PDF reader in Microsoft Edge and Immersive Reader goes mobile.

We don’t usually have a collection of stategies but in this case Alistair McNaught has posted an interesting comment on Linkedin that he now uses Edge to read PDFs. From the quote below the browser offers better reading experiences not just with the usual table of contents, page view and text to speech.

Microsoft Edge comes with a built-in PDF reader that lets you open your local pdf files, online pdf files, or pdf files embedded in web pages. You can annotate these files with ink and highlighting. This PDF reader gives users a single application to meet web page and PDF document needs. The Microsoft Edge PDF reader is a secure and reliable application that works across the Windows and macOS desktop platforms. More Microsoft Edge features

Microsoft have also updated their Immersive Reader so that it now works on iOS and Android. The following text has been taken from a post that might be useful ‘What’s New in Microsoft Teams for Education | July 2021’

  • Immersive Reader on iOS and Android. Immersive Reader, which uses proven customization techniques to support reading across ages and abilities, is now available for Teams iOS and Android apps. You can now hear posts and chat messages read aloud using Immersive Reader on the Teams mobile apps.
  • Access files offline on Android. The Teams mobile app on Android now allows you to access files even when you are offline or in bad network conditions. Simply select the files you need access to, and Teams will keep a downloaded version to use in your mobile app. You can find all your files that are available offline in the files section of the app. (This is already available on iOS.)
  • Teams on Android tablets. Now you can access Teams from a dedicated app from Android tablets.
  • Inline message translation in channels for iOS and Android. Inline message translation in channels lets you translate channel posts and replies into your preferred language. To translate a message, press and hold the channel post or reply and then select “Translate”. The post or reply will be translated to your UI language by default. If you want to change the translation language, go to Settings > General > Translation.”

Thank you Alistair for this update on some new strategies.

Accessibility Maze Game

maze game screen grabIf you want to learn about digital accessibility in a fun way try the Accessibility Maze Game developed by The Chang School, Ryerson University in Ontario, Canada. It takes a bit of working out and you may not get to all the levels but have a go!

When you have managed to get through the levels there is a useful “What you can do to Remove Barriers on the Web” pdf downloadable ebook telling you all about the issues that you will have explored during the Accessibility Maze Game. These are all related to W3C Web Cotent Accessibility Guidelines but presented in ten steps.

The ebook is available in an accessible format and has been provided under Creative Common licencing (CC-BY-SA-4.0)

SCULPT for Accessibility

SCULPT process thanks to Digital Worcester – Download the PDF infographic

Helen Wilson has very kindly shared her link to SCULPT for Accessibility. Usually we receive strategies that relate to student’s work, but in this case, this is a set of resources that aim “to build awareness for the six basics to remember when creating accessible documents aimed at the wider workforce in a local authority or teachers creating learning resources.”

It seemed at this time whilst everything was going online due to COVID-19 this was the moment to headline the need to make sure all our work is based on the principles of accessibility, usability and inclusion. JISC has provided a new set of guidelines relating to public service body regulations and providing online learning materials. Abilitynet are also offering useful links with more advice for those in Further and Higher Education

Otter Voice Notes and Transcription

Otter creates voice notes that combine audio, transcription and speaker identification for free on a desktop/laptop computer when online and with mobile and tablet apps. 

Otter is a real time speech recognition service, that can recognise different speakers in recorded sessions, allow you to download the output in text and audio as well as SRT.  It is really quite accurate even when using a desktop microphone with clear English speakers in a small room.  We have found it useful for note taking and transcribing interviews but have not tested it in a lecture theatre.  The free online version of Otter offers 600 minutes of transcription per month with unlimited cloud storage and synchronisation across devices.  Visit the App Store or Google Play for more features and reviews.

 The Premium version provides more features, such as names of speakers when they register and are recognised by recording a little bit of speech and 6,000 minutes of transcription per month.  PC Mag provided a review in June 2018 and mentioned that with the free plan, users get 600 minutes of transcriptions per month.

ECS Accessibility Team, University of Southampton. 

iPhone, iPad or iOS 12 Shortcuts app to create custom shortcuts

shortcuts appThe Apple iOS free Shortcuts app can be used to make many tasks one step easier.  If you go to the Apple store you can download the ShortCuts app

Several websites have commented on how useful it is, and AbilityNet provided an early review about how Siri can be used in additional ways with this app.  It makes it possible to combine several steps into one automated step using the Shortcuts Widget or just asking Siri.

There is a gallery of shortcuts and one of them is a universal clipboard that allows you to dictate content using Siri for pasting into any other app or sending a message, email etc with just one command.

GadgetHacks has more hints and tips about this app.

YouTube video on making Siri shortcuts by Max Dalton (Published on 18 Sep 2018)

Free Apps to assist with colour deficiency issues in a pharmacy lab, with graphs and dissection

Here are some useful, free applications I came across for a needs assessment I have just completed.

colour blind assistantColorblind Assistant –  PC – Hover mouse over pixel in any running application – Excel/Powerpoint/PDF/Word etc, and the program displays the colours name.

“Colorblind Assistant is free software that instantly picks the color from the mouse pointer, providing you with a written name of the color, as well as other useful data such as RGB values and bar graphs, brightness and saturation.” It is available as an Android app on Google Play.

color ID appColor ID Free – iPhone and Android – Point phone or tablet device at any object and software displays name of currently viewed colour.

“Color Identifier uses the camera on your iPhone or iPod touch to speak the names of colors in real-time. It’s an Augmented Reality app for discovering the names of the colors around you!”

My student was a Pharmacology student who was having difficulty with graphs, lab equipment, dissection. Tested the phone app with various items I had around, and it was very good. As it is on a portable device, it is ideal for lab/field work.

 

Tim Symons | Training Co-ordinator/Needs Assessor/AT Trainer | Access SUMMIT