Friday, December 30, 2011

ChromeVis: Free Tool for Chrome Users With Low Vision


ChromeVis is a simple Chrome extension for users with low vision. ChromeVis is simple to use and has many customization options. To use ChromeVis highlight the text you want magnified and then click on the ChromeVis icon in the top right of your Chrome window. To customize the appearance of ChromeVis right click on its icon and select options. To download ChromeVis for free click here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

TextGrabber: Fast, Cheap, Accurate OCR app for iPhone


TextGrabber is a low cost OCR app for iPhone that quickly and accurately converts printed text into digital text that can be edited or read aloud using text-to-speech. Click here to download TextGrabber. The app is easy to use. Snap a photo of the text you want to read then crop the photo and finally read the text. TextGrabber only takes a few seconds to convert the printed text into a digital format. Once the text has been recognized you can have it read aloud to you using VoiceOver. TextGrabber can also translate captured text into many languages. One negative of TextGrabber is it does not have built in text-to-speech,  or Speak Selection, a new iOS 5 feature, does not work. In day-to-day use I found that TextGrabber and ZoomReader offer similar OCR speed and accuracy. To improve the accuracy turn on the flash while taking the picture. TextGrabber does not feature built in text-to-speech with highlighting while ZoomReader does not offer a cropping tool for removing unwanted text. To read more about ZoomReader click here. Click read more below to see screen shots and examples of TextGrabber in action,including a step- by -step depiction of TextGrabber converting a newspaper article.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Add Quick Text-to-Speech Button to Microsoft Word



Microsoft Word has a hidden text-to-speech button built in. To access add the text-to-speech button to the quick access tool bar click on the down arrow in the top left corner of the screen. Next click on more commands and then click on all commands from the drop down menu. Finally click on speak from the list and then press add. To use the text-to-speech feature select the text you wish to have read and click on the text-to-speech button you just added to the top left corner of the screen. The text will be read allowed instantly. Click the button again to stop the text-to-speech. Watch the video above to learn more. Click read more below for step by step instructions.

Monday, December 26, 2011

iOS 5 Tips: Use Assistive Touch to Replace a Broken Home Button, Lock Button or Volume Button


Assistive Touch is a new feature in iOS 5 that allows people with physical disabilities to better use their iOS device. To learn more about AssistiveTouch click here. To enable Assistive Touch go to Settings>General> Accessibility>Assistive Touch and then turn on Assistive Touch. A small round white button will then appear on your screen. When you touch the white button a list of commands will appear including a software home button, lock button and volume up and down button. You can now use these software buttons to replace your broken home button or any other broken buttons. You can drag the white button to different places on the screen for your convenience. Watch the video below to learn more.



Thursday, December 22, 2011

iOS 5 Tip: Look Up Any Word


A new feature in iOS 5 allows you to get a definition of any word from any app. To get a definition of a word simply select the word by holding down on it for a couple of seconds and then tap define. A dictionary will appear with that word defined. When you are done tap done to return to your app.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

iOS 5 Tips: Reader Eliminates Distractions



A new feature in iOS 5 called Reader makes reading articles on the web much easier. Many articles on the web are hard to read on the iPhone and iPod Touch's small screen. Reader also works on the iPad. To read the articles you must zoom in and deal with distractions such as advertisements. Reader solves this problem by taking out the advertisements and formatting the text perfectly. To activate Reader simply tap the Reader button in the address field. The address field is where you type the website address. After pressing the Reader button the article will appear perfectly formatted for your screen. To change the size of the text simply press the text size button in the top left of the screen then tap on the little A to make the text smaller and the big A to make the text bigger. When you are done reading the article simply tap done to continue to browse the web. Reader can enlarge the font substantially to assist people that have trouble reading small print. Click read more below to see more screen shots.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Google Dictionary Defines Any Word on the Web




Google Dictionary is a free extension available for Google Chrome. To download the extension click here. Once downloaded simply double click on any word on a web page to view its definition or hear the word read aloud. Google Dictionary is perfect for quickly looking up unfamiliar words. To learn about other Chrome extensions click here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Great List of Apps to Support Literacy


Greg O'Connor has put together a great list of apps for literacy support on spectronicsinoz.com. To view the list click here. The list is broken into categories reading support, OCR, writing and notetaking support, mind mapping, organizational and study support and reference. Check out the list here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

iBooks Update Adds Useful New Features


Apple recently updated its iBooks app to add more add more features and make reading easier. One of features adds a night time reading theme to make reading in the dark easier on you eyes. The new update also add several new fonts and makes highlighting and taking notes easier. Yet another new feature allows you to read your book in full screen mode. iBooks is available here for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

iOS 5 Camera Accessibility



iOS 5 introduced many new accessibility features including Assistive Touch, Siri and Speak Selection. One hidden feature gives blind and visually impaired the ability to take pictures with VoiceOver and the built in camera on the iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone. Your iOS device will tell you how many people are in your picture and if the people are in the center of the screen so you can get the best shot. This is just on feature in a growing list of iOS accessibility features.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Android Becomes More Accessible With 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich





Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has improved the accessibility of Android. Ice Cream Sandwich is not available on all Android devices but will become more widespread through out the coming months. Google has added a feature to Android called Explore-By-Touch. The new built in screen reader allows users to navigate on screen items without seeing the screen. The new addition will enable disabled users to use the many thousands of Android devices. While Google is attempting to compete with Apple's iOS software in accessibility the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch still offer more accessibility options for disabled users. To learn more about VoiceOver click here.