If you're new to "Building a Better Digital Librarian" check out how it all started.
Last month I challenged myself to work a whole day using adaptive technology. In the morning I tried to use a screen reader and that didn't turn out so well. This month I offer you the thrilling conclusion...
Challenge #2.5: An afternoon with a screen magnifier
A screen magnifier allows you to control how the screen is displayed by magnifying it, changing the contrast, and altering cursors and pointers so they're easier to see. ZoomText, the screen magnifier I used, even has a built in screen reader. It's not as robust as something like JAWS but it can be really useful if there's a word or sentence you're having trouble making out.
It took a lot longer than usual to navigate around my computer using a screen magnifier. New web pages were tricky. What I could do in a glance without the magnifier now required a lot of scrolling and usually ended up with me getting lost. Images that aren't properly labeled were also a problem. The more you magnify an image the harder it is to make out. If the image is important it needs to be described otherwise we might not know what we're looking at.
Bearing in mind that even under ideal conditions I wouldn't be described as photogenic: here's a picture of yours truly magnified thirty six times.
Not pretty. Just a mess of pink and brown squares.
Part of building a better digital library will be making sure that our site is optimized for screen magnifier users. We're fortunate enough to have screen magnifier users testing out the new digital library to ensure accessibility.
Have you tried a screen magnifier before? You don't need to have ZoomText. A lot of computers have magnification built in! Take some time to explore the accessibility options on your computer, you might be surprised to find out what you can do.
Need more help with your adaptive technology or computer? Our CNIB Digital Library FAQ has some resources for training and support.
Check back in a few weeks for my next challenge.