5 Reasons why a Mac Is a Great choice for a Blind Student
If you live with sight loss, going to a new college or university can bring a host of new experiences and challenges. Stressing over your assistive technology should not be one of them. The inevitable question will arise: What computing platform should you choose for your academics? Mac or Windows?
If you’re blind, in a hurry and want to get to the meat of this article, the correct choice is a Mac. Now here’s why.
1. Cost vs. Benefits
If you’re a time-crunched student who has to sort out accessible books, travel, classes and other school concerns, you want a computer that saves you time. Macs do this by bundling all of the needed software with the machine. In addition to VoiceOver and Zoom, Macs come with built-in productivity tools such as Pages, Numbers and Keynote. These apps are accessible right away and there’s no need to install anything else to get them to work with the assistive technology.
The trade-off is cost. Yes, Macs can be more expensive in the short term, but the alternative is buying a PC, paying for an installing a screen reader, paying for and installing productivity apps and configuring the machine to your liking. When all is said and done, you may actually lose time installing and configuring extra software whereas with a Mac, you can simply turn the machine on and start working right away.
2. The Apple Ecosystem
When you buy any Apple product, you’re jumping into the Apple ecosystem. Macs, iPhones, Air Pods, Home Pods and iCloud all work together seamlessly. This is another time saver if you’re a blind student looking to have everything work the first time with no let downs. This not only lets you focus on your studies, but you are creating an ecosystem of products that can grow as you purchase Apple products down the road.
3. Low Maintenance
It’s 2 in the morning and you’ve got a major paper due in 7 hours. As you’re settling into your writing flow, do you want to be interrupted with reminders to defragment your hard drive, scan for viruses and check for malware? Macs are known for their easy-to-use interfaces and low maintenance requirements. When you’re in school, you don’t need the extra distraction.
Further, VoiceOver gets updated when macOS does, so there is no need to worry about installing drivers, patches or fixes. VoiceOver will even recognize refreshable braille displays simply by plugging them into your Mac.
In the past, blind students often had to rely on specialized (and ugly) equipment to take notes or use a calculator. Today, the most inexpensive Mac can do all of this and much more. The days of specialized and expensive equipment for the blind student is over. Today, it’s easy to collaborate with classmates on a Pages document, exchange Excel and PowerPoint slides with a teacher or even share musical ideas in Garage Band.
If you’re a blind student, having a computer that just works can make the difference between missing a deadline for a term paper and handing it in before everyone else. Macs break down less often, have rock solid security features and are extremely fast and responsive. VoiceOver users can easily and quickly use large spreadsheets, write code or even edit audio without freezing or laggy performance. This can often make you the most efficient Mac user in the class.
Macs are the right choice for the blind student who simply wants to get work done without having to worry about the technology hindering their academic performance. There is a ton of online support for blind and low vision Mac users including how-to guides, podcasts and videos.