>>Dawn: Hello, everyone and welcome to this week’s webinar, exploring the common EPUB reading apps that offer great experiences for learners with low vision. There are some quick housekeeping items to review. Live captioning is available by clicking on the CC icon at the bottom of the zoom screen. You can enlarge the captioning box by clicking on the upward arrow in the top right corner. This will be a 40 minute session with 20 minutes at the end for questions. If at any point you have trouble seeing the bottom of the screen, simply adjust your view options in the top center of the zoom window. To ask questions or make comments, please use the Q&A pane. You will find the Q&A icon at the bottom of your zoom window. Feel free to submit your questions at any time. But please note that since we may not get to them until the end, be sure to mention which software our assistive technology you’re talking about. We have set up a resource
page at bit.ly/epub-atn The QR code to the right will also take you to the site. As soon as we have that webinar recording, we post it on that page along with the PowerPoint decks. The next webinar will take place in two weeks on May 21st at 2 p.m. We will be hearing from Cengage, McGraw-Hill Wiley, Macmillan and Pearson. Now I would like to turn it over to today’s speakers and let them introduce themselves. Thank you so much Richard, Luis and Robin.>>Richard: Thank you. I’m joining you from the Daisy consortium today. Myself I don’t have low vision but for many years I worked with students doing assessments around assistive technology they might need because of their sight conditions. So I have experience from that area. Currently I work at the Daisy consortium on reading systems and publisher standards.>>Luis: I work for the national AEM center for short. I do have low vision. I was diagnosed in my early 30s. I’m in my mid40s now .>>Robin: I currently work as senior manager for innovation and development at royal national institute of blind people. I have low vision. I’ve lived all my life with low vision. I have a condition of albinism. I have no sense of deficit or loss. – The vision I have is entirely normal to
– me.>>Richard: This webinar is around the common EPUB reading apps that are used particularly by people with low vision. We’ll do demonstrations for you across windows, iOS and Android. The apps will be relevant whether you get them from AccessText or bookshare or through library system or from the publisher. Let’s move then to low vision and reading .>>Luis: So in terms of some of the common challenges that people with low vision face, they range across a number of different conditions. It could be acuity or the ability to focus on the text. It could be reduce contrast sensitivity. Sensitivity to glare which could be sensitivity to certain types of lighting or photophobia. The one that I’m most familiar with is reduce field of vision. Currently I have about 9 to 10 degrees of central vision left. Related to that I also experience sensitivity to movement at times. There could be preceptional differences, visual fatigue is another I experience because in order to account for the limited central vision that I have, I have to do quite a bit of scanning in order to be able to read the content that’s in front of me. So that can tire my eyes out by the end of the day. So my vision changes throughout the day as well. That’s something to keep in mind.>>Richard: So these are very familiar to me having met some 400 or so students over my career. I guess the one that people mostly think about is the inability to focus on text and needing bigger text. Certainly when I demonstrate systems to people, they are keen on color combinations, color contrast and needing to reduce glare as well.>>Luis: Absolutely. A lot of accommodations in the past I have gotten is making the text bigger and that can cause more effort on my part. So just to borrow some language from other communities, if you met a person with low vision, you met one person with low vision. There’s variety in our community. From webAIM the question was asked which of the following types of visual impairments did you have. Visual acuity is the greatest number of people. That was 75%. Light and glare was 61%. Contrast sensitivity and limited field of vision were at 47% and 49%. Color vision and color blindness about 1 and 5 people or 20%. People who indicated other was about 18%. 75% of the response to this webAIM survey reported having multiple types of visual impairment. That’s not uncommon. A lot of these occur in conjunction. 31% reported having 4 or more visual challenges. An interesting finding is that the prevalence of color blindness in the respondents was about 19%. In the general population that’s about 4%. That gives you an overview of the variability when we speak about low vision. The image you see on the screen is a paly robson chart that is used for testing color sensitivity.>>Richard: There is such variability. I guess the critical thing here is in the digital world there’s more capability to customize their experience to their needs and that could change throughout the day. That is more difficult in the physical world of printed materials.>>Luis: Absolutely.>>Richard: What we got here are illustrative images that demonstrate the affects of some common eye conditions on vision particular related to reading. We developed them in conjunction to low vision clinicians. This is important to stress this is not going to give you the experience of what it is like to live with low vision . These are illustrative images that we’re going to look at. They are seeking to show the variability. It will help to be able to refer to these images. The first one we have is around cataracts. Robin, you were going to speak to this one.>>Robin: Cataract is a common cause of low vision. It’s a condition where users will report a gradual blurring of what they’re able to see. Sometimes people will be completely unaware of the impact until the condition has progressed to a level that’s impacting their functioning. People will often describe things becoming more hazy and there’s a surgery available for many people who have cataracts is carried out, people will report that they noticed a loss of detail and clarity and sharpness. Again, stressing that that is often a very gradual onset. It’s quite often the case that the person with the condition doesn’t actually recognize the impact of it until the condition has been improved through surgery. So it’s possible very routine procedure for many hospitals throughout the world to carry out a cataract surgery where the lens can be replaced giving a person much better vision. That just to stress is an individual experience of it. It’s important to recognize that that will vary significantly from one user to another. It’s worth mentioning that with any of these conditions, environment is critical. If you are reading in an environment with a good level of natural lighting that’s comfortable to you, things may go well and you may have a positive experience. If the sun light levels were to change or get dark you may need to adjust the lighting level to make sure that it’s consistent and comfortable for you in that particular setting.>>Luis: I will speak to retinitis and glaucoma. These conditions are distinct conditions but manifest in a similar way as a loss of peripheral vision. This is what I experience. I tell people to take their hands and make two small circles and look at the screen through the small circles. It gives them an idea to read with retinitis Pigmentosa . People refer to it as tunnel vision. You lose photoreceptor cells in the back of the eye. You will lose the field of vision from the outside in. With retinitis Pigmentosa, it’s difficult to track movement. There’s other issues I experience with it. I have good vision all the way on the outside of the periphery and then lose it from the periphery to the center. Another term they use is island vision. This is a condition that affects the retina which is the back of the eye .>>Richard: Next we have a slide on viewing text with diabetic retinopathy.>>Robin: Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common conditions we come across in the western world. It is in fact on the increase. What’s common and difficult to understand is the variable nature of the condition. People with diabetic retinopathy will report that they have floaters or patches of blurred vision. These patches move around. They are represented on the slide as dark areas that look like land masses on a map. That is sometimes how these will be experienced by individuals. We’re also aware that that variation is present there. Sometimes people will describe that the blotchy areas are less pronounced. Perhaps they’re lighter or not as dark. Again, the condition can vary on stress levels and general health and other factors in the environment. You can imagine that it’s quite difficult to explain that one day or one time of day you have patchy vision in a particular part of your visual field and that at another time that patchy area may have shifted to a different spot within your visual field. So there are misunderstandings to this condition as is the case with any visual impairment but the nature of diabetic retinopathy means it often takes some simulation and understanding in terms of how best to accommodate. It might be fine to read text in a large font when the vision is good but when the floaters are in a part of the visual field and vision is less efficient for the individual that might be difficult. So people with diabetic retinopathy switch between large text or perhaps using a feature like read aloud or synthetic speech. So for some conditions the variability is a significant issue and diabetic retinopathy is a prime example of that.>>Richard: We’ve now moved to the illustration around Macular Degeneration. Luis will you whiz us through this slide?>>Luis: Macular Degeneration is very similar to retinitis Pigmentosa. What’s affected is the central vision here. This is a condition that affects the retina which is the photoreceptor cells in the back of the eye. The pattern is somewhat different. This is one of the leading causes of vision loss and is related to age. Among people over 50 this is a big source of vision loss. Next slide. So in terms of visual adjustments I think it’s important to emphasize the variability. Formats like EPUB really shine. We have a number of different options to choose from. It depends on what your needs are in terms of the progression of your condition or even within a day. I may need something early in the morning and then as my vision gets not as good, I can use a different set of features. So I can adjust the font size, I can choose different fonts, I can choose from different color combinations. This is a feature I use often. So that I have light text
on a dark background. It gives me additional contrast. I can adjust the line spacing. Some of the reading apps may have other spacing settings. One that I use quite a bit is the margins. I like to bring in the content from the margins so more of it is in my central vision. As I said, later in the day I will often use the Read Aloud feature that is available to compliment what I’m reading or maybe just take a break to let my vision restore or rest.>>Richard: So, before we get into the demonstration of specific products, we wanted to show you what this looked like in practice. So we prepared two short videos that will show the concept of visual adjustments and Read Aloud. So students with low vision 80% higher education books are in EPUB. The production processes means EPUB is produced first and PDF is something they may have to do a special version of. We’ve shown you the reflowable text and read the text on different size screens or resize the text and not doing the panning and scanning. Having adjustable fonts and spacing and colors are built into the EPUB technology. Students can interact with the entire book so they can go to references or links to glossaries that are toward the end of the print book. There are multiple reading systems out there that vary and will offer different choices including many mobile options. As we go through this transition to EPUB which is happening really fast, then students have to get to grips with how EPUB offers them great advantages for them if they have low vision. Something that comes up whenever we talk with educators around EPUB is the challenge around [inaudible]. What is shown on the screen is not one to one what is on the print book. So how could you know what page you’re on. Publishers are now putting page level mark up. So whether you’re on screen 2 or 2000, you can know where you are in relation to the print book. So reading systems like digital addition and edge you’ll see a go to page function that will take you to the same place in the book as if you were leafing through the paper book. So go to page is important. I’m here to reassure you that that’s being built into the digital editions and into the reading apps as well. We could do demos for you. We’ve probably got more demos than we have time for. We want to take you through the sorts of things we would be able to show you. One thing is there are EPUB reading systems shipping as standard on the devices you already have. Apple books which comes on iOS and Mac os is all based on EPUB. You could take an EPUB that’s being provided to you say through the AccessText network and you don’t have to download an app. There’s an app that you can use to read that. Similarly on Android, Google play. That’s base around EPUB. The demonstration you saw just back there of visual adjustments and Read Aloud they were using the browser that ships on windows 10. You click on and it will open in edge. There are other apps as well. VitalSource bookshelf. This is a popular platform for providing text books in
higher ed in the U.S. and many other countries. They have bookshelf app available across Android, iOS and and windows and webAIM. Redshelf is their app runs through a browser. So you don’t have to down load any software. You have use the browser and that’s how you access the books that way. Then a com couple of specialist apps Dolphin Easy Reader and voice dream reader. Luis, you will take us away with the first demo.>>Luis: I’m going to be… let me take over the screen here. Okay. You should be able to see my screen. I will be demoing two apps. Book which is the built in option for reading EPUB on iOS devices and Mac. And the experience is very similar on iOS and on the Mac. I will launch books. Then you can see my bookshelf where I have the different EPUB titles I want to read. I’m going to choose one here from McMillen. I’m going to open that EPUB book and there are a few options you can use to adjust the display. You need to tap on the center of the screen in order to display the different controls. I tap and it brings up the controls on the top of the screen. One of those options is indicated by big A and a little A. That’s where you find a lot of display settings. It will bring up settings that I can adjust. One is the text size. You can see on the page as I resize the image will move around. That is the feature of the reflow. I can also adjust other options. I can choose a different font. On iOS devices there’s a special font called San Francisco. This was specifically designed for displaying content on devices with retina displays. That’s the one I prefer when I’m reading on my tablet. The other thing you can do is change the theme. There are options here. You can set it up with a [inaudible] background. There’s a night reading mode where you get a gray background
with light text on it. The option I use most of the time when reading is the full high contrast option. You get a black background with light text on it. What’s nice is you can also set this up to adjust for you automatically. You can choose the automatic night theme optionism that will use the time of the day to switch the theme. You can switch to a scrolling view. When you change to the scrolling view, you’re now moving from the top of the page to the bottom. You’ll scroll through the page that way. I happen to like that option. So I use that quite a bit. So those are some of the display options. This is Books, the built in app on iOS and available on the Mac. It has similar options for adjusting the display. Next I’m going to show you Voice Dream reader. This is more of a special app. It’s a third party app that you can search from the app store. I will launch the same title. You have a few additional options that you don’t have with the built in Books app. You will find in the upper-right hand corner a little A and a big A. I can also perform a double tap with 3 fingers and zoom in on that so you can see that better. I can double tap with 3 fingers again to hide the zoom. Once I tap on that icon it brings up the visual settings. While in here, there’s two different views: Rich text and plain text. Most work best on plain text. I can choose font and spacing. If I want to choose a different font… I don’t want the Georgia font. I want chalk board font. I can adjust the text size in one of two different ways. I can use the plus and minus option or move the slider and the text will adjust on the page. As I mentioned earlier, a number of these apps have option for the spacing. In Voice Dream Reader, the character spacing, the line spacing or the margins. I will often adjust the margins so that more of the content is in the center of the display and that makes it easier for me to read the content. You can also change the theme. Soy you can choose from a light theme, dark one that gives you more contrast or to aaddress the variability, you can choose a custom theme. For any of these you can change the colors. You have millions of colors here. For the text, the background, the highlighting that’s used during the read aloud. For any of
these features you can choose any colors from this wide pallet that’s available within this app. And then under advance visual settings an option that I think was designed for people with reading
difficulties but I use it quite a bit is the number of lines visible. I Will often turn that on. It basically adds a mask around so only a few lines of text are available. That helps me with tracking which is an issue for me. There is a read aloud feature built into this app. I can turn that on by using the controls at the bottom of the screen or double tap on one of these words and it will start reading aloud from that point on. You may not be able to hear this with the screen sharing but let’s give it a shot . I’ll pause that. I wanted to give you a sense of how that works. You can hear the read aloud, you can change the colors of this highlighting if you prefer. So you can change the highlighting for the words and the lines. There are some options for the voices. You can use the built in iOS voices or purchase additional voices and adjust the speaking rate in here. Before I turn it over to Robin, I should mention there’s a built in reading feature called speak screen. That’s an option if you’re using the built in Books app. You turn that on where you swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers. That will perform basic read aloud. You have to turn that feature on in settings before you can use it. You have that in iOS built in or some of these apps have their own read aloud support. Now I will turn it over to Robin.>>Robin: Okay. So I have here Google Playbooks set up. I’m going to have a look at some of the options available. Now, it’s worth saying that very often individuals will use a mix of magnification and increased font sizes. So by using magnification, I’m using 1 finger to tap 3 times. You’ll notice an orange boarder appears and that gives me a magnified mode. I have to pan around the screen or pinch to make larger or smaller than the magnification speech feature. I will turn magnification off for a moment. Inside this app I will bring up by hitting the large A and small A text and tone and I can do similar things to what Luis has shown in iOS. I can change the fonts to a particular font that works for me. It’s often the case for folks with low vision that certain times of the day a particular font might work better for the individual. Maybe as the person gets tired, the size of the font is increased a little bit. A lot of people prefer a dark background as the sun falls. So many people prefer bright text on a back ground any time a day but low vision people when natural light falls away, they prefer to flip the contrast. So you can do that similar to iOS. You do that by white on black, a dark gray on a sepia color and then black on a white background. A lot of people low vision find black with white can become glary. It’s worth being aware of that. In the same box you notice it’s possible to make the font size smaller or larger. If I touch the T which is to the right of the 75%, around the center of the screen, you’ll notice that as I touch it, it moves up in increments. We can set that to exactly the level that you like. So here I set it to 125%. That is particularly helpful for me. We can do things like change the line spacing as well. For some individuals at different times of day that will be a factor terms of ease of reading. Some prefer default or left justified. You have the option to make that change to when it suits you. I will show you other fonts in here just to give you a sense. Mary weather is one here that is popular. Some of those fonts have been designed specifically to be easier for people with low vision to read. We can also do things like turn on night light which makes reading easy. It tints your screen amber at night. That can also be set to a timer to work for the individual. It’s worth saying that it’s really helpful for anyone listening to this to take these ideas and try them out with students. I’m surprised by the number of students and adults who are not in education who perhaps got their own device but they’re not aware of the functionality that exists in the device. It’s a delight to introduce them to these features especially where they’re able to make a significant difference. So experimenting is key for these features.>>Richard: Before you hand over the screen to me, would you just show us that same device in landscape mode?>>Robin: It does make a difference. When I’m reading, I’m often reading with the screen in landscape mode because I’m able to get a longer string of words horizontally. In many ways it’s more comfortable to hold devices in landscape mode. The screen will appear larger.
So that’s a helpful point. I think that’s particularly the case when using the tablet. As smart phones have become larger, that has become increasingly important.>>Richard: I know we’re rushing through these demos but in the slide deck there is a grid that will help you about the different features. Now let’s move to hopefully a video we’re going to see of the VitalSource bookshelf operating on apple Mac>>We’ve whizzed through those demos. Reminder we have the grid that you can look at to see the different features that exist. There’s also new reviews being posted. Luis, will you take us through this take away slide?>>Luis: Absolutely. So in terms of take aways, as we mentioned, a few key themes have come through. The idea of variability and finding a nice match in all of these options that are available with these reading systems when they are access in EPUB. So keep in mind that low vision students can benefit from reading
systemss, have visual adjustments in read aloud and we showed you those across a different of different reading systems and plat forms. Many offer the same features. Read aloud, the ability to change the text size, adjust background colors but there may be slight variation. One system might offer more options of font or color combinations. The important thing is that those features are available for learners to use. Then what’s most important to show learners a variety of options and empower them to find those settings that work the best for their specific individual needs that they have. Sort of the analogy I use is a bicycle in that you have an adjustable seat. You don’t get a bicycle for somebody who is really tall or short. You get a bicycle with an adjustable seat and then a wide range of people are able to use it. I can adjust the bicycle seat by adjusting the font and text size and colors to match my needs and the progression of it and the time of day and so on. There’s some extensive reviews
of these reading systems. You can find those at inclusive publishing. Org/rs-accessibility. So you can learn more about what are the specific features of each of these reading systems support .>>Richard: So Dawn Evans that concludes the set of slides. It’s over to you. Hopefully we have questions cued up. I’m sorry we haven’t managed 20 minutes.>>Dawn: That’s all right. I have a couple of questions for you. First, if I’m not mistaken, the questioner says, past work shops have shown a go to page feature. Is this included in EPUB or not?>>Richard: So the go to page feature is in a variety of different reading apps. I Referenced those on digital editions, VitalSource, Redshelf and so on. So that’s one of the things that we evaluate in those reviews and tell you about. Go to page is supported in EPUB. So long as it’s put in by the publisher and supported by the reading systems.>>Dawn: Perfect. What is the best application for reading college math text books such as calculus or statistics?>>Richard: Well, now we’re getting into some interesting space because that whole mark up of math is kind of tricky. It’s something that we’re working on with the publishers to ensure they’re doing the best they can. All of the publishers have them marked up beautiful in math ML but they are an image. So actually some of the most basic ones come out well. The Books app shown by Luis has a future where if you tap on an image it makes it full screen. Edge that is built into windows if you click on an image that makes it full screen. So those math are typically included in an EPUB as an image. So you’re looking at a reading systems that is able to manipulate the images in a way that suits you. I think that’s the best I can do with that answer for the moment. Things like read aloud typically at the moment will not be supported because it’s an image. Read aloud is designed not to read the alt text. So it’s about being able to manipulate the visual display.>>Dawn: Thank you. Can you change the way that VitalSource highlighting the text. – I think they may be referred to the
– synchronized highlighting.>>Richard: This is in the labs at the moment. I actually found that it worked with the default settings of black text on a white background. When I change the themes, the visual highlighting went away. So in one sense you can turn it off by using that trick. So that’s the current state of play. I’m not sure but I would have to look at their platform in addition to the web version of VitalSource to see if it offers different options. I believe there aren’t. You haven’t got the customization that you have for example in voice dream reader that Luis was showing us. It’s in lab. They asked for feedback and that’s a great suggestion.>>Dawn: All right. Will any of the EPUB apps allow for text extraction?>>Richard: Luis, I’m doing a lot of talking, do you want to take this one?>>Luis: It really depends on the app and also… I will let you answer that one, Richard. I’m not too familiar.>>Richard: You can do things like make notes in an EPUB reader but also cut and paste text out of it. So the answer is yes. If you’re reading and want to quote something, you select and copy and post it in. Sometimes it gives you some citation information for what it puts in the clip board as well. It will vary between the apps because that’s not the EPUB standard. They’re all set up for studying and reading. I can’t think of one that doesn’t allow you to extract text from the EPUB. Whether we were talking about extracting a larger chunk like a whole chaper, I don’t know.>>Luis: Yes, there are some of these apps include some study tools. So you can highlight and take notes. I make use of the highlighting quite a bit. In voice dream reader I can use
highlighting to navigate to specific sections of the book. So I can bring up a list of my high – lights and go to that section of the
– book.>>Richard: Some of them will allow you to do audio notes as well. So you would highlight a piece of text and record something into that. So that might be useful if you find typing on a small keyboard difficult.>>Dawn: Excellent. We have made our way through all of the questions thus far. If anyone out there has any more questions, please do post them in the Q&A. I want to give our presenters an option if there’s anything else that you would like to cover now is your chance. If no more questions come in, then we will wrap things up.>>Richard: We have more demos that we could do but maybe people can indicate on the Q&A. We have a demo demonstrating another mobile reading app called easy reader. It’s designed for people with print disabilities but can read EPUBs. People have asked specific questions around copying and pasting and go to page. So from the link that you saw on the earlier page, if you want to, that will take you to some very detailed evaluations on a website called EPUBtest. Org. We test for these very specific things. The ability to cut text above 400 characters. The ability to go to page. The ability to change the visual highlighting on the read aloud. These are things we test for and publish the results on those .>>Dawn: I do have… would you reiterate which app was demoed second. I know the first two videos was Microsoft Edge. Which one came after that. ?>>Luis: I showed Books first on iOS. That’s the built in e-book reader and then Voice Dream Reader and that’s a commercial app.>>Dawn: That was all on your iPad tablet?>>Luis: Correct.>>Richard: So we did two short videos that was in Microsoft Edge. Then Luis showed books on his iPad followed by voice dream reader on his iPad. Then we transitioned to Robin who showed us Google Play on Android. Then I showed VitalSource Bookshelf online which is the browser accessed version of their reading app .>>Dawn: Perfect.>>Richard: Are we looking at wrapping up or showing another video?>>Dawn: I think we should wrap up . Did you share with them where they can view that extra video? Will be post that on the resource page?>>Richard: Let’s post that on the resource page. The video that we didn’t have time to show you which is Dolphin Easy Reader on Android… they also have a version for iOS… both apps are free and great. You can see that and that will be posted with the slide deck.>>Dawn: Thank you. If you would go to the last slide, everybody, thank you so much for attending. Thank you Richard, Luis and Robin for presenting very excellent information. Again, the resources page where you’ll have all of your links and videos and recordings is bit. Ly/epub-atn . I hope everyone has a great day. We will see you in two weeks. Not one week this time. Two weeks. All right.