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Lexmark features aid visually impaired users

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Lexmark International has unveiled two features designed to provide people with visual impairments easier access to its range of printers and multi-function printers (MFPs).
By default, printers and MFPs display the status of the device on the operator panel and are configured and interacted with from that point. For a user with a visual impairment, this can create significant challenges in the operation of the printer or the MFP.
The first new feature is the Accessibility Solution for MFPs. This new tool allows users to accomplish nearly all the same tasks available on the touch-screen panel of an MFP from another device. This is done through Web-based software that helps users access the MFP from a network-connected computer or handheld device, including those specifically designed for disabled users.
This enables visually impaired users to set up copy, fax, e-mail, FTP and scan jobs directly from their workstation, rather than requiring the use of the MFP’s touch-screen display.
Users simply set up the desired task on the workstation through their assistive technology software product – of which Lexmark is compatible with most. The document job is then assigned a job number displayed on the workstation screen, and the job parameters are sent to the MFP.
The user then goes to the MFP, enters the job number using the accessible number keypad, and the completed document task is performed.
The second new feature is the Lexmark Accessibility Speech solution, which provides audio feedback, allowing the printer and MFP to ‘talk’ to the user and provide updates on the printer status and commands.
An associated recorded audio file is related to each action and job. This saves time and empowers sight-disabled users to understand the status of print jobs on Lexmark printers and MFPs. Lexmark has developed default messages but these can also be fully customised for each user if desired.
“The Lexmark Accessibility Solution was developed to meet the needs of our visually impaired customers,” says Mark Hiller, Lexmark GM South Africa.
“These applications are specifically designed to help those with visual impairments to work with technology that to this point has been unavailable to them. This also gives users the ability to manage documents and automate paper intensive tasks, using audio feedback and the ability to manage and control these devices through an interface better designed to meet their requirements.”