by Maurie Hill

When sitting at my desk, whether at home or work, my goal is to complete as much as I can in one sitting. With perfect vision, it is probably seamless to jump from one medium to the next – open a bill, pay it with a checkbook or online; read an events list in a physical newsletter; and then add an event to your electronic calendar. The pile of tasks gets enviably shorter. But when you can’t read normal text, you run into roadblocks, leaving unfinished business for later. Setting aside unfinished business when you’re visually impaired can be an endless cycle because now that piece of paper you just put back in the pile becomes an illegible blank slate once again. Your attempts at keeping organized fly out the window.

While several tasks can be done solely on my computer using ZoomText for Mac to magnify, most tasks involve looking at both printed material and the computer screen. My first step before tackling my work is to check the mailbox because “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail” prevents the important and unimportant mail from finding me. To sort the good from the bad, I put the envelope or package under my new CamReader camera to display on my computer screen, and make sure it’s for me before I throw away the junk.

With text styles and colors becoming smaller, fancier, and invariably less legible as marketers of printed material get more “creative”, I now have a quick way to control how I see and read them. The Reader tool, previously called “WebReader”, is included in ZoomText for Mac enabling easy reading and speaking of such things as email, web page articles, and PDF documents. But purchasing the new ZoomText CamReader add-on, which includes a stand-up HD camera, makes it quick and easy to view and read printed text on paper and objects as well.

How does this synergy save me time?

image of camreader workingI view my insurance bill under the camera, then go online to pay it. Next, I place a fancy printed newsletter with inexplicable, low contrast colors under the camera and press the space bar. Instantly, the text appears in the color, size, and style that I can visibly see and it starts reading it aloud with my favorite voice to really give my eyes a break. I note the interesting events and add them to my Calendar app while I’m right there at the computer screen. I can save the file and even send it to a friend. Like I said, making the most out of one sitting is my goal. I hope my rainy day work will be rewarded with a sunny day and shorter task list.

I only had to customize the Reader tool once, although I sometimes change things on the fly, like text size, using the + and – keys. My favorite keyboard of all time, the Apple large-print keyboard, makes it easier to find those keys.

Like a CCTV, you can put other things under the camera to comfortably view such as photos, pill bottles, your fingernails, new wedding ring, or whatever!

But actions speak louder than words, so take a look at this video to understand how it works and how it might streamline your daily duties . . .

ZoomText CamReader was specifically designed for those with low vision and is available as an add-on to ZoomText for Mac. But please let us know if you feel there is a need for this product to be further adapted for those who are blind, if its features are not currently being served by another Mac OS product.