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Accommodations for people with low vision include providing seating where the lighting best meets their individual needs; making brochures, job announcements, and other information available in electronic format; and equipping computers with large monitors and screen enlargement software.

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Accessibility - There’s an app for that

People with vision loss often know which restaurants serve good food and are in buildings that are accessible. They know where the wait staff is efficient and friendly and know how to serve customers with disabilities. These are the places that get their business.

But technology has made dining out even better for people with vision loss. A writer who posts on accessibility for people with visual impairments tells an interesting story about dining out with his blind friends. He, himself, is now legally blind because of a debilitating retina condition.

Years ago they resorted to asking the wait person about the day’s specials because they couldn’t read the menu. It was a game of 20 questions. Then, they progressed to using the internet to look up menus at home, using talking screen technology. It was an improvement, but if they forgot some of the details from the menu, they were back to asking questions.

Recently, a friend showed him how he uses his new iPhone to look up the restaurant’s menu and hear the details in real time through the VoiceOver feature. Now he can go back over the menu while making up his mind about what to order. And if the wait person leaves a written bill on the table, the iPhone comes in handy again. A customer can take a photo of the bill with her iPhone and use an ap to ask a distant web worker what the total is.

New technologies are bringing improvements that have been unheard of throughout human history. The result is that more people than ever can be full participants in society.