AAC in the Sunlight...How Do You See It?

Aug 8, 2023

Have you noticed your communicator struggling to see the screen of their AAC device while outdoors? Does the screen appear black even when it is turned on in sunlight? This is a frequent problem that can be resolved by a quick adjustment.

Device screens do not turn off or turn black when in sunlight. Instead, the sunlight is often brighter than the screen. Thus, the sunlight washes out the screen brightness causing the communicator to be unable to see the screen.

The key is to make the screen of the device brighter than the sunlight so that the communicator can see the screen while in the sunlight. There are a few ways you can do so:

  • increase the screen brightness - increase the brightness of the device screen in the device settings. The screen brightness must be brighter than the sunlight brightness to see the screen while in the sun.
  • wear a dark-colored shirt - light-colored shirts reflect the sunlight onto the device screen causing the screen brightness to wash out. Wearing a darker-colored shirt can minimize this reflection and make the screen easier to see in the sun.
  • position the device screen out of direct sunlight – have the communicator sit facing the sun instead of sitting with their back toward the sun so that the sunlight is not hitting the device screen or have them sit in the shade.  Consider bringing along an umbrella to help shade the screen and keep the screen easier to see.

These adjustments are applicable year-round, including on warm summer and spring days or on sunny and crisp fall and winter days!

Looking at a screen in the sunlight is straining on the eyes and can cause the device to overheat. Short periods of time using the AAC device outdoors is best, but if the communicator is going to be outside in the sun for a long time, it is best to use a light-tech board.

Using electronic AAC outside is possible, but it requires some extra thought and planning to ensure that the communicator has full access to their AAC device.

Hannah Foley

Empowering Teams of Those With Complex Communication Needs Through Support and Implementation