on to the steps for week two, we invite you to read the newspaper article about the author, Simon Fitzmaurice, with the first Irish book written with eye gaze technology, It's Not Yet Dark.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 secondsDOM: Welcome to week two. Work well.

Welcome to week 2

Welcome to week 2. Watch Dr John Gilligan, Dublin Institute of Technology and Professor Dominique Archambault, University of Paris 8 talk about how we can enable people to work on computers.

John and Dominique will be joining in the conversations this week - do look out for them in the discussions.

This week, we will discuss:

  • typical desktop applications

  • the barriers that some people have accessing desktop applications

  • specialist or assistive technologies that facilitate alternative access to desktop computers

  • specific applications such as word processors and consider how, by following certain guidelines, we can improve the accessibility of our documents


Why is it important to promote accessibility in desktop computing and Information Communication Technology (ICT) generally?

‘The technology of my computer allows me to have a voice, spoken and written, and I’ve learned that my humanity, my identity, hinges on my voice,’ Simon Fitzmaurice, taken from an article in the Irish Times (31st May 2014) ‘It’s not how long you live. It’s how you live’.

Simon is the author of the first Irish book written with Eye-Gaze technology.


Desktop and laptop computers are used at work at school and college, for leisure, for games, for communication, for online shopping and much much more. The typical desktop configuration involves input via a keyboard and mouse and output via a screen.

However this is not always the case and many people cannot access the computer (or the content delivered by the technology) in this way. This may include people with poor manual control, blind people and those individuals who have certain cognitive impairments.

Many people use alternative input and output mechanisms such as:

  • voice or speech recognition

  • text to speech. This is where the text on the screen is read aloud

  • screen reading. This is where every action and menu as well as the text on the screen is read out

  • switch access. This is where the user may need to activate a button with the head, finger or other means to choose individual items rather like using keys on a keyboard to spell or arrow/tab around the screen

In order to make content more accessible for this diverse population of users, it is necessary to follow some straightforward accessibility guidelines.

We will illustrate these guidelines in the context of word processing which is one of the major activities of desktop and laptop computing.


© This video is created by Dublin Institute of Technology and Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis and licensed under CC-BY 4.0 International Licence. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.

© This text is a derivative of a work by Dublin Institute of Technology and Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, and licensed under CC-BY BY 4.0 International Licence adapted and used by the University of Southampton. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.

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This video is from the free online course:

Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society

University of Southampton