NewDeal Hot Tip 1515

[Hot Tips for...] General Use

Tips for the Visually Handicapped

QUESTION: My mom's in a wheel chair and partially blind. She has NewDeal software, but she cannot see the mouse pointer to use the program. I have enlarged the type, but that's not good enough. Can anyone out there help me?

ANSWER from Robin Bush: I've used NewDeal software for over 4 years and computers in general for about 10 years. I'm "legally blind" with corrected vision of about 20/400 in one eye (3 meters in the other). I'd enjoy helping to come up with some ideas for your mom that would make using the computer a bit easier.

I'm assuming that you already ran Preferences and set the system font size to large in the Look and Feel section.

There's no method that I know of for changing the size or appearance of the mouse pointer. However, there is something you can do that will help your mom to predict where the mouse will be, based on the "feel" of it. This might sound a bit ridiculous but it DOES work. Run NewDraw. Create a medium sized solid box of a bright color. Choose the select tool and click on the square so that the handles are showing. Point your mouse at the center handle. Click and hold the LEFT mouse button. As long as the button is held, the square will move with the mouse, acting as a marker for the mouse's position on the screen. This is where your mom comes in. Get her to grab the mouse and move it around on the screen. Using Preferences, Mouse select the mouse speed and acceleration that your mom is most comfortable with. Have her practice with the square until she's bored with it. Whenever the mouse is at rest, have her leave it in the upper right hand corner of the current window. This way she always has a place to go back and "find" it. Remember--this is an exercise, not a solution. But it really does help to give a person a "feel" for where the mouse cursor is.

Aside from size, color can be very important for seeing things. You may be able to find a high contrast color combo that will work well for your mom. Another very simple thing that can help is to go to a stationary store and get one of those see-through yellow plastic report covers. Place that on the monitor and look through it at text. Sometimes the white background with black text is too high-glare and this helps.

Finally, there are some costly screen magnifiers for use in DOS and with DOS programs such as WordPerfect, Lotus 123, etc. There's also a public domain counterpart called MAGNIFY.ZIP. If your mom does anything at the DOS prompt or uses any text-based DOS programs, it might help. It is truly terrific as it will magnify any portion of your screen. Unfortunately it will not work within graphical environments such as NewDeal.

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Last Modified 2 Mar 1999