What is assistive technology?

Last updated: October 26, 2022

Assistive technology (AT) is an umbrella term covering the systems and services related to assistive products. Both people with and without disabilities use AT. For example, speech recognition software (like Siri or Alexa) is a form of AT.

Types of assistive technology

The most common AT used for accessing digital content are:

  • Screen readers: software applications that read digital content aloud. Screen readers are essential for people who are blind, but are also useful for people with low vision, low literacy or learning disabilities.
  • Screen magnifiers: software applications that increase the size of text and graphics on your computer screen. Screen magnifiers are typically used by people with low vision.
  • Voice recognition: systems that enable users to interact with technology by speaking to it. They're often used by people with limited motor skills but are also useful for people with learning disabilities or low vision.
  • Keyboard navigation: allows users to navigate through content using only their keyboard. Keyboard navigation is one of the most important aspects of web accessibility. It allows people with motor disabilities or who are blind to navigate content.

Other examples of assistive technology include but are not limited to:

  • Mobility aids such as wheelchairs, scooters and walkers
  • Hearing aids
  • Canes
  • Prosthetics

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