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Is Windows 8 a Good Choice for Someone with Vision Loss?

July 25, 2013 | Leave a Comment

by David Flament, Manager of Adaptive Technology at Second Sense

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David Flament

I have been getting asked a lot about two things that are very closely tied together. One question is “Should I get Windows 8?” The other is, “Should I get a tablet instead of a laptop?”

Let’s start with Windows 8

Windows 8 is the newest Microsoft operating system. It is primarily designed for touch screen devices such as tablets. As a result, it is not as keyboard friendly as older versions of Windows. Tasks that were quickly performed in older versions take much longer in Windows 8. In switching to Windows 8 from a previous version, you will find that more is unfamiliar than familiar. Basically, you will need to learn to use the computer all over again.

Windows 8.1 is due out later this year and there is still much speculation about what it will be like. One camp thinks that Microsoft will bring back some of the Windows 7 look and feel for desktop users while another camp thinks Microsoft will move further towards touch screens with a Metro style file manager. The latter seems to be the most likely.

Either way, Windows 8 is a much different experience on a touch screen device like a tablet than it is on a desktop/laptop computer.

Should you consider a tablet?

So why would Microsoft change Windows in such a dramatic fashion after many people thought they had gotten closer than ever to creating a perfect operating system for desktop computers in Windows 7? Perhaps it is because Microsoft, as with most of the rest of the technology community, sees touch screen devices as the future of personal computing.

I have found that more and more of the tasks I need to complete get done by my iPhone rather than my desktop computer. I also find that my iPhone is performing tasks I had always wished my desktop computer would be able to perform.

Another sign of the changing times is how many young adults going to college are asking for tablets rather than laptops. As our Apple tutors become overwhelmed with requests for their time, we are already planning for our organization to transition from classes taught on desktop computers to classes taught on touch screen tablets.

So now you may be wondering, what is the right choice for me? It really boils down to what your needs are:

  • A Windows 8 based touch screen device is probably the least accessible choice you can make. So, unless you must have MS Office before 2014 I would steer clear of these devices.
  • Android based touch screen devices are accessible. At least some of them are and most of them can be made accessible, but are fairly techie.
  • Your best choice may be an Apple touch screen device. Apple touch screen devices such as the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch are accessible right out of the box.

If you would like to learn more about Apple touch screen devices, contact us to schedule an appointment with Micky Holdsworth or Jose Nonato, our Apple tutors. They are available for appointments here at Second Sense on Tuesdays.

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