Lenovo has a long-standing commitment to accessibility initiatives that support Section 508 requirements. Lenovo has enhanced accessibility for users with disabilities with features that go above and beyond the baseline standards. Development, manufacturing, and test processes are created to focus on enabling information access for people with special needs.
Lenovo is widely recognized for its focus on human factors and ergonomics and continues to innovate with products and services offerings to deliver business and customer advantage. For example, Lenovo ThinkVantageTM Technologies and ThinkVantage designs are innovations that do just that — while demonstrating the Lenovo commitment to making notebooks, desktops and accessories easier to use and more comfortable for everyone, including those with special needs. Smart design and intuitive functionality benefit everyone who uses technology, including those with disabilities.
ThinkVantage provides one-touch access to the Lenovo on-system utilities and information. The hierarchical organization of the software simplifies access to a universe of information and function specific to ThinkPad notebooks or ThinkCentre desktops. This helps individuals set up, learn, and better use their systems. Access Lenovo is available on ThinkPad notebooks through one-touch of the dedicated hardware button, and on both ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops through the Start menu and a desktop icon to accommodate multiple preferences.
Access Lenovo includes unique onboard utilities and self-help tools to assist with key tasks and resolution of common system problems. The tools are machine-specific and designed to help save users’ time and reduce the organization’s user-support burden. Access Connections is one of these tools.
When moving from one networking environment to another, such as office to home, Access Connections software enables users to quickly and easily switch among previously defined connectivity settings to match the current network connection environment. It also enables an organization to define and protect these profiles of settings for their users.
Both Access Lenovo and Access Connections help people with disabilities maximize their computing experience. For example, they support interfaces commonly used by screen readers and screen magnifiers (as well as customizable display attributes — color, contrast, font size) that help those with visual impairments make better use of the technology.
Presentation Director is available on all ThinkPad notebooks, making it easy to switch back and forth among display options, using the Fn-F7 keys. This is the case, for example, when working mobile, sighted users typically view the ThinkPad’s display screen. But when working at their own desks, some users dock their notebooks and attach them to larger external display monitors. And, when in a conference room, they may attach to a screen projector to show slides to a group of people. Others are even set up to view multiple monitors concurrently at their desks, extending the visual space available to them. Lenovo’s Presentation Director makes it easy to switch among these display alternatives, without affecting the settings preferred with each display.
Lenovo hardware facilitates access.
ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCentre desktops, ThinkVision™ monitors, and Lenovo keyboards and pointing devices provide a number of comfort and accessibility features — many designed specifically for persons with physical limitations.
Following is a sample of the features found today across the line of ThinkPad notebooks. Where noted, most of these features are also common across the Lenovo keyboard options and Lenovo ThinkVision monitors.
Lenovo keyboards maintain ISO-recommended key travel distance and pressure, enabling the proper key-push feedback to help promote productivity. Control buttons and keys do not require excessive force to use. They meet all industry standards for accessible force profiles, and the button and key layouts require minimal reach and dexterity to operate.
ThinkPad notebooks feature an ISO-standard, full-stroke keyboard, as do the Lenovo keyboards for ThinkCentre desktops. The Esc key, a key you may typically have to look for, is located away from, and is larger than the other keys along the top of all Lenovo keyboards. This makes it easy to locate and activate. The space bars on ThinkPad notebooks is horizontally wider than those found on most other notebooks. This can help users avoid errors due to pressing nearby keys by mistake.
Lenovo offers many keyboard alternatives that can be attached to ThinkPad notebook PCs in addition to ThinkCentre desktop PCs such as the Enhanced Performance USB Keyboard and the USB Keyboard with UltraNav. This enables you to adjust the distance of the keyboard from the visual display, even on a notebook while working at a desk with space to do that. Lenovo also offers a Wireless Enhanced Performance keyboard that provides even greater flexibility in positioning and comfort by eliminating the constraints imposed by cables.
A key-remapping software utility comes with most new ThinkPad notebooks, and enables you to assign other functions to keys. For example, you can assign the Microsoft® Windows® key function to a key on a ThinkPad keyboard, such as the left or right Alt or Ctrl key.
Individual volume control buttons
Dedicated volume control buttons on new ThinkPad notebooks and on most Lenovo keyboards for ThinkCentre desktops let you increase, decrease or mute sound with one button press. These buttons are recessed (as are the Access Lenovo and on/off buttons), and they are designed to be located by touch, without inadvertently activating them.
Tactile volume controls enable users to quickly adjust the volume without having to navigate through software menus.
Internet navigation buttons
The Lenovo Enhanced Productivity keyboards also include two buttons strategically located on the left of the keyboard that can help you navigate backward and forward through Web pages.
A small ridge is included on the arrow keys and the J and F keys on ThinkPad keyboards, as they are on other Lenovo keyboards. These ridges provide hand-positioning cues (J and F keys) and extra traction for users who are blind or who operate their ThinkPad notebook using a hand or mouth stick (arrow keys).
ThinkPad notebook keyboards provide sticky-key support for the Fn (function)-F key combinations, similar to the Microsoft Windows support for the Alt-n and Ctrl-n key combinations. Fn-F key support enables sequential rather than concurrent key presses on ThinkPad notebooks. This Fn-F key support is unique among notebooks across the industry. This means ThinkPad notebook users can use their Alt, Ctrl and Fn key combinations in sequence, instead of in concert (holding down more than one key at the same time). In this way, people with mobility limitations can more easily use these keys and the applications supporting them.
TrackPoint pointing device
This red, eraser-shaped controller, strategically located on the keyboard between the G, H and B keys (along with three click buttons located below the space bar) lets you control the onscreen cursor, navigate software applications and surf the Internet — all without removing your hands from the keyboard.
You can control the TrackPoint pointing device and navigate screen displays by applying pressure on the non-slip controller. Three “click” buttons (located near to where your thumbs would naturally rest) operate like the buttons on a traditional mouse and enable you to select and activate features, display menus, scroll, etc. In addition, the pointer speed and sensitivity can be set, satisfying users who prefer either a firm or a light touch.
Lenovo also offers three TrackPoint cap choices, enabling you to further customize the ThinkPad notebook to fit the way you want to work. Two new shapes developed over two years — soft dome and soft rim — give you a choice of working with the style you find most comfortable. New ThinkPad notebooks ship with all three: a classic cap and one of each of the two new shapes. You can also purchase an Lenovo Track Point cap collection that provides two of each of these caps.
Lenovo ThinkPad UltraNav™ multi-pointing device
All but the smallest Lenovo ThinkPad models also feature the UltraNav device, an example of Lenovo ThinkVantage Design, combining the latest full-function TrackPoint pointing device with a new Lenovo-customized touch pad.
Designed using detailed research and analysis, UltraNav includes the most advanced TrackPoint system to date, a unique Lenovo-customized touch pad from Synaptics, Inc., a world leader in touch-pad technology, and the Lenovo UltraNav Wizard for easy setup and customization.
The Lenovo-customized touch pad includes expertly designed wraparound buttons that have the same touch and feel as the Lenovo TrackPoint buttons for maximum usability. Touch pad corners can be used as “hot buttons” to launch up to four applications or Web sites, and the entire touch pad can be used as a scrolling device.
Having both the TrackPoint and the touch pad enables you to vary your use over the course of a day, or to disable entirely the device that is not your preferred choice. The pointer speed and sensitivity for both can be set, satisfying users who need or prefer a firm or light touch. If you prefer an external keyboard, Lenovo offers a USB Keyboard with UltraNav and a USB Travel Keyboard with UltraNav that provide the same pointing flexibility as the ThinkPad keyboard.
Full-screen magnifier function
By simultaneously pressing the Fn key and the space bar on new ThinkPad models, the screen fonts and objects are instantly enlarged. A second press of the two keys returns the screen to the previous resolution. It’s an easy way to get a quick look at small items on the screen, and may be especially helpful to users with low vision, and to all for very high resolutions. In addition, icon placement settings on the desktop remain as you want them in each resolution rather than re-setting each other’s, when switching back and forth between resolutions. This resolves a key frustration users have when switching back and forth among resolutions using other means.
TrackPoint magnifier function
This is an alternative to the full-screen magnifier function. The TrackPoint cursor focus can be set so that screen contents are shown larger around the periphery of the ThinkPad TrackPoint cursor to help users with low vision.
“Cross-hair cursor” function
This is an alternative visual for the TrackPoint cursor focus that enables its location on the screen to appear more obvious, another enhancement designed to help ThinkPad users with low vision.
ThinkLight™ keyboard light
Working in poor lighting conditions is easier on the eyes, thanks to a light-emitting diode located on the top display edge of ThinkPad notebooks. The tiny Lenovo ThinkLight shines down and illuminates the keyboard. It is easy to turn this on and off via the keyboard, with the Fn and Pg-Up key combination. (The Fn key is the bottom left-most key on the keyboard, and the Pg-Up key is the top right-most key, so they are easy to locate even in the dark.)
Information LEDs (light-emitting diodes)
The status of all locking or toggle controls and keys is visually discernible, as well as discernible through sound, to support users who are hearing or vision impaired. The LEDs are optimally placed, at the bottom of the display/screen on the cover facing you when working at the computer. This makes them easy
Locking latches and easy-open covers
ThinkPad notebook covers are engineered with “smart latches” that make the cover easy to open — even with one hand. Two latches are controlled by a single slider that enables you to open both latches with one hand in a single operation. The latches themselves are considered “smart” because they are designed to keep the cover in the open position when activated to open. The latches will not close with the weight of the cover, they require moderate downward force. This enables you to first open the latches single-handedly with one slide control that works both latches, and then lift the cover with the same hand. Some other single-latch cover designs do not accommodate this easy opening of the latch and lifting of the cover.
In addition, the ThinkPad’s two latches, with a single slide control, provide better protection of the critical electrical connections between the display and the main processor. The design and placement of these latches protect the ThinkPad notebook from bowing over time, as some one-latch systems tend to do because of lateral pressure on the display hinges.
BIOS audio prompts
For additional security, many users will define a power-on password and/or a hard disk drive password. All ThinkPads and some ThinkCentre models can now communicate via sound/tones, to let you know when the appropriate time comes to enter these passwords and to let you know if your entry is successful or correct. Lenovo is the first brand to offer this audio support for BIOS passwords on personal computers.
Industry-standard ports and connectors
All ThinkPad and ThinkCentre computers support industry-standard ports and connectors. This makes them “pluggable” with alternative and assistive input/output devices.
Lenovo Monitors are engineered for accessibility.
Lenovo is equally committed to designing visual products that provide easy access for all users.
ThinkVision monitors are adjustable
Lenovo ThinkVision monitors can be adjusted to fit typical viewing preferences and environmental lighting aspects. The tilt angle of all ThinkVision monitors can be set, and the bases of all Cathode-Ray-Tube (CRT) monitors enable them to swivel left-right without moving the monitor. It is so easy to shift the position of light-weight Liquid-Crystal-Display (LCD) monitors that most flat panel displays do not need swivel bases.
The ergonomic stand that comes with the largest, and high-end flat panel displays keeps the base stationary and enables the monitor to swivel 135 degrees in either direction. In addition, this stand provides smooth lift as well as tilt adjustments, making the height adjustable within an 80mm vertical range (over 3 inches in lift). Users can raise or lower the display in addition to tilting it forward-backward, and swivel it left-right to adjust the viewing level for comfort. (Good ergonomics principles recommend keeping monitors low enough so that the user’s direct horizontal line of sight is not higher than the top of the monitor.)
The Lenovo TFT Radial Arm offers even greater adjustability
For those who like to vary their monitor’s position greatly over the course of the day, or who need to preserve every bit of desk-space possible, the Lenovo radial arm option offer the ultimate in adjustability. This option allows the monitor to “float” above the desk. It can also be tilted flat for tablet position, rotated quickly from landscape to portrait position, and pulled close or pushed away. The radial arm can handle any display up to 20 pounds in weight.
Fast path buttons are provided on all ThinkVision monitors, enabling direct control of the most frequently used settings. These buttons are in the same position across the ThinkVision line, and are labeled with color-coded icons directly above the hardware controls. They provide convenient direct access to power on/off, brightness, automatic image setup and input select. (At the touch of a button, input select allows switching between two computer systems that share the same monitor).
On-screen display design
All ThinkVision monitors feature the Lenovo exclusive on-screen display, which maximizes all their display settings if needed. Going beyond settings tied to physical buttons, this set enables the user to customize all settings that are normally optimized automatically.
The settings for ThinkVision flat panel monitors are automatically optimized, but if you want to adjust them or adjust those on a ThinkVision CRT, there are easily understandable categories with symptomatic descriptions and explanations rather than cryptic labels or icons.
In addition, special accessibility features have been built into Lenovo ThinkVision on-screen displays, enabling the button repeat rate and menu time out length to be customized to allow for varying human response times.
Multiple monitor configurations
Lenovo monitors can also be used in multiple-monitor configurations. For example, by expanding the software desktop view across two monitors, you can make it easier to compare, move, and update information across applications, reducing the workload on human memory.
Multiple monitor setups can be used with ThinkPad notebook computers and with ThinkCentre desktop computers (with a video adapter). For example, Lenovo’s Presentation Director software makes it easier to set up and use an external monitor with a ThinkPad display, extending the software desktop across both the ThinkPad display screen and the external monitor, to display multiple open applications side by side. This can also be especially useful to people who prefer to use a full monitor when desk side, enabling them greater flexibility in positioning their keyboard and monitor positions related to each other.
Audio controls for ThinkVision monitors
A speaker bezel with tactile volume controls is available as an accessory for many Lenovo ThinkVision monitors. This enables users to quickly adjust volume without having to navigate through software menus.
Note: Accessible hardware buttons for volume control are also provided on ThinkPad keyboards and on most Lenovo keyboard options, for example, on the Lenovo Enhanced Performance USB keyboard.
All Lenovo documentation is available in an accessible format.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How does a user determine if a specific Lenovo product is accessible before purchase?
Request a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) on the accessibility link found at the bottom of the products page of http://www.lenovo.com. If the specific product name is not in the list, simply type the name in the other box. The requested VPAT will be sent to your email address in 1-3 business days. The VPAT document details which of the specific Section 508 requirements the product meets.
Is it possible for a person with special needs to receive a free system from Lenovo?
Lenovo does not have a program which allows it to make donation of hardware or software to individuals at this time.
What if a user has a specific question about how a Lenovo product can be used by a person with special needs?
Any accessibility question can be asked on the accessibility link found at the bottom of the products page of http://www.lenovo.com. Your question will be forwarded to the developers who designed the product. Please allow several days for a response because Lenovo has developers in several countries around the world.
Here is the site:
What should I do if I have a question not answered here?
Please e-mail your question to compliance@Lenovo.com.