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Assistive Technologies

Dedicated Pod 

Use of the Pod (a dedicated space for assistive technologies in Learning Pod 1) is on a first-come-first-served basis for users with special needs. You will be issued a key card to enter this room.

Learning Pod 1 at Level 3, Right Wing of the NIE Library

The following hardware is in the dedicated Pod (Learning Pod 1):

  1. Laptop (Windows OS 7)
  2. Large Screen Computer Monitor 
  3. Large-Print Keyboard and Mouse
  4. Scanner
  5. Speakers
  6. Flat Screen TV

Note: Please request assistance if you need to use a Macbook (Mac OS X) or a visualiser (print magnifier).

Laptop (Windows OS 7)

 

Built-in Accessibility Features:

  1. Narrator (screen reader)
  2. Magnifier (screen magnifier)

View the Windows OS 7 accessibility guide for instructions on how to activate Narrator, Magnifier and other built-in accessibility features in Windows.

Installed Software:

  1. Lightning Express (for Windows) is a free screen magnifier that provides full or partial screen magnification but has to be downloaded or run from its website every day. View instructions on how to use Lightning Express.
  2. NaturalReader (for Windows) is a free text-to-speech software that can read Word Documents, PDFs, emails, and information from websites. View instructions on how to use NaturalReader.
  3. Window-Eyes (for Windows) is a screen reader and text-to-speech software that is available freely for users of Microsoft Office 2010 and above. View basic instructions on how to use Window-Eyes to read text.
  4. Adobe Acrobat X Pro is a PDF convertor with OCR technology that can convert scanned documents and images to PDFs, and PDFs to editable Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files. It also has a text-to-speech function. Find out more about manipulating documents using Adobe Acrobat X Pro for better accessibility.
  5. Ubuntu 12.04 Operating System with Gnome Desktop (installed in external USB flashdrive) is an open-source operating system with built-in accessibility features such as Orca screen reader and Zoom magnification. View instructions on how to activate Orca, Zoom and other built-in accessibility Features in Ubuntu OS.
 

Macbook (Mac OS X)

Built-in Accessibility Features:

  1. VoiceOver (screen reader and text-to-speech software)
  2. Zoom (screen magnification)

View the Mac OS X accessibility guide for instructions on how to activate VoiceOver, Zoom and other built-in accessibility features.

Installed Software:

  1. NaturalReader (for Mac) is a free text-to-speech software that can read Word Documents, PDFs, emails, and information from websites. View instructions on how to use NaturalReader.
  2. Adobe Acrobat X Pro is a PDF convertor with OCR technology that can convert scanned documents and images to PDFs, and PDFs to editable Word files. It also has a text-to-speech function. Find out more about manipulating documents using Adobe Acrobat X Pro for better accessibility.

Browser Accessibility Features

When surfing the net, your browser settings can be manipulated to enlarge the text and/or images on the webpages. To zoom in, the standard keys are Control+Equal (or Press the Control key and scroll up using your mouse). To reset back to normal, press Control+0. In particular, we recommend the use of Firefox browser as there are many accessibility features and extensions in Firefox to make the browser and web content accessible to low vision users such as TextZoom, Theme Font & Size Changer and Reader.

View the Firefox accessibility guide to find out more about TextZoom, Theme Font & Size Changer and Reader.

 

E-book Accessibility Features

We provide access to a large number of e-books from a range of platforms. E-books offer features that increase accessibility over print materials, such as text enlargement and read aloud features.

We recommend that users with screen readers use the Ebrary QuickView text-only mode or download the full e-book for Ebrary and Dawsonera e-books.

Our e-Book accessibility webpage highlights the main accessibility features of two of our major platforms, Ebrary and Dawsonera.

Tips for Manipulating Documents 

 

Digitising Printed Documents
Printed documents and book chapter pages can be digitised into image files using the scanner in the Accessible Pod (Learning Pod 1) at Level 3. The image files can then be converted into PDFs using the Adobe PDF conversion tool available in Adobe Acrobat X.

To convert an image file into a PDF, open Adobe Acrobat X Pro, go to File, click on “Create PDF from File” and select the image file from the folder you have saved it in.

View the digitising guide for instructions on how to digitise printed documents using the scanner in the Accessible Pod (Learning Pod 1) at Level 3.

Enlarging and Reading of Digital Text
To enlarge the text in PDF, click on the percentage view tab in Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader and select the degree of magnification you require.

Once created into an editable PDF file, the text can be read using Adobe Reader’s Read Out Loud feature, NaturalReader, Window-Eyes (Windows) or VoiceOver (Mac)

Magnifying Printed Documents

Printed text or images can be viewed in higher magnification by connecting a visualiser--available upon request--to the large screen computer monitor or flat-screen TV in the Accessible Pod. 

Editing of Digital Text

PDFs can also be converted to an editable WORD document. To save a PDF file into plain text, open the file in Adobe Acrobat X Pro, go to “File” and click on the option to “Save As”, select “Microsoft Word”, and choose either “Word Document” or “Word 97-2003 Document”.

Configuring Adobe Acrobat X Pro / Reader for Full Text and PDF Navigation 
When searching in databases for journal articles, some full text may display as browser-embedded PDFs, which makes it difficult for screen reader users that rely on tabbing to navigate within browser web pages. To have an alternative access to a more integrated user experience of the full text and browser controls, Adobe Acrobat / Reader must first be configured to display PDFs in a separate window, not embedded within the browser. To configure the settings in Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat, go to Edit > Preferences > Internet. Deselect the option to  "Display PDF in Browser" for greater control when navigating a document in a screen reader. Then click the "OK" button.

Visit the Adobe Acrobat accessibility webpage for more information on setting up Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Preferences.

 

Useful Links

Windows Operating System

Accessibility in Windows 7
Learn more about accessibility options and programs in Windows 7 that make it easier to see, hear, and use your computer.

Accessiblity in Windows 8
Learn more about accessibility options and programs in Windows 8 that make it easier to see, hear, and use your computer.

Mackintosh Operating System

Learn more about the variety of assistive technologies in Mac OS X to help those with vision disabilities, including a built-in screen reader, screen and cursor magnification, high-contrast settings, and more.

Firefox Browser

Accessibility Features in Firefox
Learn more about the accessibility features in Firefox to make the browser and web content accessible to all users, including those who have low vision, no vision, or limited ability to use a keyboard or mouse.

Access Firefox
Learn more about accessibility tools and resources for Firefox end users with disabilities (primarily visual impairments) in this web portal maintained by members of several different Mozilla communities. Download Firefox accessibility extensions such as “Theme Font Size Changer” and “Reader” to allow you to fully manipulate a web page's appearance to meet your needs.

 
Internet Explorer Browser

Accessibility in Internet Explorer 8
Learn more about the accessibility options in Internet Explorer 8 to move around the Internet easier, see webpages more clearly, and access information quicker.

Learn more about the accessibility options in Internet Explorer 9 to move around the Internet easier, see webpages more clearly, and access information quicker.

 

Chrome Browser

Accessibility: Low-Vision Support in Chrome
Learn more about the tools in Chrome to support low vision such as full-page zoom and high-contrast. 

 

Enquiries

If you have any enquiries regarding accessibility, please email us.

 

 

Last updated: June 16, 2016   Maintained by: Stephanie

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