The Universal Computer
The Universal Computer has been designed using universal design concepts.
So what is universal design?
The term "universal design" was coined by the architect Ronald Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and buildings to be usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.
So while this computer can be used by someone who uses a wheelchair, it can also be useful for anyone else. It has a wide variety of hardware and software. It can read documents or websites to you, it can type as you speak into the microphone, help you with your resume, teach you how to type, or just improve your skills. We also have keyboards for different languages or with large print on the keys, and much more.
You will notice the height of the desk can be easily adjusted with a touch of a button to the most comfortable position for you, and the monitor can also be adjusted up or down, closer or farther away thanks to its adjustable arm.
Microsoft Office is a well know group of programs used in offices and schools around the world. The programs include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and Publisher. These programs are used to create professional looking documents. For job seekers, the Microsoft Word program is very useful to create or edit a resume or cover letter. For more information visit www.microsoft.com
UltraKey is the software that powers the more well known Mavis Beacon Typing Tutor. Whether you are just learning to type or want to improve your speed and accuracy this software can help. For more information visit www.bytesoflearning.com
WinWay Resume Deluxe
WinWay can help you write a better resume or cover letter. The software includes over 14,000 resume examples and over 116,000 job-specific phrases and keywords. It can help you create persuasive resume cover letters, ad response letters, interview thank you letters, help prepare for interviews and many other features. For more information, visit
Zoomtext can make text on your screen larger and easier to see. It can also change the color of the text or background to give you more contrast, making the screen easier to see with less glare. You pick the level of magnification that is most comfortable for you. Maybe you only want a little bit for example 1.2 times maybe 1.4, or 1.6 times etc. or maybe 2 times, 3 times, 4 times magnification or more. Visit www.zoomtext.com for more information.
Dragon Professional Individual (Speech Recognition Software)
This software types everything you say into the microphone. It’s up to 99% accurate using deep learning technology it adapts to your voice. Visit www.nuance.com for more information.
Dragon Professional (Video) - An introduction to its features (2 minutes and 30 seconds) This is the older version of Dragon but it is still a good introduction video
Kurzweil 3000 helps students of all ages with reading, writing, studying, and test taking. Kurzweil can read text aloud in a variety of voices and speeds. Visit www.kurzweiledu.com for more information.
JAWS, (Job Access With Speech) is the world's most popular screen reading software used by people who can not see the computer screen or have difficulty seeing the screen. This full-featured software sells for over $1500 but they do provide a free version that will run for 40 minutes and then you must restart your computer to continue using the software. For more information visit www.freedomscientific.com
NVDA (Non-Visual Desktop Access)
NVDA is a free “screen reading” software that is used by people who can not see the computer screen or have difficulty seeing the screen. It reads the text on the screen using a computerized voice. Everything is controlled using the keyboard, visit www.nvaccess.org for more information.
WordQ / SpeakQ 4 (Reading / Writing Software)
Word Q can read text aloud from documents, websites, and emails in a clear and pleasant voice. If you can select the text, chances are Word Q can read it to you.
Speak Q is an add-on feature for Word Q. With Speak Q as you speak words, phrases, or sentences into the microphone the computer will type them for you. Speak Q is designed to help people type difficult words using their voice as they are typing and therefore is not a substitute for a full-featured dictation software like Dragon Professional. Word Q and Speak Q have many other features, visit www.goqsoftware.com for more information.
A nice selection of very short one and two-minute videos about how to use Word Q and Speak Q Software (1 to 2 minutes each)
Headphones with Microphone
Can be used to listen to audio on the computer without disturbing others. The microphone works well with speech recognition programs like Dragon Professional or Speak Q or to speak to someone during a webinar or interview.
The webcam may be used for job interviews or webinars, during quiet times or if the computer is rolled into a quiet room. (The desk has casters)
To reduce fatigue and increase comfort while using the computer.
Easy Cat Touchpad
For people who have trouble with mobility in their fingers or wrist. They can simply glide their finger over the smooth surface of the pad and gently tap on the pad or click the buttons to perform all cursor movement functions. Some people may just prefer a touchpad over a mouse.
Kensington Expert Optical Trackball
Has a Large ball and scroll ring for maximum precision and control and Diamond Eye optical tracking for superior accuracy. A large trackball is great for people who have trouble using a regular mouse. Some people just prefer to use a trackball.
Helpful iPad Apps
The iPad has many apps available to help with reading, writing, studying, and other tasks. The iPad also has a number of features to make it more accessible, see apple.com/ca/accessibility/ipad/
Ergonomic Arm Support (from amazon.ca or bridges-canada.com)
Ergonomic Keyboard Wrist Rest (from specialneedscomputers.ca)
Ergonomic Mouse Pad with Wrist Rest (from amazon.ca and others)
Ergonomic Chair (from connorsbasics.com or staples.ca, and other retailers)
The iPad is on an adjustable arm (from amazon.ca or connorsbasics.com)
(Ask a staff member for one to use)
English (Regular) (from amazon.ca and other retailers)
English (Ergonomic) (from amazon.ca and other retailers)
English (Large Print) (from specialneedscomputers.ca)
French (Regular) (from amazon.ca and others)
French (Ergonomic) (from amazon.ca and others)
French (Large Print) (from specialneedscomputers.ca)
Arabic (from amazon.com)
Chinese / Taiwanese (from amazon.ca)
Braille Display / Keyboard (from humanware.com)
The scanner allows you to convert paper-based documents into digital ones that can be viewed on the computer screen, read aloud by the computer or sent electronically through email or websites.
Available from www.amazon.ca and other retailers
A Note About Saving Documents
Please save any documents you create on this computer to your own USB thumb drive or cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive etc.) This is a public computer so you do not want others accessing your files.
For more information, user guides and videos about all of the technology that make up the Universal Computer visit www.universalcomputer.ca
For a list of Nova Scotia Works locations and contact information visit novascotia.ca/works/