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Author Topic: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer  (Read 6637 times)

techidave

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Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« on: February 02, 2013, 03:21:10 PM »
Looking for suggestion for a new flat screen monitor for a friend with macular degeneration.  She needs the everything to be as big as it can be PLUS a black background with white lettering works the best for her.  She also would like to have a mouse pointer that is BIG and black in color. 

I am thinking that someone here has dealt with this problem before and could give me a few hints.  Maybe a bigger screen isn't better or an LED screen would be the answer.  Or would a better video card help?

I originally posted on the forum here with a similar question

thanks,
dave

Tinman57

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2013, 07:13:05 PM »
  It just depends on how far away from the screen the eyes are.  The newer LED's are crystal clear and have adjustments for the background lighting with the O-LED's being better.  A 23 inch wide-screen monitor should be all she will require unless she sits far from the monitor.  As far as pointers go, you can configure your pointers in the mouse properties.

  Most video cards are just fine for everyday 2D applications.

barney

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 02:05:53 AM »
My ex-boss had the condition.  She had a particular prescription just for computer work.  Might investigate that avenue.  (I also had a particular pair of glasses (extreme myopia in my case) for computer work.)  Cost is not particularly great, but it needs an eye professional's judgement as to whether it would be efficacious.  Lenses are a good overall solution, especially if you're likely to view different screens, but if your friend's condition is sufficiently advanced, it might not work.  I wish her well, whatever the resolution.

JoTo

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 04:02:57 AM »
Hi techidave,

i'm an affecte person myself. I dont have macula degeneration though but suffering from Rethinopathia pigmentosa, which results in nearly the same needs for computer work (black background with bright foreground, big fonts and such).

My experience with flatscreens are, that they are worse from me because new big flatscreens come with gazillion of pixels in resolution. Even if they are big in inches this high resolution degrades the visibility again by displaying even big fonts very tiny. Also, most LED flats have a native resolution (very big) and if you change it to a lower resolution you end up with a blurry display. So for me i stay with tube screens (17" at the moment). But they are difficult to purchase nowadays and they need a lot more of space on desk of course, but if you can grab one i'd recommend such one. They are up to 21" or so in the normal consumer market.

Bigger is not always the solution though. In my case, i need to go very close to the screen with my eyes to see good enough. And when the screen is too big, i cant see the edges of the screen without moving my head left and right (because of the seeing angle which is constrained for my eyes too). Keep that in mind when deciding for a monitor size.

For the cursor. I dont see the idea behind a BLACK cursor with BLACK background. That is strange. Well the same problem occurs when you have a program that uses bright background and have a white cursor. My solution here is, using a multicolor, color-cycling cursor. That one is big and i can spot it everywhere on the screen, nevertheless which background it is on, because the bright colors (Red, blue, yellow) are moving all the time. So i can find the cursor even if i'm not sure, where on the screen it is located at the moment. If your friend is interested, i'd gladly share my curor with him. Just ring my bell.

If you want to get more of my experiences with other utils for visually impaired or blind or exchange informations about programs that are usable (color customizable) and all the other stuff concerning low vision and computer, just contact me again. Or point your friend to me, he is very welcome.

Just 2ct. of a self affected...HTH
Greetings
JoTo

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 04:37:11 AM »
Ok JoTo.  I didn't think my post out to well.  To be honest, I am now not sure what color her cursor is.   :-[  I know it has black on her big 17" laptop (XP) but it has white back ground.  On her smaller 10" laptop (Vista) it is black background so it is probably white there.  I believe that she would be interested in your cursor if you don't mind sharing.

I am not sure how she will feel about Windows  but she does have an open mnd about it.

one of the problems with the black background is in her Windows Live Mail desktop program.  If she creates a new mail, then the blackground is black and people cannot read it.  If she forwards or replies, it ignores her background and uses the original senders so its ok.  I have tried changing the settings on live but I only make it worse.

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2013, 04:49:56 AM »
so now for another question:  Is there a difference between flat screen computer monitors and flat screen televisions?  other than the connectors on the back maybe?

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 04:55:21 AM »
now maybe this website has it right, dunno.  site  If you look across the top of the page you will see where you can change the font size and the contrast.  I am not sure what this program would be called that could do this especially if it could do it for any window no matter the program.   :)

Deozaan

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 02:38:49 PM »
so now for another question:  Is there a difference between flat screen computer monitors and flat screen televisions?  other than the connectors on the back maybe?

Flat screen TVs typically max out their resolution at the HD resolution of 1080p, which I believe is 1920x1080, whereas monitors can (and do) have higher display resolutions than that. A TV might be a better solution since a bigger display would mean the image would appear bigger on screen, since the resolution would stay the same no matter the size of the display.


Tinman57

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 07:18:41 PM »
so now for another question:  Is there a difference between flat screen computer monitors and flat screen televisions?  other than the connectors on the back maybe?

Flat screen TVs typically max out their resolution at the HD resolution of 1080p, which I believe is 1920x1080, whereas monitors can (and do) have higher display resolutions than that. A TV might be a better solution since a bigger display would mean the image would appear bigger on screen, since the resolution would stay the same no matter the size of the display.

  This is assuming that her graphics card (GPU) has an HDMI output.

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 08:50:58 PM »
nope its VGA on an older laptop.  Of which she can hook her laptop up to her big 60" or so LCD TV. But i don't think she does that much.  Heck, maybe I just need to see if her internet could hook up to her tv and just let her use that?  ;D

She wants to replace a different laptop back in her office with a desktop computer.  So now, I have been trying to decide what kind of monitor to get her.  So that is the why I am asking all the questions.  I have even wondered about the all in one computers but i think the optical drive would be too difficult for her to use.  I have also wondered about the mini pcs with the Atom processor.  But havent been around one of them.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2013, 10:04:11 PM »
Looking for suggestion for a new flat screen monitor for a friend with macular degeneration.  She needs the everything to be as big as it can be PLUS a black background with white lettering works the best for her.  She also would like to have a mouse pointer that is BIG and black in color. 

I am thinking that someone here has dealt with this problem before and could give me a few hints.  Maybe a bigger screen isn't better or an LED screen would be the answer.  Or would a better video card help?

I originally posted on the forum here with a similar question

thanks,
dave

Going back to the original problem, I'll toss in these ideas.
Let's say she needs things "BIG". Great. Big. So yes, you're gonna lose some ability to cram a lot of stuff per screen view if it's Big. So a bigger monitor sounds like a plus unless it feels overwhelming etc.

So then just "make it all big".
Before they moved it all in Win 7 etc, it used to be:
RightClickDesktop/Properties/Appearance/Advanced/
Then you get a list of desktop elements to Make Big. So you enter new values in the boxes. I didn't do an itemized list but most of your suggested items are in there and cute little utilities should do the rest. Fonts, Icons, the whole bit.

So I def. vote the "bigger screen" because if you are making things bigger, they chew up more space and as long as she doesn't get nervous at the size, she needs to get some of that 'over view' back. And in THAT department I'd recommend a private/____ class with someone who can just spend quality time going over that if she can't see, and needs stuff Bigger, then she'll have to scroll down MUCH MORE etc. That's the kind of thing no one thinks of in these discussions. I'm not all that sharp myself but I have 90 items on my computer desktop. I'm a visual thinker in some ways. If she really needs huge everything, she will just need to learn how to super-folderize everything.



Stoic Joker

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 07:01:57 AM »
IIRC Macular Degeneration leaves one with an ever decreasing field of vision, so don't get too large a screen. I'd stop in the 21" range.

I thing Deo had a good idea with the TV angle as most of the LED TVs these days do have VGA ports and work well at low res.

Have you tried using a colored font (like Orange or a Medium blue) for the Email that shows up acceptably on both black and white backgrounds?

Could also give these folks a call (they're friends of mine) as they've been specializing in low vision equipment for the last 20 years.

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 05:25:55 AM »
based upon your suggestions, here is what I am going to do.  I have a 19" tv/monitor LCD that we are going to try with an existing laptop that she has. (VGA).  I also have a 32" LCD flat panel that also has a VGA port in it.

Then we shall see how she does with each of them for a few days.  That will tell us which one she can see with.  I could also come up with a 19" LCD computer monitor just for comparison sakes.

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2013, 05:13:56 AM »
I tried out the 32" TV yesterday and it was wonderful.  I think that she will like it alot.  I plan on setting it up for her later on today.

Is it common for the tv to not fill the whole screen?  the laptop is 10.1" which is widescreen and so is the 32" tv.  I looked at settings on both but didn't find anything that helped fill the whole screen.

or maybe my perception is distorted?  :D

Ath

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2013, 05:25:35 AM »
Is it common for the tv to not fill the whole screen?
Have you set the external monitor (the tv) as secondary (extend desktop onto it) and to it's native resolution? most likely 1920x1080, or possibly 1367x768, as I don't expect the 10.1" laptop to use those resolutions, so it shows the laptop-resolution (1280x800?) mapped 1:1 on screen.

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2013, 04:47:06 PM »
yes, ath, the tv is set to extend desktop.  tv resolution is 640 x 480.  the laptop is 1024 x 600.

Ath

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2013, 01:55:12 AM »
tv resolution is 640 x 480
Huh? Even my CRT tv can do better than that. I'd expect that size to be show in a 'passe-partout' style on any tv.

You'd prolly better find the native resolution of the tv, and configure the laptop with that for the external monitor, then the image is going to be much better viewable, I guess.

IainB

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2013, 03:55:10 AM »
Not sure if you will have seen these - possibly useful - discussions on DCF:

Also, if not already done, check out these potentially useful references: (some referred to in the links above)

My experience of modifying the inbuilt Windows system colours, fonts, etc. for people with macular degeneration is that such methods are constrained by being a bit complicated and are not entirely successful.
The built in "Ease of Access" mods in Windows, designed for visually-impaired users, also seem a bit limited.
If a web-based email access were used instead of the Windows Live Mail desktop program, then NoSquint could be ideal as its settings are pretty flexible and can be set for a given website.

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2013, 05:45:47 AM »
thanks for the suggestions, Ianb.  I will check them out.  I have personally used f.lux before.  I havent heard about nosquint before.

As for the inbuilt windows system colors, etc., they are in my opinion, limited and difficult to set and have them set for any "window". 

I have also compared the display settings on my win 7 and win computers and they do have a few more settings that XP does not have.  I may have to upgrade her as her condition deteriorates to see if that can help her.

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2013, 05:47:06 AM »
Screen Mask also looks useful.  As does some of the other programs on that site

techidave

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2013, 06:04:32 AM »
Man that nosquint is the bomb!  just trying it out on my own computer and it rocks!   :) 8) :Thmbsup: :up: :-*

IainB

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Re: Suggestions for low vision problems while working on a computer
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2013, 06:31:06 AM »
Man that nosquint is the bomb!  just trying it out on my own computer and it rocks!   :) 8) :Thmbsup: :up: :-*
Yes, I think it's brilliant. I use it all the time.
I mentioned finding out about it, here: Re: ZOOM setting reminder ?

It's been mentioned a few times in the DCF.
Here's a copy of what it makes my screen look like:

Nosquint - example 01a on DCF.png
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 06:36:46 AM by IainB »