New Vision Concepts
EZReader - Users Manual

    

   

This is the online Manual for EZReader.

EZReader consists of over 50 custom applications designed to enable vision-impaired users to more easily access computer capabilities. EZReader focuses on improving the ability of users to read screen content. Large font sizes, high contrast colors and minimal screen complexity are the key EZReader design elements.

You can purchase the EZReader software for installation on your own PC, or you can select one of the PC system solutions we offer.

Return to the EZReader Home Page.

EZReader Overview Topics:

These sections, found below on this page, provide general information about EZReader - information common to all of the applications that comprise the EZReader suite of low vision software.

These sections are very critical to understanding and using EZReader. It is highly recommended that you read through these topics before reading the sections on each of the EZReader applications.

EZReader Applications:

These links take you to the help page for each of the EZReader applications which are accessed through the EZReader main page. Additionally, EZReader installation provides 12 applications which make using the computer outside of EZReader much easier!

The External Apps are applications which run outside EZReader (when EZReader is closed) and are used to simplify common computer tasks for low vision users - such as providing single-click access to tasks normally started by double-clicks, providing an easy way to close open applications, shutting down or rebooting the system and lots more!

 Welcome

Welcome to EZReader, custom software that enables people with low vision to view and operate computers more easily. EZReader offers users, such as those with macular degeneration, the ability to read books and other text information at a level that they thought was no longer possible.

It does so by allowing unlimited font sizes, utilizing pairs of high contrast colors and by minimizing the visual complexity of the screens.

In addition to allowing you to more easily read content, EZReader also provides text-to-speech capabilities. It can speak the content of books, newspapers and email.

Instead of trying to allow you to read existing applications, EZReader takes the unique approach of replacing existing applications with over 50 different applications that are specifically designed for users with low vision issues such as macular degeneration.

Finally, EZReader supports the use of touch screen navigation and data entry, allowing you to operate your computer entirely by touch (or by keyboard and mouse if you choose).

EZReader itself is software that users can install on their own PC, or on a PC and monitor from New Vision Concepts.

Large screen sizes, such as 32", allow users to see more content per screen, but touch screens are typically available only up to about 24". Users should choose the purchase option that best suits their situation.

 Main Screen

The EZReader main screen consists primarily of a toolbar with 7 icons. The first icon is the Exit button. The last icon is the Menu button - used to change which five icons are shown between the Exit and Menu buttons.

Each main screen icon has a text descriptor beneath it, identifying the application that will open when the icon is pressed.

Note that clicking with a mouse and pressing the touch screen produce the same effect. Also, a mouse double-click is the same as touching the touch screen twice.

There are 8 rows of 5 application icons each - a total of 40 application icons.

Pressing a toolbar icon opens the corresponding application.

There are several items that can be displayed on the main page, enabled through the Settings applications.

 Resizable Windows

EZReader looks and behaves like all Windows 10 applications in that it can be resized and located anywhere on the desktop. This allows the user to have EZReader visible while allowing screen space for other Windows applications that the user may want to access.

However, EZReader users tend to use its main window maximized in order to see as much content as possible.

The resizable EZReader window also enables the use of the EZReader screen magnifier, where half the screen might be a user's application and the other half would be the EZReader window which displays a zoomed-in version of the other half of the screen. For example, the user might open Microsoft Excel on one side of the desktop and view it zoomed on the other side using the EZReader screen magnifier.

 Navigation

Icons

EZReader requires very minimal computer skills. Navigation between EZReader features or within a displayed document and other actions are taken by selecting one of the icons found at the top of all screens.

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, or press and hold, an icon to see a description of what action will be taken.

There are also 2 additional icons on the toolbar. The first icon exits from the current application and the right-most icon is used to change which row of navigation/action icons are displayed. Some applications have several rows of icons and some applications have only one.

If an EZReader application has enough features, then additional rows of navigation/action icons are provided and can be reached by pressing the rightmost, "Menu" icon found on all pages. The 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.

In some cases, such as where the user has an especially large monitor, it may be preferable to display more than the 5 standard icons in the toolbar. For such cases, EZReader provides the Ctrl-F4 shortcut, which toggles between the 5 icon rows and icon rows of greater than 5 icons. The exact number of icons displayed in wide mode is dependent on the application and may vary up to 15 icons per row. This can significantly simplify navigation, but at the expense of increasing how visually "busy" the screen appears.

Gestures

EZReader also supports "gestures", where scrolling of a document or list is achieved by dragging the screen up or down, exactly 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 - set to single line or multi-line scrolling.

Icon Text and Icon Sizes

The navigation icon sizes may be selected by the user using the Ctrl-I shortcut. Likewise, the size of text displayed under navigation icons may be changed using the Ctrl-T shortcut. With both icons and text, pressing the shortcut cycles through multiple icon/text sizes. The icon text may also be hidden.

Maximizing

Because moving between maximized and normal window sizing can be quite useful and because it can be difficult for low vision users, EZReader provides the Ctrl-M shortcut to toggle between those two states. It's most useful when a user want to quickly access the underlying Windows 10 desktop, or some application already open underneath EZReader, without leaving their place in EZReader.

 Special Navigation Aids

A special on-screen navigation graphic is available which displays a composite image of all 40 EZReader application icons. The user can click on any of the images to go directly to the application, without the need to click through the rows of menus to get to the application of choice. Use the shortcut Ctrl-G to display the graphic when on the home screen.

 Main Screen Links

EZReader has a built-in Internet browser that provides several features that make it easier to use than an external browser such as Chrome. But event so, many users chose to use an external browser such as Chrome, particularly for tasks needing high security, such as logging in to a bank account.

To use an external browser, a user might close EZReader, open the browser, close the browser and then re-open EZReader. That's several steps, plus closing a browser with the small "x" button in the upper right corner of the browser can be difficult for users with low vision issues.

Because of those difficulties, EZReader offers special features to simplify accessing an external browser.

A group of five letters may be placed on the main screen, where each letter is an active link to a user-specified webpage. Just click on the link to open an external browser to that web page.

The user can specify the letters to be shown and which pages will be opened when the letters are clicked. In the image above, the GYFAN correspond to Google, YouTube, FaceBook, Amazon and FoxNews, where the letters are intended to be pneumonics to help the user know which web site is intended.

Additionally, when the external browser is opened, EZReader will place a very large, easy-to-see X in the upper right corner of the browser. Pressing the X will close the browser and return to EZReader.

 Keyboard Shortcuts

EZReader provides the following shortcuts - combinations of alphanumeric and Function keys, as well as the Control, Shift and Alt keys.

Arrow Keys

Ctrl+Arrow keys will resize the EZReader window in the direction of the arrow, except in the Aliens games. In the Aliens game, the Left-Up-Right arrow keys control the position of the cannon and fires a bullet.

Ctrl+Shift+Arrow keys will move the EZReader window in the direction of the arrow.

 Text Display

EZReader emphasizes the display of text. That is, the content of source materials (books, emails, newspapers, etc.) are stripped of images and only the text is displayed.

This allows EZReader to carefully control the way in which information is presented to users, including colors and font sizes.

All text is displayed using a pair of colors, one for the text and one for the background. Four pre-selected color pairs are available, one of which can be modified by the user.

Text in all applications is displayed using the same font and font size, as specified by the user. In some cases, such as where a message is displayed, EZReader automatically selects a font size to enlarge the text to the largest possible size.

All text properties, such as color and font size, can be quickly changed by pressing the appropriate toolbar 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.

Typically, whenever text content is displayed, EZReader provides a Search feature, allowing the user to scroll to the next line containing a search term. Display of the search feature is optional.

In some cases, such as email that contains non-text attachments, EZReader can display the attachments in a separate window. If such attachments are images, they can be zoomed to a convenient viewing size. Other attachment types allow file type specific display settings.

 Keyboards

All EZReader functions can be used by touch, keyboard or mouse.

In the case of using a keyboard, two custom keyboards are available to assist the user.

The first keyboard option has keys that are about twice the size of standard keys. While much easier to see and touch, the keys are necessarily placed farther apart. Users with previous touch typing skills will find it necessary to make some finger-positioning adjustments.

The second keyboard option is one that simply uses high contrast keyboard colors, either black and white or yellow and black. The keyboard is a standard size and configuration and is suitable for touch typing.

 OnScreen Keyboard

In a number of applications, such as the File Editor, Email or Calendar, a user needs to input text. Typically, the keyboard is used for that task, but for users who cannot type or who simply prefer to input text by touching the screen, an on-screen keyboard is available by pressing F12.

 Speech

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

Applications which support speeck will have a row of toolbar icons like this:

To speak text, click on the position where speaking should start and press the Play button. Text will be spoken and highlighted to show the user where speaking is occurring.

Other speech options are available. For example, when right mouse clicking on an icon (context help) to see a system message on what the icon does, EZReader may also be set to read the context help.

 Cursors

EZReader 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 EZReader.

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

With recent versions of Windows 10, the user can set the Windows cursor to very large sizes and can also change the color of the cursor. These settings apply to the EZReader cursor. So when using the Windows 10 cursor resize settings, it is best to turn of the EZReader cursor resizing.

 System Messages

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

EZReader 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, giving more time to read the message.

 Text Printing

EZReader provides several text printing options, including protection against accidentally printing a large number of pages.

EZReader can print most displayed text content. For example, if you create a file in the File Editor, you can print the content of the file (an optionally the file name).

Applications that support printing typically have a toolbar icon to initiate printing. The shortcut Ctrl-P can also be used to print text within an application.

Two apps, Editor and Stick Notes, have 2 print icons, one larger than the other. The large print icon will print text using the user's large font. The small print icon will print the text in a smaller font, suitable for giving to someone without low vision issues.

The primary place where printing is disabled is in the Book Reader. Books can contain hundreds of pages and users are unlikely to want to print the entire book, so the EZReader Book Reader does not provide print options.

Before printing text, EZReader display the number of pages about to print, allowing the user to cancel printing if appropriate.

Even in cases where a valid print command is issued, EZReader can protect the user in two ways.

 Window Printing

EZReader allows the user to print a copy of the current EZReader window, including the toolbar. In EZReader applications which display a graphic image, the user can print just the graphic area.

EZReader provides a ReverseImage setting which will temporarily changes the colors to black on white. This significantly reduces the amount of toner used to print the image. Once printing is completed, the user-specified colors are restored.

 Window Copying

EZReader allows the user to copy the current EZReader window to the clipboard. Also, if the current window is displaying a graphical image, then the image (non-text area) alone can be copied to the clipboard.

The shortcuts for the two actions are:

 Updates

Users who purchase EZReader get free, online software updates for life.

Users may also add to the various libraries that are installed with EZReader. Books, newspapers, text documents, images, and music may all be imported from flash drives using EZReader's import capabilities or may added when received as attachments to emails.

Updates are available on demand by pressing the Update icon from the main screen, last row of icons.

 Help Options

EZReader provides many different Help options for users. Tutorials, built-in-help screens, text-to-speech and remote tech support are all available.

As part of installation, users receive a free, one-on-one tutorial on using EZReader, covering basic instructions on all EZReader applications.

There is a complete system of Help built into EZReader. For every screen, just press F1 to see Help for the current screen. You can read the help information yourself or have EZReader read the Help content to you. The built-in help system is called AudioHelp. When you exit AudioHelp, you return to the screen from which AudioHelp was called.

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

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

Another built-in Help mechanism is that you can right click on any navigation/action icon to see a description of what the icon does. If you prefer, you can even have the icon function displayed permanently as text.

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

Tech support is also available to you, either through email or phone calls. A quick call to tech support can often resolve questions in just minutes.

With your permission, tech support can even create a Team Viewer session to remotely view your computer screen to understand and resolve issues you might have.

In-home installation, tutorials and tech support are available within a 60 mile radius of New Vision Concepts office or representatives. Customers outside that area should contact New Vision Concepts to work out an installation and support agreement.

Thank you for considering EZReader!