The Magnifier is one of the attempts of making mobile phones become tools for better environment accessing.

The Magnifier application utilizes the existing camera functionality on your phone. It can be used to improve readability in every-day life situations such as reading “fine print”. Anyone who has difficulty seeing “fine print” or small objects can benefit from using this application. Nokia Magnifier  has a built in stabilizer to reduce the effects of a shaky hand and negative filter enabling users  to switch from light to dark backgrounds improving readability. By using the existing camera technology, users can also snap a picture of the enhanced image for later reference.

Image processing techniques can be easily applied to digital content when manipulated by the end user, in order to make it more accessible. However, static print design represent a  different scenario, where no dynamic assistive technology can stand between the eye of the reader and the reading object. Therefore, all recommendations from regulations (e.g. w3c) or best practices documents should be applied prior to publishing. After that, the design piece is subject to contextual adversities such as low light or color light, poor-quality print, or visual

The following filters will be applied in order to adjust the reading perception according to the criteria:

• Magnify
• Color – Saturation
• Color – Negative
• Contrast
• Exposure compensation

As a general classification structure, the WCAG 2.0  Principle 1: “Perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive” and its sub-item, Guideline 1.4 “Distinguishable – Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background” will be considered. It states general recommendations on how to make design content more accessible, from the readability point of view. The following criteria of the guideline 1.4 will be used (the missing items are audio related):

• 1.4.1 Use of Color – Apply filters that will affect the colors: negative and saturation.
• 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum) – Apply filters that will affect the contrast: contrast and exposure compensation.
• 1.4.4 Resize text – Apply filters that will magnify the image.
• 1.4.5 Images of Text – This item is related to using text over images of text. In printed media, there is no such distinguishment. Therefore, this item does not apply to the use of filters.
• 1.4.6 Contrast (Enhanced) – will be treated the same as 1.4.3.
• 1.4.8 Visual Presentation – this item is related to alignment and layout, properties that cannot be changed in printed media. Therefore, this item does not apply to the use of filters.
• 1.4.9 Images of Text (No Exception) – will be treated the same as 1.4.5.

Example use cases will be taken from the everyday life and will be related to the intersection between the criteria mentioned above and the mobile filters. The application is installed on the mobile and runs on the background of the operating system and it can be brought to foreground by the touch of a button or by the selection of an icon on the menu.

The first version was published in Nokia Beta Labs, to collect feedback from users. People from NRC shot the video below.

YouTube promo video of the app, featuring good-old S60 3rd Edition version and the voice of Ilkka Peltola 🙂

Beta Labs entry:


Paper published at ACM’s HCI International 2009:
UAHCI ’09 Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Addressing Diversity. Part I: Held as Part of HCI International 2009

Here it is:



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