Lots of websites and devices bury their accessibility features deep down in random menus, making it difficult to find if you’re looking for them, and a whole new world if you stumble upon them. We’ve dug out some accessibility options to make your experience with tech, social media, and falling down a Wikipedia rabbit hole a little easier to access.

Twitter’s Dim and Lights Out options

Many people experience sensitivity to light, and for some people with visual impairments, it’s easier to see words on a darker background than on bright white. For some, reading dark text on white backgrounds can cause eye strain, too – that’s why a lot of websites made with accessibility in mind don’t use black text, but instead use a darker grey, as this reduces eye strain for many. If you find Twitter difficult to look at, don’t worry, the website’s design can be changed a little to better suit your needs!

If you head to your profile on the desktop app, you’ll see the “more” option on the left side of the screen, above the option to write a tweet. In here, you’ll find your display options. You can change the size of the text on the app, and the colour of your profile. At the bottom of the options, you’ll see three options: default, dim, and lights out. They’ll make the screen dim or dark, depending on your needs. Dim is a dark grey, while lights out will make your screen completely black.

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You can also do something similar that’ll affect your entire computer, not just one website using one very simple app, too. Mac and Windows users who struggle with eye strain can download F.Lux, a great little application which gradually dims your screen over time to prevent your eyes straining. It filters out the blue light which keeps you awake and hurts your eyes, and follows the pattern of the sunrise and sunset to align the light from your computer with the level of sunlight that should be naturally occurring. The app has a cinema mode and a “working late” option too, so you can change it depending on your productivity.

Accessibility on iOS

Accessibility options on iPhone

Our phones are loaded with accessibility options, but unless you’re on the hunt for them, you may not even realise they’re there. For example, did you know that if you press and hold the little emoji button on your iPhone’s keyboard, you’ll be presented with the option to align the keyboard to the left- or right-hand side to make it easier to type with one hand? You can also add a number of Bluetooth devices which will allow you to control the phone more easily, such as a supported mouse or keyboard.

By activating the zoom feature in the accessibility options, you can tap your home screen with three fingers and be presented with a huge number of options, including inverting or greyscaling your screen, zooming in on apps and text, and activating low light mode. Your iPhone will also allow you to make changes like auto answering calls, using mono sound to ensure you can hear it clearly, offers noise reduction (which is extremely handy if background noise is offputting to you), and so much more. Also, if you’re an Apple Watch user, you can change your pedometre to calculate the distance you’ve travelled by wheelchair if that applies to you!

Making Wikipedia work for Everyone

Accessible wikipedia through recording and the Simple English Wikipedia

Wikipedia can be a tricky website to look at for a long time, and the information can be difficult to digest, especially if you struggle with contrast or concentration. In that respect, the Simple English Wikipedia is brilliant for getting the gist of things. If you’re looking for a long-read, but your eyes are sore or your screen reader is letting you down, Wikipedia has a slew of brilliant articles which have been recorded for you to listen to, and it’s being updated all the time.

You can listen to a brilliant article about the Museum of Bad Art, the theory of colour, the English custom of wife selling, the brilliant video game Grim Fandango, or the frankly incredible sentence: “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” amongst hundreds of others. There are over 1,500 spoken articles, and you can even download a massive file of them and listen to them in your own time!

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