How does screen magnification software work?

The term “Low Vision” refers to a wide range of vision issues. Not just clarity and range of vision, but can also refer to difficulty with things like brightness and contrast, colour perception, scanning for information, relative size and smoothness of text, and more. “Screen Magnification”, and its related features are used to provide a range of solutions to help these individuals access information. With the increasing aging population in today’s society, age-related low vision is also on the rise.

Illustration: Profile shot of user with headphones

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“… they allow people with vision issues to access information, make choices and conduct their lives, education and business needs in a barrier-free manner.”

Screen magnification users rely on features and adjustments in their chosen products in order to complete tasks like finding and consuming information, conducting business, viewing videos and presentations, participating in educational opportunities, and more. Screen magnification software allows the user to increase and decrease the magnification of text and images to varying degrees. With some magnification software allowing the user to increase magnification on the screen in increments from 1x magnification all the way up to 36x magnification. Many screen magnification software programs also have features that allow users to adjust for other components affected by low vision.  

Common screen magnification features

In addition to the common magnification adjustments, here are some other features that are common with screen magnification software that allow users to adjust based on their specific needs.

  • Mouse pointer: It is common to provide ways to mark the mouse pointer location, such as with large crosshairs or a surrounding circle as well as the pointer’s size, and color.
  • Typing cursor: The typing cursor can be very difficult to find, so a feature to mark the typing “I beam” with adjustable size and color marks helps to provide ease in location and contrast.
  • Adjustable indicators: Adjustable indication for focus of on-screen objects, like a frame around active controls, or areas of content that may be read by a computer’s speech synthesizer. This helps with orientation, especially when a combination of screen magnification and screen reader software are being used. 
  • Brightness and contrast: