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How (and why) to Enlarge Audio Dots [+ How to Make them Findable for those with Vision Loss]

Whenever I demonstrate a talking test, audio study guide, or AAC images someone always asks me if it might be possible to enlarge the visible tappable ink (check mark, dot, etc) or add tappable “invisible ink” to an image  so that students or adults with poor fine motor skills and/or vision loss can successfully tap on the visible or invisible ink to start audio replaying.

I’m always happy to tell them “YES!” and then I often quickly show them one or both ways that I know of to do this since they’re so quick & easy to do.

In the video below I show how to use a inking cartridge (I prefer medium blue as it stands out from black) to enlarge an existing audio dot (or check mark, etc) to make it a large enough target so that if someone taps anywhere on it the associated audio will play.  Below the video I list the simple steps for doing what the video shows.

It’s also possible to make an area on dot paper (or on a dot paper label) tappable using “invisible ink.  This requires a non-inking stylus) which are only available from K-12 Livescribe representatives.   Step by step instructions for how to do this are on page 5 of this sample teaching strategy guide on AAC: http://www.livescribe.com/en-us/media/pdf/education/Teacher_Guide_4_Augmentative_Assistive_Communication.pdf

Step by step instructions for enlarging audio/talking dots (or check marks):

  1. Tap on the existing ink to start paper replay.
  2. Immediately tap the Pause button.*
  3. Put your pen tip down on the ink you tapped.
  4. Without lifting the smartpen draw a bunch of ink** – perhaps drawing a larger and larger solid circle or some other shape.
  5. Lift up your smartpen when you’re all done adding new tappable ink.

Voila! – You should now be able to tap anywhere on the enlarged inked area.

* You can cut out the Play/Pause/Stop buttons and float them around as needed to get them close to where the ink/audio “action” is.
** I like to use Medium Blue Point Ink Cartridges because blue stands out and because I can add a lot of ink much faster using a medium point cartridge. These are available for about $6 for 5 cartridges.

To make the tappable area findable by someone with vision loss

  1. Add a little bling to the center of the tappable area.
  2. By adding this to the center of the tappable area they can feel for the bling and then tap left or right of it depending on their handedness.
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