New Vision Concepts
EZReader

    

    New Vision Concepts is proud to present EZReader - an all-in-one touch screen computer, document camera and custom software suite designed specifically for users with vision impairments. EZReader provides over 75+ customized applications that give low vision users unprecedented access to computer capabilities that were once out of reach!

Low vision users struggle to use basic Windows capabilities and struggle even more to use applications which were not written to accommodate the visual limitations of low vision users. In both of these areas, EZReader addresses the needs of low vision users by providing software with the following key design criteria:

  • Minimal Computer Skills
  • Clean, Simple Screen Designs
  • Unlimited Text Size
  • High Contrast Colors
  • Easy-to-Use Touch Screen Navigation
  • Text-to-Speech and Voice Dictation

The result is that users with vision impairments of any age can more easily use computers and gain access to capabilities that allow them to keep in touch with friends, family or co-workers. EZReader allows users to perform work and life tasks more independently than ever before.


 Table of Contents

These sections provide introductory information about EZReader.

The 75+ applications are listed here, with links to a Help page for each application.

This next section gives an introduction to the EZReader high resolution document camera, used to display and nagnify printed materials on the screen. The EZReader camera software provides some special features, including the ability extract text from images (OCR). Extracted text can be read out loud to the user.

These next sections highlight the unique user interface features of EZReader applications. These features make EZReader easy to see and easy to use for low vision users!

     

And finally, here is some background information on EZReader - who uses it, why it was developed and where EZReader is on display for users to see and try out.


 EZReader Introduction

The EZReader system includes an all-in-one touch-screen computer, a document camera and a software suite of over 75+ applications written specifically for low vision users.

The EZReader software can be purchased separately for installation on a user's PC. Also, some of the EZReader applications (camera viewer, book reader, email client, text editors and Internet utilities) can be purchased as standalone items. See the online sales site for pricing.

The primary software interface is the EZTaskBar, which displays icons of the most frequently used EZReader applications. It is located just above the Windows TaskBar and is the width of the computer screen. A secondary window, the EZCenterBar, is available and displays an icon for each of the 75+ EZReader applications. Both the EZTaskbar and EZCenterBar can be used to open EZReader applications.

In both the EZTaskBar and EZCenterBar, the user single clicks an icon to start the corresponding EZReader function or application. The user typically displays the EZTaskBar for most operations, opening the EZCenterBar only to access less-frequently-used applications.

The following video demonstrates how easy it is for low vision users to see and use EZReader.


 Free Book Reader

As a further introduction to EZReader, New Vision Concepts offers a free application, EZFreeBookReader. It looks and operates just like all of the EZReader applications, so learning to use EZFreeBookReader will give you the hands-on experience to know if EZReader is right for you.

EZFreeBookReader allows the user to view the following 6 books. The application also supports reading the books out loud:

EZFreeBookReader can be downloaded here: EZFreeBookReader.

The flagship EZReader Book Reader software allows users to add any number of books to its Library, including importing books from Kindle.

 EZReader Videos

These next two videos provide additional introductory information about EZReader. Both are interviews, one held at the 2022 CSUN convention and another held by the Dallas Celebration magazine for seniors. Each interview features Gary Beene, the inventor of EZReader, talking about the various features EZReader provides.



 EZReader Publications

As final introductory information, here are links to short articles and advertisements about EZReader from Celebration Magazine. They are provided here to help introduce EZReader to you and to help you visualize the benefits that EZReader offers its users! All of the links will open up a PDF file in your browser.

Articles:

Advertisements:


 EZReader Applications

The 75+ EZReader software applications can be grouped into about 20 different categories. The categories and the applications are shown in this list. Just click on an application to jump to it's online help page.

Categories are grouping of applications which cover similar capabilities. The Categories also reflect how the applications icons are shown on the EZReader EZCenterbar.

Most-Used Applications:
These are perhaps the most-used EZReader applications:

These are followed closely by the 10 EZReader games, particularly the version of Solitaire designed for low vision users.

And, here's a complete list of all applications, grouped by Category. Just click on the application name to open the web page for that application.

Categories   Applications
  • System
  • Power
  • Camera
  • Office Apps
  • Office Apps (Lite)
  • MultiMedia
  • Colors
  • Magnification
  • Sound
  • Images/OCR
  • Folders and Files
  • Utilities
  • Grid
  • Internet
  • URL Pre-Sets
  • Smart Phone
  • Games
  • Screen Savers
  • File Management
  • Utilities
  • Cursors
  • Settings
 


 EZReader Camera and Software

A high-resolution document camera is included in the EZReader system, along with custom, easy-to-use software for using the camera to display and magnify printed materials on the computer. Text may be extracted from camera images and read out loud to the user.

With the camera and the EZReader camera software, the user can display printed materials on the computer screen, magnified at up to 10X to make it easier to see and read the materials. The camera can be accessed by other software, such as Zoom conferencing software.

The EZReader camera software can access any camera attached to the computer, such as a USB webcam. The user can switch back and forth between all available cameras.

Functions supported by the web camera software include:

 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 the use of unlimited font sizes and unlimited color combinations.

All text is displayed using a pair of colors, one for the text and one for the background. Four pre-selected high-contrast 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 the largest font size that will fit on the screen.

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 user selects the font colors and font attributes (font family, font size, and font boldness) to be used.

For easier viewing, a fixed width font may be used. Low vision users sometimes find that fixed width spacing makes it easier to see narrow letters such as an "i".

Typically, whenever text content is displayed, EZReader provides a Search feature, which can scroll to the next line containing the search term.

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. Viewing other attachment file types is also supported.

 Touch Screen Operation

EReader software can be used with a mouse or keyboard, but most users prefer to use the touch screen computer that is provided with the purchase of an EZReader system. Here are some guidelines on using a touch screen.
Touching the screen produces the same result as clicking the screen with the left mouse button.

Touching the screen twice produces the results of a double-click with the left mouse button.

Pressing against the screen for about 1s produces the same result as a right mouse click.

EZReader also supports hand gestures. For example, drawing the thumb and forefinger together on the screen decreases the font size. Moving the thumb and forefinger apart increases font size.

Text content may be scrolled by dragging a finger on the screen in the direction to be scrolled.

 Keyboards

EZReader can be operated using the touch screen, keyboard or mouse.

For those occasions where a keyboard is needed to enter text, EZReader is delivered with a keyboard that provides high contrast colors, making it easier for the user to see and use the keyboard.

A second keyboard with high contrast colors and larger keys is also available for purchase.

In this image, the optional keyboard is shown to the left. It has keys that are about twice the size of standard keys. While much easier to see and use, the keys are necessarily placed farther apart. Users with previous touch typing skills will find it necessary to make some finger-positioning adjustments. This keyboard is not included with EZReader but may be purchased separately.

The keyboard on the right is a standard size keyboard but provides high contrast keyboard colors, either black and white or yellow and black. The letters on the keyds are also a larger font than on a normal keyboard. This keyboard is suitable for touch typing. This keyboard is included with EZReader at no extra charge.

 Navigation

Icons

EZReader requires very minimal computer skills. Navigation between EZReader features or taking actions on displayed content is done by selecting one of the icons in the toolbar found at the top of each screens.

To minimize complexity, the toolbar typically contains only 5-7 navigation/action icons. Just touch or click an icon 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, 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 with a black center indicates which row of icons is being displayed. 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 a means of displaying a "wide" toolbar, where a single row of icons is available which displays up to 15 icons on the toolbar, depending on the application. The "wide" toolbar can significantly simplify navigation, but at the expense of increasing how visually "busy" the screen appears and at the expense of hiding less used commands.

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 moving them 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 set to single line or multi-line scrolling.

Icon Text and Icon Sizes

The icons on the EZTaskBar and EZCenterBar may be resized by the user.

Toolbar text may be hidden.

 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 speech will have one or more of these icons available on the toolbar.

To speak text, click on the position in the displayed text where speaking should start and press the Play button. Displayed text will be spoken and highlighted to show the user which text is being spoken.

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 speak the system message.

 Voice Recognition

EZReader taps in to the Internet-based voice dictation capabilities of Windows. In EZReader applications where text must be entered, the user can speak the text instead of typing.

A toolbar icon is provided to activate voice dictation an apps that require text entry.

 OnScreen Keyboard

For users who have difficulty using the keyboard, EZReader provides an on-screen keyboard (OSK). Where text must be entered, the user can use the OSK to enter letters by clicking on the screen.

 ToolTips

When hovering the mouse over an icon on the EZTaskBar and EZCenterBar, a tooltip will be displayed to inform the user which application will be started when the icon is clicked.

Right-mouse clicking on toolbar icons will generate a popup message that identifies the action that will be taken when the toolbar button is pressed, such as this message that is displayed when the Save icon on the toolbar is right-clicked.

 Shortcuts

Each of the EZReader applications, including the EZTaskbar and EZCenterbar, support a variety of shortcuts - keyboard combinations to perform various tasks.

Across the 75+ EZReader apps there are approximately 750 shortcuts. That's a large number but most users will find themselves using only a dozen or so of the shortcuts - corresponding to the EZReader features they choose to use.

In each application, right-mouse clicking on the application Exit button will display a list of the shortcuts for that application.

For a shortcut to work in an application, the application must have "focus", meaning simply that the application will receive the output of the keyboard. EZReader applications that fill the screen will normally have focus. But for the EZTaskBar and EZCenterBar, the user must click on an empty space to give those windows focus.

As an aid to knowing if those two windows have focus, the Exit buttons for each will look like one of these two icons:

The icon on the left means "no focus". The icon on the right means that the application has "focus". Once given focus, the EZTaskBar and EZCenterbar will respond to keyboard shortcuts.

 Full-Screen Windows

To provide maximum readability, EZReader applications are sized to fill the computer screen.

However, an option is available which allows resizing of the EZReader application windows.

A full screen windows can always be dragged to a new location by dragging on an empty area of the toolbar. This is useful for uncovering any underlying application windows that the user may have open.

 System Messages

As part of executing a user command, EZReader may display a temporary popup message indicating the action taken and/or the results of the action, such as this message which indicates that wide-spacing of text was turned off.

EZReader uses the largest possible font to display the popup messages.

Messages are typically displayed for 2 seconds.

 Printing Text

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.

Applications that support printing typically have a toolbar icon to initiate printing. Also, printing keyboard shortcuts are available in most applications that have a printing option.

Some applications, such as Editor and Editor-Lite, have 2 print icons on the toolbar, 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.

Printing is not available in the Book Reader to avoid having the user accidentally print hundreds of pages.

Before printing text, EZReader displays 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 protects the user in two ways.

 Copying/Printing Images

EZReader provides the ability to copy and print any screen. Additionally, if an application displays a graphical image, the user may copy or print just the image by itself. Typically, the F6 key will print the full application window and F7 will print just the graphic portion of the application window.

Both keyboard shortcuts and toolbar buttons are available to perform copy and printing actions.

At any time, users can copy the current EZReader window to the clipboard by pressing Alt-PrtScn on the keyboard. This is a feature provided by Windows (not EZReader).

 Updates

Users who purchase EZReader get free, online software updates.

Updates are available from the EZTaskBar or the EZCenterBar simply by pressing the "U" key or by pressing the Update icon.

Users may also add to the various file libraries that are installed with EZReader. Books, newspapers, text documents, images, grids and music files may all be imported from flash drives using EZReader's import application.

Files received as attachments to an email are automatically moved to the appropriate application folder.

 Technical Support

As part of the purchase, EZReader will be installed on the new PC (or the user's PC). EZReader systems are delivered to users in the Dallas-Ft.Worth, or sent by UPS outside of the Dallas-Ft.Worth areay.

At the time of delivery, users receive a two-hour tutorial on how to use EZReader. Additional tutorials are provided as needed by the user.

EZReader tech support is available 7 days a week by phone or email.

 Remote Control

Tech support can, with user permission, establish remote control of the user's PC to allow troubleshooting and software updates. A TeamViewer remote control application is included in the EZReader installation for that purpose. It can be activated by pressing the "T" icon on either the EZTaskBar or EZCenterBar.

Users must initiate the remote control session and can end it at any time.

Here's a link to the TeamViewer utility used by New Vision Concepts to provide remote tech support:

Team Viewer

It can also be used by tech support to install a trial version of EZReader on a new user's PC.

 EZHelp Phone App

A free Android and iPhone application is available which enables users to very easily send an image from their phone to EZReader tech support.

Once turned on, EZHelp automatically opens the phone camera. Then, when the user presses SEND, the camera image is sent immediately to EZReader tech support.

All the user does is point and click. It does not get any easier than that!

The EZHelp app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.


 EZReader - Help With Vision at Any Age!

Who can benefit from EZReader? The answer is anyone of any age who is experiencing low vision issues!

EZReader users range from 12 to 96 years old, showing that while vision issues may center on seniors, low vision can affect anyone at any age. Whether you need your eyes for school, work or play, EZReader can help!

Here are several of the ways that EZReader helps users at any age and in any life situation:

Games
EZReader comes with over a dozen fun and educational games, addressing both memory and motor skills. While fun to play, games provide both physical and intellectual stimulation. EZReader games also make it fun to learn to use the computer.

Office Tools
The EZReader suite of software provides support for working users in several ways:

Independent Life Skills
At any age, people with low vision want to maintain their independence - to be able to perform many of their daily activities, drawing on family or friends as little as possible. EZReader users find themselves able to perform many tasks on their own, tasks which were once out of their reach:

If you have a task that your vision makes difficult to complete, then EZReader can help!


 How it started!

   As my 95-year-old mother-in-law's macular degeneration progressed, she was no longer able to read even the largest text in her Kindle tablet. After her doctors advised her that her condition could not be improved further with medical treatments, I came up with the idea of the EZReader.

With the large viewing size of EZReader, its large fonts and images, and its extremely easy-to-use touch navigation she was able to read books again. The same solution is now available, with expanded capabilities, to others with visual impairments.

Gary Beene
gbeene@airmail.net
Inventor of the EZReader System


 Locations

EZReader is available for viewing at the following locations.


 Remote Installation

EZReader software comes pre-installed on all computer systems. But when the software is purchased for installation on a user's PC, the following steps are taken by the user before talking with EZReader technical support: