New Vision Concepts
EZFreeReader

    

EZReader

The EZReader System includes a comuter, a document camera and over 30 custom applications designed to give vision-impaired users significantly improved access to computer capabilities. It focuses on improving the ability of users to read screen text content by providing large font sizes, high contrast colors and minimal screen complexity.

EZFreeReader

One of the EZReader applications, the book reader, is available separately and free of charge to allow users to evaluate whether EZReader is right for them. The free version is called EZFreeReader.

  EZFreeReader provides all of the features of the EZReader book reader. It is, however, limited to viewing the library of 4 books that are part of the EZFreeReader installation.

Download (v1.1, 14MB)

Installation creates a desktop folder containing the EZFreeReader files. It also creates 2 desktop shortcuts, one for EZFreeReader and one for a Team Viewer remote control utility that is used to support users when requested.

Table of Contents

The following overview information will help you get the most out of EZFreeReader.

----------------- Overview -----------------   Installed Applications
 

 Welcome

Welcome to EZFreeReader, custom software that enables users with low vision to more easily read text on their computer. A library of 4 free books is included in the installation.

Every screen in EZFreeReader embodies the same key design elements as those in EZReader, combining to give users unprecedented ease of access to electronic capabilities that were once out of reach.

  • Minimal computer skills
  • Compatible with Windows 10
  • Touch screen navigation
  • Keyboard and mouse support
  • Unlimited text size
  • Large on-screen images
  • High contrast, user-selected colors
  • Minimal visual complexity

In addition to allowing users to more easily read content, EZFreeReader also provides text-to-speech capabilities. It can speak the content of books.

Finally, EZFreeReader supports the use of touch screen navigation and data entry, allowing users to operate their computers entirely by touch or by keyboard and mouse if preferred.

 Installation

The EZFreeReader installation provides the following applications, pulled from the flagship product EZReader:

Each of these are discussed in a section of their own, further down this page.

As part of the installation, the following 4-book library is installed. EZFreeReader is limited to viewing these books.

 Navigation

EZFreeReader requires very minimal computer skills. Actions and navigation (between functions or within a document) are taken by selecting one of the icons found at the top of the current screen.

To minimize complexity, every screen contains just 5 navigation/action icons. Just touch an icon, or click on it with a mouse, to perform the action. Right mouse click on an icon to see a description of what action will be taken.

The navigation icon sizes may be selected by the user. Additionally, a text description of the icon may be displayed, where the text font size can be adjusted by the user. The icon text in this image shows which application will be opened when the icon is pressed.

Some applications, such as the EZFreeReader book reader have enough features that multiple rows of navigation/action icons are required. The extra rows of icons can be reached by pressing the rightmost, "Menu" icon when present. The Menu icon displays a dot for each available row of icons. The dot corresponding to the current row of icons will have a white center. This multi-row menu approach gives the user full access to an application's capabilities without increasing the visual complexity of the screens. Right-mouse clicking on the Menu button displays the previous row if icons.

EZFreeReader also supports "gestures", where scrolling of a document or a list is achieved by dragging the screen up or down, just as is done on cell phones. Font size can likewise be changed by pulling thumb and forefinger together, or apart, for zooming in and out on a document. A touch screen monitor is required to use gestures.

When scrolling text content by gestures, mouse or keyboard, the rate of scrolling can be controlled as single or multi-line scrolling.

 Shortcuts

There are several dozen keyboard shortcuts that enable a user to jump quickly to EZFreeReader features or to change supported settings.

Function keys are used to switch between the various installed application

These shortcuts, Control-X, are also supported:

These shortcuts, Control-Shift-X, are also supported:

These shortcuts, Control-and/or Control Shift-ArrowKey, are also supported. They allow moving and resizing the EZFreeReader using the keyboard.

 Text Display

EZFreeReader displays text only. Book content is stripped of images and only the text is displayed. This allows EZFreeReader to carefully control the way in which information is presented to users, including colors and font sizes.

All text is displayed using one of four pairs of colors, one color for the text and one color for the background. The four color pairs are pre-selected to meet the needs of low-vision users. However, the fourth color pair may be specified by the user. See the section below on the User Color Selector.

All text on all screens is displayed using the same font and font size, as specified by the user. In many cases, such as where a message is displayed, EZFreeReader automatically selects a font size to enlarge the text to the largest possible size that will fit within the window.

All text properties (colors and font attributes) can be quickly changed by pressing action icons or by using keyboard shortcuts.

The spacing between letters may be increased for easier viewing.

The user selects the font colors and font attributes (font family, font size, and font boldness) to be used. There are 5 supported fonts, including Serif and non-serif fonts, as well as variable width and fixed-width fonts.

When reading books, EZFreeReader provides a Search feature, allowing the user to find the next line containing a search term. Display of the search feature is optional.

 OnScreen Keyboard

The keyboard is typically used to enter search terms. However, for users who cannot type or who simply prefer to input text by touching the scree, an on-screen keyboard is available.

 Speech

EZFreeReader can speak displayed text content. Play, pause, stop and volume options are provided. Also, the user may select between male and female voices.

The speed of speech may be slowed down or sped up as the user prefers.

Other speech options are available. For example, EZFreeReader may be set to read the context help message that is displayed when right clicking on an icon.

 Cursors

EZFreeReader displays extremely large (about 1.5") easy to see cursors to enable the user to easily locate the position of the mouse. The cursor is significantly larger than is available through Windows.

The user may also select a color for the cursor. Black, white, blue and yellow are allowed. These next images are real-size images of the cursors used in EZFreeReader.

Large sizing cursors, those displayed at the edge or corners of a window, are also provided by EZFreeReader.

 System Messages

Typically, EZFreeReader displays a large toolbar across the top of its window. But when EZFreeReader wants to display a message to the user, the toolbar is temporarily hidden and the message display in the same location.

EZFreeReader uses the largest possible font to display the message.

Messages are typically displayed for 2 seconds, but the user can adjust the display time for up to 4 seconds.

 Screen Printing

EZFreeReader allows the user to print a copy of the current window.

To save printer toner, the user is allowed to invert the displayed colors to ensure that the background is the lighter of the two display colors. See the Settings section for more information.

 Online Updates

Free online updates are available for EZFreeReader.

 Help Options

EZFreeReader excels in providing Help options for users. Tutorials, built-in-help screens, text-to-speech and remote tech support are all available.

Free Support
New Vision Concepts provides free support to users of EZFreeReader.

AudioHelp
There is a complete system of Help built into EZFreeReader. For every screen, just press F1 to see a Help screen for the current page. Users and can view the help information themselves or have EZFreeReader read the Help page content. This type of help screen is referred to as AudioHelp.

In addition to AudioHelp for each screen EZFreeReader provides special shortcut keys to open an introduction to EZFreeReader, to display all available shortcuts and to display additional details on EZFreeReader settings.

Toggle Small Font
In some cases, a user may solicit the help of persons with full vision to answer questions about what is visible on the EZFreeReader screen, or perhaps to help make an input on a screen. As a convenience to those folks, the font size of EZFreeReader can be quickly toggled to a much smaller font size, then restored to the user's settings when the assistance is over.

Right-Mouse Context Help
Another built-in Help mechanism is that right-clicking a navigation/action icon will display a description of what the icon does.

Click Sounds
When EZFreeReader detects a user click it issues an optional beep sound. This provides assurance to the user that their input was received.

Traditional Support Methods
Tech support is also available to users, either through email or phone calls. A quick call to New Vision Concepts tech support can often resolve questions in just minutes.

ShortCuts
Two shortcuts are useful for locating Help information quickly - one that displays a summary of available shortcuts and another that displays a list and description of all supported Settings.

Remote Control
With user permission, tech support can create a Team Viewer session, which allows viewing of the user's computer screen to help understand and resolve issues that a user is facing. The user runs the installed Team Viewer helper application and provides the assigned ID number to the support technician.

 EZFreeReader

The EZFreeReader book reader is the primary installed application. The other installed applications - User Color, Online Update and Settings - are installed to support EZFreeReader.

As seen in this screen shot, large icons, high contrasting color pairs, large text sizes and minimal visual complexity define the user interface!

The EZFreeReader book reader has 3 rows of navigation/icon icons. In each case, the left-most icon Exits the book reader. The right-most icon toggles through the 3 rows of icons. The function of the other icons is as follows.

 User Color Selector

EZFreeReader can display foreground/background content in any of four pairs of pre-defined colors. The fourth pair - "user colors" - can be changed using this screen. The top bar shows the current user colors. The "CR" value is the contrast ratio of the user color pair. A value of 21 is the highest possible constrast ratio.

Generally, users with low vision see high contrast colors better (such as white letter on black background). But some users find colors such as yellow on blue to be more readable.

To change the text color, left mouse click on any circle or center color in the center of the screen. Right mouse click to change the background color.

After each click the user color bar will change to match the selected colors.

Be sure to enter Save to save changes to the user colors.

 Matrix Screen Saver

Just for the fun of it, the EZFreeReader installation includes a Matrix screen saver. Once the screen saver is activated, just press the screen anywhere to return to the EZFreeReader main menu.

My mother-in-law liked this screen saver. Through her macular degeneration she thought it looked like gentle rain. Your imagination may vary!

Click anywhere on the screen to cancel the screen saver.

 Online Updates

The EZFreeReader program can be updated via the Internet. After the Online Update icon is pressed, EZFreeReader will check the server to determine if an update is available. If so, the user will be asked to confirm the update command.

 Settings

Several EZFreeReader settings may be conveniently enabled or disabled through the Settings function.

These settings have only an On/Off value. Keyboard shortcuts are available for other settings which have multiple values or which perform actions.

Here is a description of each of the Settings values.

Thank you for considering EZFreeReader!