Why customising a computer is important

Every computer user is an individual – different sizes, shapes, heights, weights, ages, etc. Yet the computer we may spend hours on each day is set up to meet the needs of an amorphous average person, all sat at the same desk, using the same chair and with the same reach and grip.

We spend more time choosing a kettle than we do choosing a set up for our computer which might reduce discomfort, enable access or make us more productive.

This service is about making your computer suit your needs - instead of expecting you to conform to the average.

All of us - IT staff, those who support computer users, and individual users themselves - can easily learn a few simple things to customise their computer set up.

Making the computer work for you is at the core of this service. We will explore how to overcome any problems caused by the display - from struggling to see the text to getting sore eyes through overuse. We will also look at how you can make your keyboard and mouse suit you - reducing any discomfort and helping you to make fewer mistakes when typing. Finally we will look at how you can use the things built into your computer to help you read when you find reading lots of text difficult.

To use this service click on each of the areas of need and work through some of the exercises to find a computer set up that suits you. But before that you might be interested to hear what some other users have said in recommending the importance of making the computer accessible:

  • "When I work and play on my computer, I can forget my disabilities and concentrate solely on my capabilities. Instead of staring out of the window watching the world go by without me, I can travel, shop and go to the cinema all in the same day. Now that's what I call progress."
  • "Before (adapting my computer) all I could usefully do was answer the phone. Now, with the right equipment, nothing is a problem, whether I'm preparing accounts, writing letters or drawing up technical specifications."
  • Anna experimented with a number of modifications to the standard presentation of data on the screen. Changing the background colour and the default font and spacing were helpful and made reading much easier. She goes onto say, “I am a totally different person now with new aspirations and ambitions.”
  • "Using standard computer kit required a lot of effort and was becoming very stressful. The new equipment allows me to work faster and more productively - I make far fewer mistakes and therefore feel more relaxed in my job ... I am a lot more at ease, both physically and psychologically, and significantly more productive at work."

The adaptations and tailoring used by all these people were often not complex, many involved using software and settings which will be on your computer. This site will give you the knowledge to change your computer from being the creature in the corner into “My computer, my way!!!”

This service is only a beginning in helping those who find using a computer difficult. There is much more information to be found on the main AbilityNet website. Or you can access our other personal and corporate services by calling our helpline on 0800 269545, or e-mail us at enquiries@abilitynet.org.uk