Saturday, August 23, 2008

Special computer mouse helps the visually impaired

Jim Rossman is technical manager for Macintosh support for A.H. Belo Corporation.

I like to write sometimes about the computer issues of my family.

Every now and then a call from my wife or my mother is a plea for help with a computer issue.
Now for the first time they've had the same issue, and if they both fell victim to this problem within a month of each other, I feel I must share.

Both calls started with the same complaint, "When I move my mouse, the entire desktop moves along with it."

Before I go much further I should mention this is a Macintosh issue. I finally got my mom to switch to a Mac, and her level of family tech support is much greater.

I've been a Mac support person for more than a decade, so I get Mac problems thrown at me all day.

There's virtually no problem I haven't at least heard of before, and this one was no exception. We had this happen to a few Mac users at the paper.

The issue here is a system setting called Zoom that's designed to help visually impaired users.
The Zoom mode is what it says: It zooms the screen to make everything bigger.

There are several modes of Zoom, but the default is to make the larger screen stay centered on the mouse. So when Zoom gets activated, moving the mouse scrolls the entire desktop. It's a strange thing if you ever see it.

What users don't understand is how they enable Zoom by accident.

Apple has assigned a keyboard shortcut to enable zooming. It's option-command-8.

Apparently it's easy to mistakenly hit this combination. The hard part is realizing what is going on if you've never seen Zoom in action.

To turn off zooming, press the option-command-8 combination again or open the system preferences and you'll find the Zoom controls inside the Universal Access preferences.
Jim Rossman is technical manager for Macintosh support for A.H. Belo Corporation.


Post a Comment

<< Home