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Windows 7 Will Include Full-Screen Magnifier

08 January, 2009 by Peter Verhoeven

Michael Bernstein, is a Microsoft development lead on the User Interface Platform team where he focuses on accessibility.
In a Blog on MSDN he announced, that Windows 7 includes a screen magnifier supporting full-screen and lens mode.

In his Blog Michael Bernstein wrote:
"The Magnifier came in for a deeper overhaul. The Magnifier in Windows Vista and Windows XP was not an intuitive experience: when you pointed at part of the screen, the magnified content appeared in a separate window, usually docked at top of the screen. You had to point at one place and look at another. We considered two basic solutions to this problem: you could zoom into the entire screen or you could make the magnified area follow the pointer while leaving the rest of the screen the same. These became our two primary modes for the Windows 7 Magnifier: Full-screen mode and Lens mode.

Full-screen mode is great when you want to increase the size of everything on the screen at once. As you move the mouse or keyboard focus around the middle of the screen, the view stays still; if you move towards the edge, the Magnifier scrolls the view to keep up. One downside of this mode is that you can lose track of your context. To address that usability issue, we added a context animation that zooms out to show you where your work area is relative to the whole screen, and then zooms back in.

Lens mode, on the other hand, is nice when you just want to zoom in on one particular thing. In this mode, the lens centers on the mouse pointer, which feels much like using a magnifying glass. You can re-size the lens to be very wide and short, which can be nice if you are reading a document and want to magnify it line by line. We based our design on the popular Microsoft IntelliPoint magnifier, a design you can now enjoy with any mouse.

We also addressed customer feedback about the Magnifier window taking up too much space on the screen. We moved the most commonly used controls like zoom in/out to a small toolbar, which fades out to a semi-transparent watermark when you arenít using it. The remaining options are available in an Options dialog when you need them. Last, we gave almost everything a keyboard shortcut, so if you really donít want to see the UI, you donít have to use it. Win-+ will zoom you in any time you are using Windows 7.

Read Michael Bernstein's Blog on Accessibility tools in Windows 7

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