Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tips on making texts & pictures accessible to a large print user

The following is directly applicable to those working with the student mentioned in the last few posts, who suffered vision loss due a brain tumour. But of course it can apply to many children with low vision. 

Enlarging texts, diagrams and pictures

    1. NOT A3. When adapting texts it is not sufficient simply to enlarge an A4 sheet to A3 size as this rarely ensures the text is in his preferred font size. Besides the A3 sheet is bulky to handle and difficult to manipulate in a classroom.
    2. 26 POINT. The pupil benefits from a font size of no less than 26 point. He may appear to read slightly smaller sizes but his speed of scanning is dramatically reduced as the text reduces in size.
    3. ARIAL. The pupil benefits from a plain, unembellished font such as Arial and he prefers bold formatting. He can read other fonts but his ease of scanning may be affected with more complex fonts.
    4. ADVANCE PLANNING. To ensure texts are adequately enlarged his reading materials should be presented to staff supporting him in adequate time for them to be adapted. Reasonable notice for adapting work is one week in advance of lessons.
    5. ORIGINALS. Originals should be provided for adapting in preference to copies and where possible originals in colour.
    6. QUALITY IMAGE. When adapting materials the quality of images and diagrams needs careful consideration. Enlarging a low resolution image can actually make it less accessible as the pixels become distorted with enlargement. Black and white images and diagrams may lose their definition if enlarged. High resolution images can be enlarged with no loss of quality. Alternatively pictures or diagrams may be made accessible in other ways. They can for instance be audio described by the teacher or support worker. Or instead of a picture descriptive text may be provided.
    7. AUDIO DESCRIPTION. In addition to presenting images, either in print or projected on a board, the pupil benefits from audio description of those images. Visually impaired pupils always benefit from significant extra and enhanced verbal description and explanations of material that is not fully accessible.
    8. NUMBERING LINES. Be precise when giving instructions. Giant print is difficult to navigate at the best of times, because of the limited number of words on the screen or page. Therefore clear precise instructions from the class teacher will help the pupil to navigate a page of writing and find the right line or word when attempting to move from one section to another quickly. Numbering pages, paragraphs or lines may help the pupil to find the location of a text more quickly and effectively. 
    9. PACINGThe pupil will benefit from attention to the general pace of lessons and especially verbal description of board texts and graphics. A rapid lesson pace may not be suitable for the pupil especially where texts are involved. His speed of scanning texts is slow compared to other pupils and it may take him a while to coordinate his vision and writing. Slowing the pace a little to match the pupil’s speed of access will aid the pupil keep up with lesson content.
    10. COLOUR CODING. Colour coding of headings and key points will enable the pupil to navigate a page more effectively.


  1. Hi! I recently made an app for android that takes a picture of a page (words) and then speaks it aloud. I wanted to do it open source (free), inspired by a Ted Talk video that stated this technology used to cost a lot.
    Now any android phone can do it, here it is I'm trying to get it out there to those who can use it:

    Also on the left of the page you will see a version that takes a picture of ANY language (but this one is more geared to travelling:)


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  2. Above link has been changed, See Say Image to Speech for the Visually Impaired is now here on Google Play:

    Take Picture of Book Page, Android Reads it Aloud! See Say Image to Speech OCR.
    An app for android that takes a picture, and speaks the text aloud:) A tool for the visually impaired, or just for the curious.
    I was inspired by a Ted Talk that mentioned that not too long ago, this technology was available for around $10,000.00, for the visually impaired. Technology has come so far that I am able to write this app and release it for under five bucks :)

  3. There is also one that does page image to speech translating from any language:

  4. Further along the lines of Visual Impairment, I spent the better part of 6 months developing Object Recognition, in other words, picture of ANY object to speech. This tool works best on "things", not people, and it gets smarter each update. It's named ANDROID EYE, and it won Reviewers Choice Award, with much great positive feedback:

  5. Interesting! I have been looking for this info for the last few hours.
    check out here: Holidays for people with disabilities