Friday, December 23, 2005

The Mysteries Of Life And Reading Zones In Zoom Text

One of the newest features in Zoom Text actually turns out to be one of the more complicated ones to master. Here's some info from an Ai Squared newsletter that has some points on how to use this new ZT technology.

Optimize Your Work with Reading Zones
Whether you use a computer at home, at school or in the workplace, many computing tasks require that you look at the same fields of information again and again. Tasks of this nature are particularly common in spreadsheets, databases, and banking applications. If you use a screen magnifier or screen reader, locating the desired field can be time consuming and challenging, requiring that you scroll the magnified view in search of the field, or tab through a series of controls until the field receives focus. To solve this problem, Ai Squared has added Reading Zones in the new ZoomText 9.0 Magnifier/Reader.
Screen shot of a Reading Zone with the dimming option enabled
A Reading Zone with the "Dimming" Option enabled
Reading Zones let you instantly see and hear selected locations in an application window. For example, your database application may display a dozen or more fields of information. In your normal work flow you may be interested in only a few of these fields. With reading zones, you can instantly see and hear these select fields with the press of a hotkey.
You can create up to 10 reading zones for each of your applications. As you open and switch applications, zones that you have defined for the active application are automatically loaded and ready to use (referred to as ‘triggering’).
Creating and triggering reading zones is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it.
To create a reading zone
1. Open the application in which you want to create a reading zone. Make sure the desired application tab, view or window is displayed.
2. Press the New Reading Zone hotkey: CTRL + ALT + Z.
The appearance of your mouse pointer will change, indicating that the New Zone Tool is active.
3. Move the mouse pointer to scroll the new zone area into view.
4. Hold down the left button, drag the selection rectangle over the desired zone area and release the button.
When you complete the drag the Reading Zones dialog appears. This dialog allows you to name the zone and select zone options.
5. In the Zone Name box, type a descriptive name for the new zone, then press the TAB key one time.
The new zone name now appears in the Zones list. The new zone is automatically assigned a zone number. The corresponding hotkey for triggering the zone appears beneath the ‘Zones’ list.
6. Under Zone Actions, choose whether you want the zone to be spoken, displayed, or both.
7. To create additional zones, click the New Zone button and repeat steps 3 through 6.
8. When you’re finished creating zones, click the OK button.
Once you’ve created reading zones for an application, you can use them any time the application is active. You can trigger a single zone at a time (via menu or hotkey), or enter a mode that allows you to navigate through all of the reading zones.
To trigger a specific reading zone
1. Open the application that contains the reading zones you want to trigger.
2. Press the List Reading Zones hotkey: CTRL + ALT + L, then select the desired reading zone from the menu.
The selected new zone is displayed and spoken according to the selected zone settings.
The above steps describe the basics of creating and triggering reading zones. There are additional reading zone features, settings and methods that you can use to further optimize your work flow. To learn more about the power and convenience of reading zones, see the Reading Zones topics in the ZoomText Help system or user’s guide.
Help Make ZoomText a Better Product
Did you know that you can help make ZoomText a better product – and all it takes is clicking one simple checkbox? That’s right, by turning on ZoomText error reporting you can automatically send information that helps us diagnose and fix potential ZoomText problems before they affect end users.

woman with clipboard
How does ZoomText error reporting work?
As ZoomText runs it constantly monitors itself to check for problems that it has encountered. ZoomText takes care of most of these problems by itself – which is why you’ll rarely see an error message or other problems. However, we have built functionality into the program that allows ZoomText to send information about the problems it encountered to our servers here in Vermont. ZoomText sends this information over the Internet the same way that you browse the web (via an HTTP connection for all you techies out there). Once it gets to us we store it in our database for later analysis.
What exactly do you do with the information?
On a daily basis we analyze the error reports that we have received from all over the world. Most of the errors are innocuous and require no investigation. However, occasionally we spot a trend that indicates a problem; such as trouble with a ZoomText feature, an application, or web page. When we find something that needs further investigation we look at our program code and when necessary, contact users directly to see what problems they are experiencing.
So how can I turn on ZoomText error reporting?
You can turn on ZoomText’s error reporting during the setup process or after you’ve installed the program.
To turn on ZoomText’s error reporting during the setup process:
* During the setup process, you are presented with the option to "Report Severe Errors". When this option appears, check the Enable error reporting option and then proceed with the installation.
To turn on ZoomText’s error reporting after you’ve installed ZoomText:

1. From the ZoomText user interface choose Settings > Program…
2. Check the option Report ZoomText errors to Ai Squared via the Internet.
3. Click the Ok button.
After I’ve turned on ZoomText’s error reporting, what can I expect to see?
Well… nothing different. ZoomText’s error reporting occurs in the background and puts no perceivable load on your system. You won’t experience any decrease in performance or change in how your system behaves. Best of all, by turning on ZoomText’s error reporting you’ll be doing your part to help make ZoomText the best product it can be.
Where Do You Live On Planet ZoomText?
Have you ever stuck pins in a map to show all the places you’ve visited? If you’re a seasoned traveler, you’d be amazed what a visual representation of your travels look like.
We’ve been wondering what a map would look like that showed all the places where people are running ZoomText. While we know where all of our dealers are, we don’t have a good picture of where all of our ZoomText users are.
With the help of two cool Internet services – Google Maps and Frappr, and a little help from you, we can all get and idea of what "Planet ZoomText" looks like.
Take a look at the map below. It’s centered over Ai Squared headquarters in Manchester Center, Vermont. Each one of the small flags indicates where one of our ZoomText dealers or users lives. If you click "Add yourself! <> " and enter your own location you can help us grow this amazing mosaic of ZoomText users around the world. You can even attach a picture of yourself using ZoomText.

ZoomText Users <> Photos <>
Add yourself! <>
Image of map from frappr.
Please note that we have no control over Google Maps or Frappr. We just thought it was a fun diversion and an interesting perspective on ZoomText users worldwide. Also, you can enter your information without creating a Frappr account, so there are no risks in participating.
Stop by the Ai Squared homepage from time to time to see how the mapping of Planet ZoomText is coming along. Just take a quick trip to
Thanks for participating.
Ai Squared Holiday Hours
During this holiday season, Ai Squared will close their doors for a few days, allowing our hard-working employees extra time to be with family and friends. Should you need to contact Ai Squared during the holidays, our business hours will be as follows:

December 19th – 23rd Normal Business Hours
December 26th Closed
December 27th – 30th Normal Business Hours
January 2nd Closed
We like to thank you all for your continued support. Have a great holiday season.
The Ai Squared Team
Join Ai Squared at ATIA 2006
Ai Squared will be exhibiting at the ATIA Conference – January 18th through the 21st in Orlando, Florida. The conference will bring together leading experts and manufacturers of assistive technology. Attendees will take in four days of presentations, workshops and product exhibits.

The ATIA conference will be held at the Caribe Royale Resort & Convention Center.
Visit us at booth 518 to see the latest features in ZoomText 9.0 and pick up a free trial CD. You may also join us for our presentations:
* ZoomText 9.0 User Training
Friday, March 20th at 8:00 am – Curacao 6 Meeting Room
* ZoomText 9.0 New Features and Overview
Friday, March 20th at 9:15 am – Curacao 6 Meeting Room
* ZoomText 9.0: Overview for the AT Trainer
Friday, March 20th at 1:15 pm – Curacao 6 Meeting Room
We look forward to seeing you there. Learn more about ATIA 2006 <> .


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