A great number of people are unable, for various reasons, to use a standard keyboard. These reasons can range from limited degree of movement or motor control to low strength in the hands and fingers. For many people an alternative keyboard can be one solution, but for others using a virtual or onscreen keyboard is the way to go. An onscreen keyboard generally appears on the same display used for programs and will remain permanently visible. The keyboard can then be accessed using the computers’ pointer device. This may be by using a standard mouse, or accessing it through the use of alternative mouse device or switches.
Points to Ponder
Questions to consider when choosing an onscreen keyboard
- Is it compatible with your computer’s operating system?
- How will the on-screen keyboard be accessed? E.g., point and click with a pointing devices or in scanning mode using a switch
- Does it support a large variety of input devices, including switches?
- Have you considered whether it is an onscreen keyboard or an alternative physical keyboard, which will best suit your needs?
- Is the layout customizable for layout, colour schemes, text font, etc.?
- Consider whether a scanning mode is required.
- What languages does it support?
Manufacturers of On-screen Keyboards
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Did you know? That there are built in on-screen keyboards available for free on your computer. Learn more about the accessibility features of your computer here.
Free/Open Source Software