Zoom in for a chat!

VisAbility Tasmania’s Team Leader and assistive technology guru has shares a few tips on the video conferencing software Zoom. Host your whole family, during this time of isolation!

I bet you never thought you could become a Video Conferencing guru!  Well, it’s all possible using Zoom.

Zoom is the Video Conferencing system which has been taking the blind and vision impaired community by storm, and bringing the rest of the world along with it.

Why, I hear you ask, would I want to use video conferencing?  Let me count the ways!

  1. You’ve been told to stay at home, and you really miss your children, parents, grandchildren, siblings etc., or more to the point, they really miss you.  Why not use Zoom, and hold a family gathering.  Anyone from anywhere in the world can join.
  2. The book club you’ve been meeting with for years isn’t holding meetings? Why not host them yourself, and talk about the latest book you’ve downloaded from the VisAbility library (other library services are available!!!!!)
  3. You’ve been dying to host a dinner party but lack the confidence to cook for your friends. Send them the recipes so they can cook their own, and you can host a video conference right from your dinner table.
  4. You need a bit of help to read your mail or medication instructions, but no one’s visiting. Just call a friend, hold up that offending printed item in front of the camera and they can read it to you.
  5. You need some help because your computer is doing something strange? Share your screen with a friend and they can help you out.

Computer screen with all the people in a zoom meeting

And the best thing is, it’s completely accessible with Jaws, NVDA and Narrator on Windows, Voiceover on the Mac and I-devices, and Talkback on Android, and all your favourite screen magnification software.  Don’t have the technology?

No problem, Zoom has you covered there too.  Just ask the meeting host to provide you with the telephone details and you can call in just like you used to.  Please don’t use a dial phone though – it won’t like that!

Zoom has been around for a few years now, and it has the power to make an incredible difference particularly in these trying times.  VisAbility has been using Zoom for quite some time and will be using it increasingly to deliver services over the coming months.

You can hold meetings of between two and 99 participants, and there are free options available.  If you are meeting with one person only, Zoom is absolutely free.  You can meet with more but you’re limited to forty minutes duration.  If, like me, you regularly host meetings, record interviews and want to take advantage of advanced features, there is a cost.

Jonathan Mosen (link opens in new window), who is well known throughout the world for his clear, concise and fun tutorials for people who are blind or vision impaired, has an audiobook on using Zoom with Screen Readers.  In these days of Coronavirus, which necessitates people staying at home and meeting remotely, he has generously made this audiobook available free of charge.  Over three hours of information, ideas and entertainment, he takes us through setting up Zoom on the IPhone and computer, hosting a meeting, the difference between paid and free offerings and more.

To download a copy of Zoom to host your own meetings, go to: Zoom (link opens in new window)

Or search for Zoom Cloud Meetings on the Google Play or Apple App stores.

If you have recently received an invitation to a Zoom meeting or there’s an upcoming webinar you’re interested to attend but don’t want to go to the trouble of setting up Zoom for yourself, don’t worry.  Just click on the link you received and a mini-client will open in your browser.

Now, I bet you didn’t realise having boring old meetings could be quite so fun!

See you next month, I’m Zooming off now!