Feature Writer Steven Famiglietti – The Magic Keyboard

Several months ago, I wrote about the Zoomtext large print keyboard from Ai Squared. Currently, Freedom Scientific has released a keyboard to work with their Magic magnification software.

This keyboard is similar to the Zoomtext keyboard because it is a large print keyboard and you can perform Magic functions, as well as some JAWS screen reading functions with it.

The keyboard is black with white bold letters on the keys, making it easy to see. There is an extra row of buttons running horizontally across the top of the keyboard, which are used to perform the Magic or JAWS functions. There is also a sliding vertical wheel on the left side of the keyboard which allows the user the ability to adjust the magnification of the display screen by sliding the wheel either towards the user or away from the user. I like the idea of having this wheel on the keyboard because it is so easy to make the magnification adjustment.

Some of the functions that can be performed with the row of buttons running across the top of the keyboard include, turning Magic on and off, turning on and off the color enhancements, mouse pointer enhancements, focus enhancements and accessing the “Research It” dialog box, which many JAWS users have been using since JAWS version 11.0.

In order to use the buttons at the top of the keyboard correctly, you must install the software before using the keyboard. You can either download the software from the Freedom Scientific website, or you can install it from the CD which comes with the keyboard.

I love when items like this keyboard are released because there are so many keyboard shortcuts for instructors and students to remember and these keyboards eliminate the need for all of us to remember so many of them. This keyboard interests me particularly because they have left three of the buttons on the top row with no keyboard assignments. This was done so that the user can assign a few of their own most used keyboard shortcuts to these buttons. I think allowing the user to customize their own buttons is a great idea.

For more information about this large print keyboard you can visit http://freedomscientific.com/products/lv/magic-keyboard-product-page.asp

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