Laptops and other computers have become a vital part of daily life. Millions of people spend all day at work looking at a computer screen, and then come home to do more of the same. Screens, particularly LCD panels, are everywhere. They are so common that very few people leave the house without at least one, and most households have dozens of devices that rely on the technology. Screens have become ubiquitous, and that puts the visually impaired at even more of a disadvantage in modern society. In a world that relies on screens the way today's society does, any difficulty in using one spills over into every facet of the person's life. It is almost impossible to go to school or hold a good job without a laptop. This is why it is so important for those who do have visual impairment issues to make sure they have a laptop screen or LCD panel they can work with.
Understanding The User's Visual Impairment
The first step for any user concerned with finding the right laptop screen or LCD panel to help with their visual impairment is to understand their own needs and requirements. Not everyone has the same issues, and so what may work well for one person may not work at all for another. Some people may simply need larger text, while others may have issues with glare or colour blindness of a nature that causes them to require different combinations of colour for contrast than the majority of the population. Many of these factors can be controlled by the computer or its operating system, but there are other factors that depend on the physical nature of the screen.
Nature of LCD Technology
There are two things to remember about LCD technology in comparison to the older CRT technology it replaced. The first is that it provides a constant image rather than a flickering one. CRT screens have to redraw the entire image several times a second, while an LCD screen provides a constant image. The other factor is that an LCD screen relies on fixed pixels, unlike CRT screens where the pixels can be drawn in a wide range of sizes. The most important result of this is that a CRT screen has much greater flexibility when it comes to resolution support because it does not have a native resolution based on the number of physical pixel elements that make up the screen.
Screen Coatings and Visual Impairment
One concern for many users with visual impairment is the difficulty of dealing with glare. Glare turns a screen into a mirror, and a person with visual impairment can have a difficult time distinguishing what is meant to be shown on the screen from all the reflections. The easiest way to deal with this on a physical level is to look for a laptop or LCD panel which has a matte rather than a glossy coating. The matte coating works to absorb reflections, greatly reducing the chances of the screen acting as a mirror. This cuts down on the visual complexity seen by the user, and makes it much easier for them to pick out details.
Screen Stands for LCD Panels
The way a screen is mounted is also important, particularly for users who are relying on separate LCD panels rather than laptops. Using the right stand ensures that the user can position the screen in such a way that they can both minimise the effects of glare and bring the screen into a position where they are best able to see it.
Screen Size and Visual Impairment
The bigger something is, the easier it is to see and so consumers with a significant degree of visual impairment generally benefit from having a larger monitor as it can display things at a greater size. The one caveat that comes with this is that a larger LCD screen tends to have more pixels and a higher resolution than a smaller one. While a high resolution may sound beneficial, it does come at a cost because the greater the number of pixels in a given area, the smaller any given pixel becomes. This means that large high-resolution screens are designed to produce a large number of very small images, which is exactly what a person with visual impairment does not want. They need to see larger images, not smaller ones and so they can usually benefit by setting the screen resolution as low as the panel can support.
Other Solutions for the Visually Impaired
It is important to remember that it is not just the physical screen or panel that matters for the person with visual impairment. They can also look to other solutions which can be used in combination with the existing hardware in order to get the most benefit for the user. Human vision is extremely complex, and so it responds to complex solutions.
Modern computer operating systems are designed to support both those with normal vision and those with visual impairment. Most have the option for high-contrast settings and large text, both of which can make it much easier for people with visual impairment to use the screen comfortably. Many systems also allow the owner to set their own colour scheme so that they can arrange the specific colours to match their own visual limitations. This is particularly important for those who suffer from colour blindness as they can arrange a specific scheme that plays to their visual strengths rather than one that blends everything together, at least according to their eyes. Screen reading software is also available, but this is not always an appropriate solution as it requires that the user be able to hear what is being said, which creates its own problems.
The other option to consider is buying accessories to work with the existing laptop screen or LCD panel in order to make it easier for people with impaired vision to use. One of the most common options is a magnifier, which makes everything a little bigger for the user. While this makes everything easier to see, which can be a great advantage for laptops with their relatively small screens, it is not a good choice for anyone needing to transport the computer regularly as the magnifier has to be removed before the laptop can be closed for transport. It works but is not the most practical solution in most cases.
As the software is available on almost all computers and accessory solutions can often add other issues, the solution that remains is to buy a screen that can provide the most assistance to the visually impaired. The following table shows the three main factors to consider:
Reduces glare and reflections on the screen
Allows the panel to be placed for best viewing
Increased screen size allows for greater magnification
The key to remember is that all of these factors work in concert with the software solutions built into the computer's operating system. The computer settings enable the user to set the font size and colour to meet their own personal needs, and then the screen itself enables them to get the most out of those settings.
Buying a Laptop Screen or LCD Panel to Help the Visually Impaired on eBay
eBay is an excellent place to find all the laptop screens and LCD panels you need regardless of yours or the intended user's visual impairment. All you need to do is put your requirements into the search box, which you can find on any eBay page, and watch the results appear. You can also use the filters built into the sidebar to narrow your results down to just the screens or stands you are interested in, whether by brand or even price range. Once you have the results narrowed down, you can use the sort function to ensure the ones that best fit your needs appear at the top of the screen.
After you have found the right laptop screen or LCD panel to meet your requirements, the next step is to find a seller. The place to do that is their profile page, where you can see everything from their feedback to location. Some sellers may bundle LCD panels with accessories, while others may allow local purchasers to avoid shipping charges and pick up their purchase in person.
The key to finding the right laptop screen or LCD panel for a visually impaired user starts with understanding that user's needs. That knowledge is what makes it possible for the buyer to make the necessary informed decisions to buy the right products for their specific needs and circumstances. Whenever possible, buyers should consider matte screens as they produce less glare, making them much easier for people with reduced vision to deal with as there is less information for them to process. Good stands are also helpful, as they allow the user to place the screen where they can see it best, which may not be at the normal viewing distance. Larger screen sizes are also helpful for people with visual impairment, as they enable them to use larger fonts more easily. By paying attention to these factors, as well as the settings of the computer's operating system, the right screen can make a computer a practical tool for the visually impaired.