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Help for the Aging Workforce...From Microsoft

Techstination feature for Friday, February 13, 2004

Help for the aging workforce. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates turns 50 next year. The company doesn't give that as a reason... ..but it has created a new Aging Workforce Campaign. It's designed to give people who are finding it harder to see the type on their computer screens some help. Ellen Mosner is a Microsoft accessibility expert...

"Computers are so much an integral part of our work life, our home life, our recreation even... and we're all experiencing the inevitable physiological changes due to the aging process."

The most common change, perhaps, is the ability to see what's on the computer screen the way you used to. Mosner says some simple settings changes can ease those difficulties...

"For example, Internet explorer, Microsoft Office, Windows certainly, have settings in it that you can enlarge what appears on your screen. So you're enlarging the fonts and the icons and the text that appears. Or if there's a certain area of the screen that you want to look more closely at, you can turn on the magnifier."

One of the accessibility options in Windows. For people having difficulty with wrist or finger pain... there are special keyboards and pointing devices available. There are also specialized displays for people with more advanced vision problems. Microsoft isn't alone. Nokia, for instance, is introducing cell phones with displays designed to be seen more easily by aging eyes. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.