How Do You Learn to Use Microsoft Windows If You Can’t See?

New book helps blind people use Windows 7 and Windows Vista

By Dr. Sarah Morley Wilkins

Photo of bookcoverWindows users who can’t see the screen have a very different experience than those who are looking at it. People may be using the built-in accessibility features, or assistive technologies such as screen readers or screen magnification programs—and probably use the keyboard rather than the mouse. Visually impaired computer users only really ever experience a very small part of the interface at any one time and this can make it quite difficult for them to learn new graphical interfaces. In contrast, sighted users can see everything on screen at once, as a whole, and can point and click anywhere, which helps them to make sense of what's on-screen and to learn to use new programs very quickly.

Computer users with sight loss, and their trainers, need a special kind of reference material to learn the fundamental concepts of the Windows operating system and its common programs—materials written with an understanding of what the non-visual experience is. This empowers people to use their computers effectively, and puts them on a level footing with their sighted peers. This principle underpins my new book, co-authored by Steve Griffiths, published by Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

A tactile page showing the Windows 7 Start menu"Windows 7 and Vista Explained: A guide for blind and partially sighted users" helps computer users with visual impairments learn to use Windows 7 and Windows Vista from a non-visual perspective. The book is written specifically for blind and partially sighted computer users to help them no matter what assistive technology they’re using. It serves as a comprehensive guide that covers the basics of computer terminology and Windows concepts right through to advanced Windows 7 and Windows Vista functionality, with keyboard commands throughout.

About the Authors

Photo of authors Sarah Morley Wilkins and Steve GriffithsDr. Sarah Morley Wilkins is an award-winning author and Principal Manager of the Centre for Accessible Information at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in the UK. Morley Wilkins and co-author Steve Griffiths have produced this new book published by RNIB, as the fifth in Sarah's internationally popular series of books covering Microsoft Windows. Morley Wilkins won the SAP/Stevie Wonder "Vision Pioneer of the Year Award" in 1998 for her groundbreaking approach to helping thousands of visually impaired computer users around the world to learn Windows.

How to Get the Book

The book is available in a range of accessible formats with separate image volumes. Customers from the USA and Canada can order online from National Braille Press. Customers from UK, Europe and worldwide (except USA and Canada) can order online from the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

"An invaluable resource for PC users who are blind or visually impaired and a source of greater insight for readers looking at the screen."

Rob Sinclair
Chief Accessibility Officer, Microsoft