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Magnifier apps

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Intro to Magnifier Apps

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Video magnifier apps are the modern digital version of the handheld convex glass lens magnifiers used by generations of children to start fires and rid yards, sidewalks and driveways of ants. These same glass versions have been used by people with vision impairments to increase the size of various objects or text for easier viewing. This is the purpose of digital magnifying apps as well. While the user won’t be starting any fires or burning any ants, the digital versions nonetheless have capabilities far beyond those of the glass lens. The beauty of the digital magnifying app is that while you may use it at home on your home computer, it is available on another device you may be carrying with you while not at home, your cellular phone! Many modern cell phones have not only the software, but also the hardware (camera, light, large viewing screen) to make this possible.

One of the capabilities the magnifying app gives digital device users is the ability to increase the size of the information already on the viewing screen. Depending on the platform (PC, Mac, Smartphone, etc.) and the software, the increase in size can take place in one of several ways.

Who Uses Magnifier Apps

Magnifier apps are designed for persons with low vision, but are available to, and useful for, anyone.

Methods of Magnification

There are several ways in which a magnifier application can assist. These options allows the user to pick a preference.

Full Screen

The entire screen is expanded, typically resulting in viewing loss of portions of the screen. This results in the user panning around the screen to view different areas.

Magnifying Glass

On a computer: A digital version of a viewing glass pops up on the screen and can be moved over any area of the screen to enlarge that area. Below the magnifier, the screen stays the original size.

On a mobile device: (See Apple Magnifier, below) The handheld device itself can be used in the same manner as a regular magnifying glass. This requires a camera on the backside of the device, opposite the screen. The level of magnification, or zoom, can be adjusted on many apps.

Docked - The viewing area of the screen changes slightly creating an area above or below where a zoomed version of the screen selection is displayed.

Other Capabilities

Another advantage to the digital magnifying app may be the ability to switch to High Contrast [Contrast Examples (Click "Examples")] where the viewing area is switched for high contrast colors life black for white and white for black. This gives users control to personalize a comfortable and easy to read screen.

Some programs such as Zoom Text by AI Squared even contain readers which translate text into speech. This allows a user to listen to one document while perusing another, or the user can record the spoken version, save as an audio recording then transfer to a mobile device for listening later.

Smartphone and tablet versions have an inherent advantage over personal computer based programs, and that’s portability. These magnifier apps can assist persons with low vision on the go to read a menu in a dark restaurant, the label on a prescription bottle, or a magazine. This capability is contained in a device they are already likely to be carrying.

Prices range from free to $1000 or more and encompass a multitude of user requirements. Each user should way the pros and cons of each available app to decide which suits their needs.

[Apple Magnifer] [Zoom Text] [Microsoft Windows: Make Items on the Screen Appear Bigger]