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Old 09-28-2012, 10:47 AM   #1
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Macular Degeneration - big font high contrast

I have just come back from the Low Vision clinic and a 90 year old relative is now looking for an ereader or tablet.

I would welcome suggestions for eReaders with very large fonts, very good contrast and hopefully easy to use


In two related threads I have received some excellent help but now I would like specific hardware suggestions. My relative is mobile, but I cannot take her to lots of shops to try lots of different eReaders so I need to target the eReaders.

She read successfully from a 7" HTC Flyer with font set to be about 5mm high (excluding the height of ascenders or descenders). So in landscape there was about 7 lines of text on the screen. My concern is that an Android tablet might be too complex for her so before I go down that route I want to first look at e-ink

Thanks
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:41 AM   #2
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I had received an email from someone who had seen some of my low vision info sites asking me the same question and I put together this for him:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...AnoZ1qmZ4/edit

plus recommended he look at my list of ereader "holders" as his mother was a bit frail
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...AIAtT9_Vk/edit

I also pointed him to my

Skins, Lap Desks, Stands (and how to make stands) and common ereader dimensions
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...83&postcount=8

for reading in bed ideas....

I'm legally blind and I have tried or owned a dozen ereaders and as long as I have at least a 7 inch touch
screen (most comfortable size for me to hold) and a high screen resolution and a GOOD ereader app (like coolreader, one of the few that lets you control tap locations) that lets you control text and background color (gold on black my favorite high contrast settings) plus has a large selection of font sizes (coolreader goes up to 96?) that works well for me

Beartard's The Great Big List of Android eBook Apps www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=70921
has great info

I prefer an android tablet for its flexibility
and they can look intimidating at first but for using them primarily as an ereader cuts out most of the more complicated actions, if the tablet supports an sd card or like mine a usb flash drive as well you can gather books and constantly update their reading supply for them

my questioner surprised me and went for the nook glowlight instead of an android tablet for his mother (but he later said that was more of a money issue than what he really wanted to get her)

In my case I know of 5 older people who had NO technological experience, who were able to use android tablets (that were set up in advance for them) with the reading apps on a separate favorites page that had no trouble .... my 86 year old aunt surprised me a few days later bragging about her angry birds score

anyway, hope that helps

Last edited by tomereader; 09-28-2012 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:08 PM   #3
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Thanks.

If we done't go down the e-ink route, one idea was to buy a cheap 7" android tablet, remove all the icons I can and just leave a large ereader icon.

Playbooks are currently very cheap and there are some incredible deals in the UK (64GB £119, the 16GB even cheaper). I might look at one of these but I don't know what book reading apps are availalbe.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:14 AM   #4
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I have a similar vision problem, although a different cause. I've tried many options and found that the Kindle keyboard, Kindle with Ads and Kindle touch were the best choices.

I also love my Simple Touch Nook, which is easier to hold, but slightly heavier, but I get annoyed at the shelving (it doesn't remove the book from the main list if you shelve it, so you don't know if you have all your Sci Fi in one place or not. If she keeps more than a couple of dozen books on her device, she will get annoyed with that. If, however, she is like my Mom and wouldn't sort the stuff into categories anyway, it is also a great option.

I have not tried the Nook glowlight and have a paperwhite on order for my Mom. More direct light helps, so I see this as a plus.

I have noticed over time that the text sizes available vary by the book, not the device. I've had some books that I just zapped off because the largest type size wasn't large enough. I wish I knew how to fix this. Kindle is a little easier to use, IMHO, for adjusting type size than the Nook, but not actually very hard for either. I love the touch screen, but some people have reported that if they have very cold hands (common among elderly) that they can't get their touch screen to work properly.

The higher end ereader devices (like Kindle Fire, etc) are fine for someone with good vision. All those doodads aren't useful to those with bad vision because the text is too small to work with. So, your best bet is to stick with something that focuses on READING and not internet use.

Note: the Sony and Ipad both have too much 'shine' making reading difficult. You can get non-glare covers, but I found that this also reduced the contrast.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarana View Post
I have a similar vision problem, although a different cause. I've tried many options and found that the Kindle keyboard, Kindle with Ads and Kindle touch were the best choices.

I also love my Simple Touch Nook, which is easier to hold, but slightly heavier, but I get annoyed at the shelving (it doesn't remove the book from the main list if you shelve it, so you don't know if you have all your Sci Fi in one place or not. If she keeps more than a couple of dozen books on her device, she will get annoyed with that. If, however, she is like my Mom and wouldn't sort the stuff into categories anyway, it is also a great option.

I have not tried the Nook glowlight and have a paperwhite on order for my Mom. More direct light helps, so I see this as a plus.

I have noticed over time that the text sizes available vary by the book, not the device. I've had some books that I just zapped off because the largest type size wasn't large enough. I wish I knew how to fix this. Kindle is a little easier to use, IMHO, for adjusting type size than the Nook, but not actually very hard for either. I love the touch screen, but some people have reported that if they have very cold hands (common among elderly) that they can't get their touch screen to work properly.

The higher end ereader devices (like Kindle Fire, etc) are fine for someone with good vision. All those doodads aren't useful to those with bad vision because the text is too small to work with. So, your best bet is to stick with something that focuses on READING and not internet use.

Note: the Sony and Ipad both have too much 'shine' making reading difficult. You can get non-glare covers, but I found that this also reduced the contrast.

Thanks for the reply. Today we took my relative to see a Kindle Touch. She could read it with the font set to maximum (and wearing her reading glasses). So we bought one.

The font on the menu is far to small so what we will do us just load 4 or 5 book at a time.

After we bought it she said she preferred the iPad we showed her last week, because the larger screen meant there were more word visible at any one time. It would have been nice if she had told use an hour earlier!

So she will use the Kindle for a few week to see how she gets on with it. If she does not like it my wife will not be too upset because she was very impressed with the Kindle and it will get a good home.

I would like to say thanks to all the people who have replied.
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:16 PM   #6
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Macular degeneration and glaucoma

My mom is near 90. She's one of my dearest friends and 'gets it' more than many of the senior business-people I work with. She misses reading desperately. She can only listen to the radio to learn of world events. Even watching television is difficult for her, because she can only see when there is high contrast (ie. black letters on a white background), and no glare. For example, she'll write notes to herself with a thick black marker on the back of a used white envelope, where the text she creates (or which someone else creates for her, because it's difficult for her to see what she is writing), is near three-inches high. She used to love reading -- primarily the newspaper, then she'd choose magazines, and lastly, books. She has one of those table-top computer screens with the magnifying lense that you direct towards text/numbers you're trying to read, but the thing is USELESS because as it magnifies to the size my Mom needs, you see the dot-matrix composition of the characters and lose the shape of what you're looking at. Furthermore, even with its 20" screen, the screen only allows you to see a few letters at once, not the entire word or phrase, so there's no way to infer the context of what you're trying to see. I want to buy my Mom the best pieces of technology -- multiple items if necessary -- which means I may need to acquire different items for her to read the news vs. magazine articles vs. books, and also to write. That would be fine. Price shouldn't be the determinant, because we're talking quality of life here. When making a recommendation, please keep in mind the size of the font I mentioned above. My Mom has an extreme reading-problem because she has both macular degeneration AND glaucoma.
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aemi View Post
My mom is near 90. She's one of my dearest friends and 'gets it' more than many of the senior business-people I work with. She misses reading desperately. She can only listen to the radio to learn of world events. Even watching television is difficult for her, because she can only see when there is high contrast (ie. black letters on a white background), and no glare. For example, she'll write notes to herself with a thick black marker on the back of a used white envelope, where the text she creates (or which someone else creates for her, because it's difficult for her to see what she is writing), is near three-inches high. She used to love reading -- primarily the newspaper, then she'd choose magazines, and lastly, books. She has one of those table-top computer screens with the magnifying lense that you direct towards text/numbers you're trying to read, but the thing is USELESS because as it magnifies to the size my Mom needs, you see the dot-matrix composition of the characters and lose the shape of what you're looking at. Furthermore, even with its 20" screen, the screen only allows you to see a few letters at once, not the entire word or phrase, so there's no way to infer the context of what you're trying to see. I want to buy my Mom the best pieces of technology -- multiple items if necessary -- which means I may need to acquire different items for her to read the news vs. magazine articles vs. books, and also to write. That would be fine. Price shouldn't be the determinant, because we're talking quality of life here. When making a recommendation, please keep in mind the size of the font I mentioned above. My Mom has an extreme reading-problem because she has both macular degeneration AND glaucoma.

It sounds like your Mum has worse eyesight than my relative. My relative is now 91 and she really loves her Kindle. With the font set to maximum she is reading books again (and getting through them at an impressive rate). She says that the iPad is slightly better for reading. I think this is because of the screen size and higher, but she much prefers the ease of use of the Kindle. Or perhaps more correctly, she has now got use to the Kindle and does not want to change. She cannot read the Kindle menu, but the hospital provided her with a magnifying glass that contains a light and this helps her with the menu.

I was worried that she would not be able to see the charger port on the Kindle, but she does not seem to have a problem charging it.

So I cannot offer any advice except to say that perhaps an iPad with a retina screen might be a little easier for your Mum to read but just using the single case of my relative, the overall user experience (ease of use, weight, can it be held comfortably) is also important.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:06 AM   #8
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I would try out the black basic kindle over a tablet. If her sight is so bad, she may need something very very basic, so she does not end up in some settings menu and does not know how to get out.

I'd put a red or white dot on the home button, so she knows how to get to the home screen, and only maybe load one to three books at a time. The largest font is quite large, so try it and send it back of it's not working for her, since you have 30 days.
The black basic kindle has the best contrast I have seen in any eink reader so far!

My almost 80 yo aunt is current, reading on one of our old basic kindles, and she "got it" after some trepidation and set the font so large that she can read without reading glasses now.

Last edited by xendula; 12-21-2012 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:15 AM   #9
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She has to try out the readers to see what works for her. Just check out the return policy for the ereader.

I became a huge fan of audiobooks for more than 10 years because I was unable to read. Fortunately, I can now read using an ereader, but I continue with audioboooks for more complex stories. Certain ereaders, like the Kindle Keyboard, allow text-to-speech which also helps tremendously. It takes a week or two to get accustomed to having your newspaper read by a robotic voice (clearly, I prefer an actor doing it, but I take what I can get).
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:42 AM   #10
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Are you in the US? The National Library Service For the Blind supplies free audiobook players for legally blind individuals. I went to the local branch with a form from my fathers eye doctor and they gave me one. I download the Economist magazine and other books to a usb drive for him and he really likes listening to them. It won't play books from Audible however, just those from this site http://www.loc.gov/nls/
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