Assisting Vision: Low Vision
Low vision is a visual impairment which cannot be fully corrected with
surgery or glasses. Sometimes, the visual impairment is hereditary but it
can also be caused by eye injuries and diseases. Some symptoms include
blurriness in vision, spots in the sight of vision, and loss of
peripheral vision. Some of the more common low vision disorders are
cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and
This ADE will illustrate some of the issues persons with low vision
experience with computers and the Internet. It consists of three
interactive activities. In the first activity, we will present a
simulation of websites through the eyes of someone with low vision. We
will then present two tools that may help magnify content.
Before we begin, please watch the following videos:
Note: Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Shockwave are needed for this ADE. See
the Technical Help Page for guidance on
getting this technology.
Installation: This ADE requires specific software to be installed and
will require administration access to do so. Installation
of each piece of software will not conflict with each other. That is, the
two tools can be used at the same time. A more detailed description of each
installation will be discussed in each activity.
What to do:
- WebAIM has a simulation tool that
demonstrates some of the issues experienced by people with low vision.
- This activity requires the use of Adobe Shockwave. Your web
browser may try to install the application for you. In this case,
allow the browser to do so. If it is unsuccessful and you do not
have Adobe Shockwave installed, please retrieve it at the
Shockwave Player website. This requires administration access.
Restart your web browser after installation.
- Once Adobe Shockwave is installed, go to the
simulation page. You may see instructions to install Adobe
Shockwave again. Follow through with the installation and the
simulation will appear. Rest assured that this does not create
multiple installations of Adobe Shockwave.
- Once the simulation has loaded, you will see an "Exit" button on
the top left, "Instructions" button to the left, and a "Begin"
button on the right. Select the "Instructions" button to learn
about the simulation.
- Once on the Instructions page, select "Next" on the right of the
screen to read about the tasks that you will be performing in the
- When you are finished reading the Instructions, select "Start the
Simulation" at bottom of the screen.
- As you go through each of the tasks in the simulation, select the
different vision types to see how websites are seen by people with
those vision disorders.
- On the top left of the simulation page are the Instructions, Exit,
and Help menus. Below that, you will see the vision types with
radio buttons for selection. Below that is a window of a website
that you are to perform the tasks on. There are scroll bars to
look at the entire website. To the right of this window is the
instructions for the task. To the right of the task instructions
is the zoom scroll bar. It controls the zoom on the window of a
website (which was on the left). Below the task instructions is
the button "Finish Task". Click on it when you complete a task.
- The simulation will then ask you a question. After entering your
answer, click the "Submit" button on the bottom right. The
simulation will give you feedback on your answer. Click on the
"Back to the Simulation" button to proceed to the next task.
Magnifying Glass is similar to the Magnifier in Windows in the
System-Based Accessibility Settings and Services ADE. With
Virtual Magnifying Glass, a window follows the mouse cursor that
determines the content to be magnified.
Virtual Magnifying Glass and install the downloaded file. This
requires administration access.
- When the tool starts, a magnifier lens appears on the screen
(following your mouse cursor) and an application icon appears in
the system tray.
- Clicking anywhere on the screen will cause the magnifier window
to disappear. You can make it reappear again by clicking on the
- Explore the different settings and customizations the tool offers
by right clicking on the application icon in the task bar.
Information regarding the features can be found at the Getting
Started and Shortcut
- Use Virtual Magnifying Glass to explore the environment and
- To uninstall Virtual Magnifying Glass, exit the program from
the system tray. Then go to the Virtual Magnifying Glass folder
in the Start menu and choose Uninstall. Uninstall
instructions are provided on the product website.
What to hand in:
Hand in a report that answers the following questions.
- What are some of the issues you discovered/learned from the
- What can we do to help deal with the issues from question 1?
- Describe your experience with the Virtual Magnifying Glass. Some
topics to discuss may include (but not limited to):
- Window size
- Magnification size
- Viewing text
- View images
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Which magnifier tool would you prefer to use? Explain.
- Other than magnification tools, what tools may be useful to those
with low vision?
- What were your expectations of this ADE?
- Did this ADE meet your expectations? Provide a rating between 1 and
7, where 1 means not at all, 4 means somewhat, and 7 means
absolutely. Please explain your choice.
- Did you feel that the video(s) for this ADE was appropriate? Why or
why not? Provide a rating between 1 and 7, where 1 means not at
all, 4 means somewhat, and 7 means absolutely. Please explain your
- Do you have any suggestions for other possible videos?
- Did you feel that the questions above got you to think about the
real and serious issues regarding this ADE? Provide a rating
between 1 and 7, where 1 means not at all, 4 means somewhat, and
7 means absolutely. Please explain your choice.
- If you have any suggestions on how to improve this ADE, please
include it here.
article presents web page layouts designed for people with low