blind_html [Fwd: Fw: AccessWorld(R) Extra February 2009]

  • From: Nimer Jaber <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 08:49:21 -0700

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fw: AccessWorld(R) Extra February 2009
Date:   Tue, 24 Feb 2009 07:37:58 -0800
From:   Alan Paganelli <alanandsuzanne@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To:       Blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To:     <blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

>*From:* accessworld@xxxxxxx <mailto:accessworld@xxxxxxx>
*To:* AFB Subscriber <mailto:afbweb@xxxxxxx>
*Sent:* Tuesday, February 24, 2009 6:36 AM
*Subject:* AccessWorld(R) Extra February 2009

AFB     American Foundation
for the Blind <>        

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss     

 AccessWorld(R) Extra
 A bi-monthly e-mail newsletter of additional AccessWorld® content

Volume 9, Number 1
February 2009

"Remove" instructions at bottom

1. From the Editor
2. Readers' Corner
3. Coming Soon in AccessWorld
4. What's New
5. Contact Us

Note: This material is copyright © 2009, American Foundation for the Blind and may not be reprinted or reproduced electronically without permission. AccessWorld® is a registered trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.


   1. From the Editor


Dear AccessWorld Reader: Welcome to the February 2009 edition of AccessWorld Extra, the e-mail newsletter produced by AccessWorld staff members six times per year.

This month's Readers' Corner includes your responses to our questions about small screen displays. This month, we ask you about social networking and social bookmarking web sites.

Your comments are always welcome. What do you think of the articles in the current issue of AccessWorld? Do you have any technology questions that you'd like us to answer for you? Perhaps you have a comment on one of the news stories in this issue.

This issue also includes the coming attractions from the March issue of AccessWorld and the latest news.

AccessWorld Extra is designed to be easy to read for everyone. Items are numbered, and you can search for the beginning of the next item, since each item is preceded by a line of equal signs.

Send your comments to accessworld@xxxxxxx <mailto:accessworld@xxxxxxx>. This e-mail newsletter is meant to provide more of what you have told us you want--more of AccessWorld. We hope you will love it, but if you decide that you want to be taken off the distribution list, please e-mail us at accessworld@xxxxxxx <mailto:accessworld@xxxxxxx> and let us know. If your e-mail address changes, please also contact us at that address and we will add your new address to the distribution list. If someone forwarded this issue to you, and you would like to be added to our distribution list, please contact us at the same address.

We encourage you to forward AccessWorld Extra to a friend, relative, teacher, or someone else who may benefit from the news and information in AccessWorld. Please help us spread the news that AccessWorld is free for all to read. Just be sure to forward the entire issue, including the copyright notice.

Jay Leventhal


   Readers' Corner


Here's your forum for talking to us and to each other. This month, we ask about social networking sites.

To answer this survey, go to the AccessWorld home page <> and select the link "Take our survey on Social Networking Sites." If you are not comfortable answering surveys on the web, you can answer the survey below and e-mail your response to us.

This month's questions are:

1. If you use social networking sites, which of the following sites do you use?
__Linked In
__Other (please specify)

2. If you do not use social networking sites, why don't you use them?
__I tried them and found them to be inaccessible
__I communicate with friends in other ways
__I am not interested in using them
__I do not have the time
__Other (please specify)

3. If you use social networking sites, which one do you use most often?
__Linked In
__Other (please specify)

4. How accessible do you find social networking sites in general?
__Very accessible
__Somewhat accessible
__Somewhat inaccessible
__Very inaccessible
__I don't use social networking sites

5. If you use social networking sites, which of the following do you use them for?
__Keeping in touch with family members
__Keeping in touch with friends
__Looking up people from high school or college
__Professional networking
__Other (please specify)

6. If you use social bookmarking sites, which of the following do you use?
__Other (please specify)

7. If you do not use social bookmarking sites, why don't you use them?
__I tried them and found them to be inaccessible
__I am not interested in using them
__Other (please specify)

8. How accessible do you find social bookmarking sites?
__Very accessible
__Somewhat accessible
__Somewhat inaccessible
__Very inaccessible
__I don't use social bookmarking sites

9. Please comment on which sites you have found most accessible and which sites you have had accessibility problems with.

In December, we asked you about small screen displays. We received 62 responses.

The staff of AFB TECH would like to thank AccessWorld readers for taking time to respond to our Small Visual Display survey. We are thrilled to say this is the most responded to survey by AccessWorld readers with low vision to date. We would also like to thank those who linked to the survey from Senior Site, AFB's web site for older Americans experiencing vision loss, who may have been reading AccessWorld for the very first time. We hope they enjoyed the articles and will return for each issue to learn about technology and issues related to vision loss.

From your survey responses, you told us cell phones, point of sale devices at cash registers, and home appliances were the items with small visual displays which caused the most difficulty. Almost half of you reported small visual displays were very difficult to use, while just over 25 percent reported they were almost impossible to use. Most of you accessed information on small visual displays by using a magnifying glass or holding the display close, while some asked others for assistance when using devices with small visual displays.

All of your answers and comments were very helpful with our research. Please continue to read AccessWorld to learn more about our research into small visual displays, as we will be posting articles to keep you up to date as we work toward creating a standard to improve the readability of small visual displays.

We asked:

In the past year, have you experienced trouble using any of the following devices due to a small screen display?
Cell phone: 52
Land line phone: 32
MP3 player: 23
Digital audio player: 18
Home appliances: 40
Home use medical equipment: 8
Calculator: 14
Clock: 25
Digital camera: 29
Point of sale devices at retail cash registers: 42
Self-service kiosks at banks, airports, or stores: 31
Office equipment such as fax machines or copiers: 35
Exercise equipment: 20
Other: 11

If you chose "other" in the previous question, write your response here.
Thermostats: 3
Gasoline pumps
DVD Player
difficulty with Mac machines
Insulin pump
Franklin electronic dictionary
ATM machines
thermostats and A/C/heating controls, TV control

How difficult do you find using devices that have small screen displays?
Nearly impossible to use: 14
Very difficult to use most of the time: 27
Some difficulty using: 13
Only a little difficulty using: 1
Almost never have difficulty using: 0

How do you generally access information on small screen displays?
I use a magnifying glass: 34
I use a video magnifier: 13
I use my functional vision and hold the small screen display close: 34
I ask another person for assistance: 47
Other: 15

If you chose "other" in the previous question, write your response here.

1. Low vision aid reading glasses.

2. I avoid having to use it.

3. Replace with "talking" products when possible.

4. I use a small LED flashlight.

5. I usually ask a friend to orient me with my new product, that way I can memorize where everything is on the menus and do it by memory, and I am usually pretty good at that.

6. I give up and don't use it.

7. Memorizing menu layouts for some devices.

8. I look for product web sites that have instruction manuals.

9. I go without the information (as in the caller ID and other screen display on my phone at work).

10. I learn the "routine" and hope it all works.

Which of the following do you think would help you to better use a product with a small screen display?
Increasing the size of the text font on the screen: 45
Changing the font style on the screen: 20
Increasing the contrast between the text and its background: 48
Reducing the amount of glare on the screen: 39
Having the ability to reverse a screen display to white text on a black background: 29
Removing all colors except black and white: 15
Other: 19

If you chose "other" in the previous question, write your response here.

1. Yellow text on black background is easiest.

2. Have the small screen device speak at retail stores.

3. LED is much better than LCD -- higher contrast and clearer.

4. Incorporating speech output into products as an option.

5. Use text--icons all look the same.

6. Allow the user to increase the amount of time instructions or choices are visible on the display.

7. Decreasing the amount of information on the screen.

8. Getting rid of all visual clutter -- no background design, icons, etc.

9. Sometimes audio works best and is more in keeping with universal design principles.

10. Standardization of "enter," "OK," "cancel," "forward," "backward," and other commonly used button labels across all devices.

11. Use LEDs or some similar lighting to light numbers, etc., against dark background.

12. Audio prompts.

Which describes your vision best?
No useful vision: 1
Little useful vision: 6
Some useful vision: 29
Considerable useful vision: 20

Please tell us which device you find most difficult to use because of a small screen display, and why it causes difficulty. Please include the brand name and/or model number if you know it.

1. Trader Joe's POS device. Blue text on a gray background makes it impossible for me to see.

2. One of the most frustrating devices is the display on my coffee pot. The background is a grayish-brown and the numbers and icons are in a faded black. Nothing is crisp or sharp. It is a simple Mr. Coffee but the lighting and contrast of the display are awful. I also have a lot of trouble with the display for the digital phone in my office. It is a digital multi-line phone with a display window that lets you do all kinds of basic and advanced functions. However, the display is a dull brownish-gray with faint black print. Sometimes the print seems to disappear because of lighting or glare. There are some functions I just cannot do because you have to access various menus and submenus and I cannot see to do them.

3. Cell phone display numbers [are] too small.

4. All cell phones.

5. Cell phone, Verizon Coupe, and audio recorder/player.

6. Nokia cell phone (TracFone).

7. Homedics spa alarm clock. It's black on grey and I can't see it from the bed, and I had to memorize the keypad because I can't see that either.

8. This is totally impossible to use -- we just signed up for caller ID and there is no way I can use it reading our current telephone screen. It is a Uniden PowerMax 2.4 GHz, model TRU4485, bought a few years ago at Costco.

9. Cell phone. I can't read the displays anymore or see the buttons. AT&T Razr. I tried buying a new phone, but when I told them I have low vision, they only showed me a phone with enormous buttons that couldn't send text messages.

10. Cell phone...Razr.

11. The device I would most like to be more accessible is the insulin pump I use to manage Type 1 diabetes (a Cozmo 1700). I use this many times a day by using a combination of menu memorization, counting button presses, and a strong magnifier, but wish that it was something I could use without needing to carry around a low vision device.

12. Any kind of office equipment (e.g. printer, fax, etc.) Usually need sighted assistance.

13. Point of sale credit card scanners. Many have black lettering on a green background. IMPOSSIBLE to read, or sign, in the right place. All cell phone screens. I have the Samsung Glema, which has more text to speech than most other phones, but entering new contacts or sending SMS messages is very difficult. The self-serve kiosks where you place digital photo orders. I know that one brand is Kodak, but there are others.

14. Franklin electronic Spanish dictionary -- BES 1890. It is just awful. They could really use your help.

15. Point of sale displays in supermarkets. They're horrible. Schnucks supermarkets in St. Louis provides separate screens for viewing purchases and prices separate from the debit card reader, which lists only the final price. The cardreader screen is very good but the purchase display, which is raised higher than the cash register, is drowned out by the glare of the overhead lighting.

16. Boston Acoustics HD radio--can't read the smaller print at all. Samsung Sprint cell phone. Everything is too small.

17. Credit card displays at a retail store. I cannot see well enough to verify the information or click the OK button.

18. Exercise equipment. Some of the other devices I simply avoid or can get AT alternatives or have assistance at hand. But when I travel and try to use hotel fitness centers, I'm often alone or am not willing to interrupt the exercise routines of strangers.

19. My Verizon LG cell phone is the device that I use most frequently that has a digital display. The font of the menus is very difficult to read even with magnification. And there is no voice support for the menus.

If you would like to tell us about other devices or situations where small screen displays are difficult to use, please do so below.

1. Almost every small screen causes me difficulty. I can't see why a high-contrast, large font scheme is not standard. Much of the time there is plenty of empty space on the screen (regardless of device). I have been blogging about this at I have been looking in particular at the iPhone and its apps. There are so many little things they could do to make this device easier to read.

2. The other area in which I have significant difficulty is using fax machines and copiers at work. I need assistance from others when using these, as most of the displays are touch screen or very low contrast for me to see even with a magnifier.

3. I do not attempt to use most small screen displays. I can use my clock, and some displays on my oven and microwave.

4. Monitors at airport check-in counters are too hard to see and use appropriately. Only one grocery store in Washington has credit card machines large enough and with sufficient color contrast to use. Giant is wonderful that way.

5. I use many devices with digital displays and find that I am either unable to access features of the device or need to ask for assistance to do so.


   3. Coming Soon in AccessWorld


We hope you are enjoying the January 2009 AccessWorld, featuring:

   * An evaluation of the iPod Nano with speech
   * An evaluation of the Coupe and breEZe cell phones for people with
     low vision <>;
   * An evaluation of ScripTalk, the first device to speak vital
     prescription information
   * An article about the development of Mobile Geo, an accessible GPS
     program for cell phones
     and more.

You can read the issue for free or download printer-ready or braille-embosser-ready files at <>. Don't miss the March 2009 issue, coming soon. This issue will bring you:

*A Review of the Accessibility of Facebook*
Janet Ingber

Social networking sites are extremely popular these days. We review Facebook, one of the most popular sites. Facebook started as a site for college students, but has grown far beyond that. This article walks you through the sign-up process, and discusses how to use many parts of Facebook.

*GPS Made Simple: A Review of the Trekker Breeze*
Jay Leventhal

We review the Trekker Breeze, a new GPS (global positioning system) product from HumanWare. The Trekker Breeze is a simplified version of HumanWare's Trekker product. The Breeze announces intersections and points of interest as you walk, and allows you to record new landmarks and travel routes. It does not let you enter data or look up a landmark in a database. HumanWare says that the Breeze was developed because both consumers and orientation and mobility instructors wanted an easy-to-use GPS product. Find out just how easy it is to use.

*A Study of Factors Affecting Learning to Use a Computer by People who are Blind or Visually Impaired*
Bradley Hodges and Lee Huffman

We discuss the challenges of learning to use a computer when you are blind or visually impaired. This article reports on the experiences of seven individuals who participated in a user experience study conducted by AFB TECH and the AFB Center on Vision Loss. This study was designed to illuminate issues facing those who wish to learn to use a computer who may not have experience with the Windows operating system or access to formal training. Learn the results of this study.

*Amy Ruell, A Fan of Computers and Braille Literacy*
Deborah Kendrick

We interview Amy Ruell. Ruell worked as a therapist and clinical supervisor for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health for many years. She has also worked for National Braille Press, heading up a program of braille literacy for young children. Ruell is also currently president of the Visually Impaired and Blind Users Group in Boston. Read about this advocate for braille literacy and computers.

*ATIA 2009*
Deborah Kendrick and Jay Leventhal

We report on the tenth annual conference of the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA), held from January 28-31, 2009, in Orlando, Florida. The ATIA conference featured many new products and updates of products, as well as a number of sessions of interest to people who are blind or have low vision. Learn what we found in the exhibit hall and conference sessions.


   4. What's New?


*Knfb Reader Mobile Update*

A new version of the knfb Reader Mobile is now available. The Reader can now recognize foreign languages, and can speak in 16 languages. The Reader now works on an additional phone, the Nokia 6220. The price has been reduced. A single language reading software with English user language costs $995; three language reading software with translation among languages costs $1,295. For more information, visit <>.

*Digital Television Conversion Postponed Until June*

Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation delaying the date when television stations must convert from analog to digital signals to June 12th. Supporters of the bill said that 6.5 million homes--including many elderly, poor and disabled Americans--would lose TV service after February 17 without this delay.

*Seeking a New Braille Display*

Adaptive Technology, a division of Perkins Products, has introduced the Seika Braille display. The Seika is lightweight, portable, and costs $2,495. It offers a USB connection, and works with the JAWS, Window-Eyes and Hal screen readers. For more information, contact Perkins Products: phone: 978-462-3817, e-mail: Gayle.Yarnall@xxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:Gayle.Yarnall@xxxxxxxxxxx>.

*New Book from AFB Press*

AFB Press has published *Assistive Technology For Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: A Guide to Assessment*, by Ike Presley and Frances Mary D'Andrea. This book includes an overview of the full range of assistive technology that students can use to manage information in print or electronic formats--whether they use vision, touch or hearing to access information; how to select appropriate tools and strategies; a structured process for conducting a technology assessment; and a detailed assessment form that can be used to determine students’ technology needs and solutions to address them and advice on writing up program recommendations based on assessment results.

You’ll also find tips and insights on working with technology effectively; a summary of laws and regulations relating to assistive technology; a resource section of assistive technology producers; readings about technology instruction; and reproducible, blank assessment forms. To order, visit <>.


   5. Contact Us


*Editor in Chief*
Jay Leventhal: jaylev@xxxxxxx <mailto:jaylev@xxxxxxx>

*Contributing Editors*
Founding Editor: Paul Schroeder: pws@xxxxxxx <mailto:pws@xxxxxxx>
Senior Features Editor: Deborah Kendrick: dkk@xxxxxxx <mailto:dkk@xxxxxxx>
Darren Burton: dburton@xxxxxxx <mailto:dburton@xxxxxxx>
Crista L. Earl: crista@xxxxxxx <mailto:crista@xxxxxxx>
Mark M. Uslan: muslan@xxxxxxx <mailto:muslan@xxxxxxx>

*Managing Editor*
Elizabeth Neal: lneal@xxxxxxx <mailto:lneal@xxxxxxx>

*Marketing Manager*
Sharon Baker-Harris: sharonb@xxxxxxx <mailto:sharonb@xxxxxxx>

Web site: <>

General e-mail: accessworld@xxxxxxx <mailto:accessworld@xxxxxxx>

AccessWorld®, AFB's premier technology publication, is a free, web-based magazine. It offers multiple options for reading and sharing content, including a braille embosser-ready file, a printer-friendly version, and an "e-mail this article to a friend" option.

To advertise, contact the AFB Press Advertising Department; phone: 212-502-7652; e-mail: sharonb@xxxxxxx <mailto:sharonb@xxxxxxx>.

To submit an article, question for the Questions and Answers column, or Letter to the Editor, contact: Jay Leventhal; phone: 212-502-7639; e-mail: jaylev@xxxxxxx <mailto:jaylev@xxxxxxx>.

AccessWorld Extra is published bi-monthly by American Foundation for the Blind, 11 Penn Plaza, Suite 300, New York, NY 10001. Products included in AccessWorld Extra are not necessarily endorsed by AccessWorld® or AFB staff. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2009, American Foundation for the Blind.

AccessWorld® is a registered trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.
Messages in this topic <;_ylc=X3oDMTM1OTZybTNoBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEbXNnSWQDOTEyMTQEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDdnRwYwRzdGltZQMxMjM1NDg5ODkxBHRwY0lkAzkxMjE0> (1) Reply (via web post) <;_ylc=X3oDMTJwbTZraDgxBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEbXNnSWQDOTEyMTQEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDcnBseQRzdGltZQMxMjM1NDg5ODkx?act=reply&messageNum=91214> | Start a new topic <;_ylc=X3oDMTJkZjVyMzJhBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDbnRwYwRzdGltZQMxMjM1NDg5ODkx> Messages <;_ylc=X3oDMTJkaXUxYmFiBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDbXNncwRzdGltZQMxMjM1NDg5ODkx> | Files <;_ylc=X3oDMTJldDg5bXFzBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDZmlsZXMEc3RpbWUDMTIzNTQ4OTg5MQ--> | Photos <;_ylc=X3oDMTJkN3E3dGtiBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDcGhvdARzdGltZQMxMjM1NDg5ODkx> | Links <;_ylc=X3oDMTJlNHJlZDZiBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDbGlua3MEc3RpbWUDMTIzNTQ4OTg5MQ--> | Database <;_ylc=X3oDMTJibXVrcG0zBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDZGIEc3RpbWUDMTIzNTQ4OTg5MQ--> | Polls <;_ylc=X3oDMTJlZnU3MnN2BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDcG9sbHMEc3RpbWUDMTIzNTQ4OTg5MQ--> | Calendar <;_ylc=X3oDMTJjYTlmNzB2BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDY2FsBHN0aW1lAzEyMzU0ODk4OTE->
From kitchen basics to easy recipes - join the Group from Kraft Foods <*> Yahoo! Groups <;_ylc=X3oDMTJjYnZzMXA4BF9TAzk3NDc2NTkwBGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDZ2ZwBHN0aW1lAzEyMzU0ODk4OTE-> Change settings via the Web <;_ylc=X3oDMTJldWd0N21tBF9TAzk3NDc2NTkwBGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDc3RuZ3MEc3RpbWUDMTIzNTQ4OTg5MQ--> (Yahoo! ID required) Change settings via email: Switch delivery to Daily Digest <mailto:Blind-chit-chat-digest@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?subject=Email%20Delivery:%20Digest> | Switch format to Traditional <mailto:Blind-chit-chat-traditional@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?subject=Change%20Delivery%20Format:%20Traditional> Visit Your Group <;_ylc=X3oDMTJjZGloaXM4BF9TAzk3NDc2NTkwBGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDaHBmBHN0aW1lAzEyMzU0ODk4OTE-> | Yahoo! Groups Terms of Use <> | Unsubscribe <mailto:Blind-chit-chat-unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?subject=>
Recent Activity

Visit Your Group <;_ylc=X3oDMTJkMDQ5YXI5BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA3Z0bARzbGsDdmdocARzdGltZQMxMjM1NDg5ODkx>
Yahoo! Groups

w/ John McEnroe <*>

Join the All-Bran

Day 10 Club.

Health Groups

for people over 40 <*>

Join people who are

staying in shape.

Y! Groups blog

The place to go <*>

to stay informed

on Groups news!




Nimer M. Jaber

The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which 
is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any 
retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in 
upon this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient 
prohibited. If you received this in error, please contact the sender via reply 
e-mail, and delete the
material from any computer.

(720) (251-4530)

To unsubscribe, please send a blank email to
with unsubscribe in the subject line.
To access the archives, please visit:


Other related posts:

  • » blind_html [Fwd: Fw: AccessWorld(R) Extra February 2009] - Nimer Jaber