OmniPage Pro: A Good Choice for Blind Users?By Cook, Debbie; Washington Assistive Technology Alliance (WATA) Bulletin,
Publication Date: Fall 2001
Article discussing the author’s use of OmniPage Pro, which is an optical character recognition (OCR) program. Optical character recognition software programs are designed to help people who are blind or have low vision to read by employing speech output for all functions of scanning, character recognition, and reading. Commercial products listed for such use include OPENBook from Freedom Scientific, and Kurzweil 1000 from Lernout and Hauspie. The user places a document across a scanner, presses a key, and waits while the page is scanned. With OPENBook and Kurzweil 1000, the page is then read aloud in high-quality synthesized speech. Braille translation can be launched from within the application. Some commands are accessed through conventional keystrokes, while others are located on a toolbar, requiring the use of the mouse, or the mouse emulation keys of a screen reader. This feature requires people who are blind to be familiar with accessing Windows applications through screen reader mouse emulation keys. Documentation for OmniPage Pro comes in print and as a PDF file, both of which are difficult for people who are blind to use, according to the author. The author noticed significant mistakes in recognition and formatting when converting the PDF to voice output. The OmniPage manual is also visually oriented, but there is a context-sensitive help and tips feature that the author found useful. Overall, the author also recommends that users who are uncomfortable with Windows applications opt for one of the other optical character recognition programs listed.
Assistive Products Discussed: OMNIPAGE PRO 14
Published by: Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (WATAP) (Website:http://watap.org)
Center for Technology and Disability Studies (Web Site: http://uwctds.washington.edu )
Link to text: http://wata.org/pubs/bulletins/fall2001.htm