Keyguard for ZoomText V2 keyboard

by Ucjusz Sep 13, 2018
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Fantastic design! I will share this with some friends who are teachers of the visually impaired (and therefore likely to have a few zoom text keyboards around). I'm glad you're able to develop tools that empower your dad and maximize his independence. #thefutureisaccessible

Thanks. Actually I know a few blind people and i'm pretty aware of their problems. I haven't discussed this design with them, since its target is movement disorder, but on next occasion I will.

I have more projects aimed at movement disorders and visually impaired already under way. I will post them if they prove to be effective.

Having the high contrast background around the outside of the keys will definitely help some people with low vision (what helps varies SO much between individual people, as you already know). I think this would be easier than trying to paint the background of the keyboard white! Can you please let me know if you ever come across a CAD program that is screenreader accessible? I had a blind friend over to play with my 3D printer last weekend. He's a machinist and was able to explain the purpose of a few of the parts to me. Lack of accessible CAD software is the biggest problem for his business. We haven't designed any assistive technology tools together yet, but we came up with a list of models to print for tactile exhibits at a local museum. We will show up one day with a box of models and say "take this out whenever a blind person shows up, also we are going to tell all our blind friends so we will know if you don't!" (It's a small organization and we are friendly with the staff.)

If it were only for contrast, I'd rather paint the keys. ;)

A machinist... that's quite extraordinary. I have very little experience in CAD software but I think that CAD program that works well with screenreaders is just insufficient. Blind person would require totally different design philosophy and workflow. It's a very small niche and I doubt there will ever be any commercial application that can do that. Maybe community would develop such sofware, but in my opinion it is still very unlikely. If it were only about screen reading, you could for example write some scripts for JAWS, but I think that's not enought.

I have had a lot of time to get to know how blind people work with a computer, how their imagination reflects what's happening on screen or what do they expect and are capable of, and i think you should introduce your friend to SVG file format. It is quite simple, XML based, text file format (so it can be created with notepad) that describes 2D vector graphics. You can create shapes, polygons, curves, group things, add masking and many more simply by typing tags and coordinates. And it supports both relative and absolute positioning. You can also skip all those fancy graphic effects that SVG offers and concentrate on shapes. Converting a file to other vectors or importing them into CAD software should not pose a problem. Additionally SVG is native file format for Inkscape, and Inkscape can create gcode (haven't done it, but I've heard of it). I don't recommend modifying SVGs created by Inkscape though, because it adds a lot of unnecessary metadata to files.

That way, with very little (if any) help from sighted person, your friend should be able to create. Unfortunately only in 2D, but that still may by a good start and SVG format is still in development. Take a look at https://www.w3schools.com/graphics/svg_intro.asp.

You mean you want to create something like this (see attachment)?

Awesome Design,Sorry about your Dad
Thank-you for Sharing

Thank you for the good word.