My Logo creations for visually impaired users

  • Before describing the process in detail I would like to draw attention to a few basic points which must be taken into account if this work is to proceed smoothly.

    1. Creating Directories

    The Vivaldi metaphor that frequently-used URLs are represented as "Tiles" on a "Desktop" is widely used elsewhere and is immediately comprehended by new users. In actuality, these URLs are "Bookmarked" and a corresponding legend will appear in that menu system. New items can be added by either of two procedures ---

    1.1. The user can toggle the "Add" button from the Vivaldi menus.
    (See - Settings > StartPage > SPEED DIAL > Speed Dial Appearance)

    This puts a plus sign in every folder and sub-folder of the system. The user then left-clicks this symbol in the required directory to open the dialogue used for adding either a single bookmark or creating a new sub-folder.

    1.2. An alternative is to simply double left-click anywhere on the background of the Desktop or a previously-created folder. This opens the dialogue mentioned above but only in the folder in use. The procedure described in 1.1 (above) can be rather confusing to a new user, who is unfamiliar with the directory structure of the Bookmarks file but is trying to create sub-directories in this. If the user clicks the option "New folder", a standardised representation of a folder is immediately produced and the user is prompted to name this. This name becomes the legend shown in the Bookmarks file.

    The writer strongly recommends this simple and direct procedure. New sub-directories are created exactly where the user wants and expects them to be The dialogue may be dismissed by left-clicking again on the background.

    1. Organising Bookmarks

    For many users, the browser provides access to only a few sites such as Banking, a supermarket, social site (EG Facebook), etc. Such users will be well served by a few tiles on the Desktop and they will seldom, if ever, use the Bookmarks menu. With that said, Vivaldi was conceived and designed for those who make heavy use of a browser as a gateway to factual information and for this type of work one must carefully consider the organisation of the retrieved and stored information.

    There must be many possible ways to organise the Bookmarks so I will restrict myself to explaining and discussing the procedure I use. Anyone experienced in handling large amounts of information will immediately see how my procedures can be adopted or modified to suit their personal needs.

    There are twelve tiles on my Desktop, representing the top level of the directory structure of the bookmarks file. These were generated directly on the Desktop by means of the procedure detailed in Sections 1.1 and 1.2., above. Two of these are each reserved for one single web site --- On-line Banking and my utility suppliers, respectively. Each of the other ten tiles have multiple entries or, in some cases, subdirectories. So, for example, the first tile on my Desktop is labelled -"Newspapers, Calendar and Weather". It contains the URLs of the three newspapers I read each day, one for my local weather station and another for a calendar program, which is useful to have readily available. The tile which is immediately adjacent to this is labelled - "Search Engines & Dictionaries".

    Experienced users will immediately see the ideas behind such organisation --- I can be reading an article when I chance upon a point which I feel requires clarification. I can open another tab, select the required tile and from this, the search engine I wish to use. As well as the ubiquitous two, DuckDuckGo and StartPage, I have several specialised scientific engines available.

    I do not have a dedicated Search Field on my Address bar or allow searching in the Address field. Because I am visually impaired, I find it difficult to read the small lettering used there and, I want to keep "Searching" and "Reading" separated on two different tabs. By having the search engine in its own dedicated tile, I have a nice large search box in which to type my search string and I physically achieve the mental separation of activities. As mentioned, I also have other search engines, dictionaries and a thesaurus all easily available.

    1. Bookmarking

    When an article is bookmarked, the "name" automatically produced by the Vivaldi software is usually derived from the title. As an example, I looked up information on a virus in Wikipedia. In the bookmarks menu the article is referenced in the Title field as "Mollusc..." and in the Address field as "https://en.wikip...". The actual title of the article is "Molluscum contagiosum virus" and this is the name Vivaldi assigned to the replica folder automatically generated in the Tile which the operator selected from the drop-down bookmarking menu.

    Clearly, if at a later date the user is searching for a saved article on this particular virus, the entries in the Bookmarks file are much less helpful than is a named tile in a directory which has been previously created for this particular type of material. As a further illustration, on the top level Speed Dial page of my system, I have a directory labelled "Scientific Subjects". One of the sub directories is named "Arthropods & Molluscs". As can be seen, the article retrieved in my example search could fit neatly and logically into a sub-directory of "Molluscs".

    1. Creating Icons ("Thumbnails")

    Before I begin to describe my procedures, I should like to draw the attention of readers to a superb set of logos for common URLs which were designed to fit the form of a Vivaldi tile. A discussion can be found at ---

    and the logos are located at ---

    Since the thumbnails automatically-created by the bookmarking software will in general be a miniature facsimile of a page from the site, these will all be very similar and poorly legible for normal users, let alone those with impaired vision. My suggestion, therefore, is that rather than create fancy logos, labels are created that have good visual contrast and carry the name of the particular site, in a clear and simple font. The only places on my system where I use logos taken from the selection mentioned above are the two single-use tiles leading to On-line banking and my utility suppliers, plus a few in the directory for On-line shopping. All the rest (some two hundred plus at this moment) are purpose designed.

    5, Directory for Logos

    For general browsing, I run my browser sandboxed, which severely restricts the directories which are accessible to Vivaldi. I therefore created a directory inside the "Default" directory of Vivaldi itself ---

    The standard thumbnail size is 440 x 360 pixels and tiles of this size will be used over and over again so it is sensible to create a set of blank labels in the varying colours which it has been decided will be used. To simplify retrieving these blanks, I have also created a sub-directory within Vivaldi-logos which I have imaginatively called "Blanks".

    I have experimented with various background colours, considering not only contrast with the proposed text legends but also, the matter of glare. For those who are visually impaired, excessive contrast is tiring to look at for long periods of time. I have used a particular set of background colours for several weeks now and they seem to give a good compromise of adequate contrast and minimal glare. I will list their RGB values later.

    1. Graphics Program

    Since I am running a Linux system, I have the powerful program GIMP installed as part of the standard default software suite. This is very similar to Adobe Photoshop and such a program is "technical overkill" for the simple graphics task on which it will be applied. However, it is what I have on my system. A version to run under Windows is available FoC from the GIMP web site and there are many others which would be suitable.

    Since GIMP is so powerful, the UI is very confusing to new users unfamiliar with it so I will not attempt to teach its use but instead, will describe the procedures to be used in a step-by-step presentation. For anyone interested in learning GIMP, I recommend the excellent book "Beginning GIMP" by Akkana Peck.

    6.1. Creating Blank Labels

    1. Launch GIMP

    2. From "File" menu select -- "New". A dialogue box opens to accept image dimensions. Enter -- "Width 440, Height 360 pixels". Press [Enter].

    3. An image of a blank label will appear.

    4. From "File" menu select "Save as ...". Use the dialogue box to navigate to the directory --
      5 Name the image -- Blank.xcf and click [Save]
      (GIMP will apply the standard extension "xcf" used for Saved files).

    5. Note that only one "Blank.xcf" is required since this is reused many times to form the various coloured tiles.

    To preserve the logic of my presentation, I will assume that after Step 5., above, the user closes GIMP to do other work.

    6.2. Colourise the blank labels.

    1. Launch GIMP
    2. From the "File" menu select "Open". After some logos have been produced, the system will default to "Recently Used ..." but at this early stage in this work it will be necessary to navigate to the directory --
      and pick up the newly-created file Blank.xcf

    In my Section 5., above, I mention that I have a selection of colours that I have found useful. These are --

    Light Yellow (General application) R=236, G=236, B=74
    Light green (Used as Folder colour) R=130, G=200, B=130
    Pale Blue (Used as Folder colour) R=147, G=217, B=206
    Lime Yellow (Used as Folder colour) R=203, G=243, B=90

    In every case, the text colour used is Black with the text height set to 40 or 50 pixels. These combinations give a good balance between contrast and glare. Users are obviously free to create other colours more suited to their tastes but I suggest that the criteria of legibility, contrast and glare should always be held paramount.

    1. On the left of the GIMP UI, the user will observe a number of small icons, representing the various tools available to the operator.
      At the very bottom, left side of the Toolbox is an icon of two screens partially overlapping. If the mouse pointer is hovered over this icon, a tool-tip opens explaining that this is used to set foreground and background colours.
    2. Click on the black part of the icon. A dialogue box will open titled "Change Foreground Colour". At the lower right of this, the user will note input fields for the RGB colours to be blended.
    3. Choose a colour from my list, above, and fill in the appropriate values. As this is done, the colour will change. Users will note a large horizontal box above the action buttons which displays "Current" and "Old" colours.
    4. When satisfied that the correct colour has been set, click [OK]. The dialogue box will close and what was originally a black rectangle representing the foreground colour will have changed.
    5. In the fourth row up from the colour selector previously used, the operator will observe an icon of a paint-bucket being poured. If the mouse pointer is hovered over this icon, the Tool-tip "Bucket Fill Tool" will be shown.
    6. Click this icon and then move the mouse pointer to anywhere within the boundary of the blank label being created. Left-click and the whole area will immediately be filled with the chosen colour. A new blank label has now been created.
    7. From the "File" menu, select "Save as..." and Save the image to the directory --
      using a descriptive name (I use "Blank_colour" which is very helpful later when creating complete labels).

    If the user follows the procedure described above, they will create a set of blank, coloured labels, ready to accept the desired text. I have over 1000 bookmarks , transferred very satisfactorily into Vivaldi from Firefox, which I am integrating into a new filing scheme. So far, I have allocated about 250. If I tried to perform the whole creation process for each label in one operational sequence, I would have multiplied the labour exponentially. Create a set of blank coloured labels and then add text as and when required.

    6.3 Adding the text

    1. Launch GIMP
    2. From the "File" menu navigate to the directory which holds the blanks, previously created and select that which is needed.
    3. With the blank, coloured label on display, we are ready to add text.
    4. Immediately to the left of the Bucket Fill Tool, previously used, the operator will note an icon carrying a large stylized capital letter "A". If the mouse pointer is hovered over this, the Tool-tip explaining that this is the Text tool is presented. Click on this icon.
    5. Place the mouse pointer exactly on the upper left corner of the coloured blank, "Left-click and Drag" to the lower right corner. Release the mouse button. It is worthwhile to take a some care over this operation so that the finished label will fit neatly onto the stylised representation of a folder which Vivaldi displays when a new file or folder is created.
    6. The text box is defined by a dashed black outline and has four drag handles, one at each corner.
    7. Click the mouse pointer inside the Text box and type in the desired test. This will be invisible at this stage because no ink colour has been set so this defaults to the same colour as the background.
    8. When the Text box was drawn, a small, information box opened automatically above this. It is here that the attributes of the text is to be set.. At the top is a smaller box containing the word "sans" indicting that a "sans serif" font will be set by default. This is very similar to "Arial" and some may find this useful.

    When we read, we recognise the shape of the words and this is particularly the case for those suffering from macular degenergation when the middle four or five letters in each word is a grey blur. My personal preference is to use "Times New Roman Bold Italic".

    The user must first drag the mouse pointer over the typed text to select this and then delete the word "sans" by dragging the mouse pointer over this. If the user then types the single letter "T", a palette contain a large list of fonts whose names begin with this letter is presented. Select the font required and its name will now appear in the box previously holding the word "sans".

    1. On the lower right corner of the small information box the user will see a small square of the same colour as the background. Clicking this box opens a palette of small squares containing various colours. These are the ink colours. Obviously, the user can select any colour they choose but I have found that Black seems to be the most practical choice. When the chosen colour is clicked, the previously- typed text can now be seen but this will be rather small since the system defaults to a text size of 18 pixels. This size is displayed next to the box holding the font name. Next to this value are up- and down-arrows which allow the size of the text to be adjusted.

    I use a height of 50 pixels for the main legend and 40 pixels for any supplementary information. I must stress here that these sizes reflect my level of impairment and the adjustments I have made to my monitor resolution settings. Whilst again, users can set any size they wish, these sizes seem a good choice --- easy to read but not aesthetically intrusive.

    1. The legend can now be arranged on the background. Words can be moved vertically, using the [Enter] key to move words down, [Delete] to move words up, [Backspace] and cursor keys move words horizontally. New users will initially find these operations a bit error-prone and some practise is required to do the task dexterously.
    2. When the label is finished, select "Export as..." from the "File" menu and navigate to the folder --
      and type in a meaningful name. I always use the words of the text legend I have created as this greatly helps one to find the required logo among several hundred examples.

    GIMP will add the extension *.PNG to exported files, which is the format Vivaldi requires. Do not "Save" the file as GIMP will then add the extension *.xcf but Vivaldi cannot use this. There is one small drawback to "Exporting" files --- GIMP cannot later edit these if they are in *.PNG format so if a mistake has been made, the whole file must be created anew.

    1. Discussion

    With labels created as described, these can be attached to the relevant Vivaldi folder by right-clicking and selecting "Select Custom Thumbnail", navigating to the stored logos and then selecting the one needed. I make extensive use of the background colour "Light Yellow", black ink and text sizes of 50 or 40 pixels. I find this combination easy to view for long periods without eye strain. The combination of good visibility and a sensible organisation of directories into a logical structure, using sub-directories, greatly facilitates searching for any particular URL. I intend that ultimately all of my 1000 bookmarks will be associated with top level folders on StartPage.

    I mentioned above that I normally run Vivaldi sandboxed when searching the Web at large. This is achieved in Linux with the aid of the utility program "firejail" which severely limits access to the System itself for security reasons. All the logos created as described work seamlessly with firejail/Vivaldi combinations. However, as readers will note, I am extending Vivaldi from a simple web browser to a centre in which saved information is read.

    I often download whole articles by using the option "Save Page as ..." from the Vivaldi "File" menu. Experienced readers will know that web page downloads are saved as a two-part object. I have also experimented satisfactorily in downloading and bookmarking files in *.pdf format. (These can be read using the integral PDF-viewer) At a later date, I open the saved file in Vivaldi using the "Open file ..." option and navigating to the directory in which the downloads are stored. I can then bookmark the articles as normal. Unfortunately, for reasons of security, these directories are not accessible to Vivaldi when running sandboxed.

    The solution is to have two launchers for Vivaldi. In one, "firejail" is invoked and in this mode, Vivaldi surfs the Web. The second launcher simply invokes Vivaldi in unprotected mode but all directories are now accessible. I think of Vivaldi as now being in "Reader" mode and for security reasons, it should not be used in this condition for surfing, although in practice the danger is probably minimal, given that this is a Linux system. Unfortunately, when switching from one mode to the other, it is necessary to restart the computer so as to clear away all settings from memory. If one attempts to access bookmarked files when Vivaldi is sandboxed, the system protests that "File not found" when in actuality, Vivaldi is being prevented from reaching the appropriate directory.

    As one might expect, there is a drawback to using Vivaldi with a large number of bookmarks --- the burden on memory slows the initial loading. When I first began experimenting with Vivaldi some months ago, I was initially more concerned with operating the application itself and so I never made note the time to load before I imported my 1000+ bookmarks from Firefox. Needless-to-say, this went smoothly and Vivaldi preserved the original organisation perfectly.

    It was only at some later date that I became curious about load time and began to measure this. In an early configuration, with only a few tiles created and the bookmarks file in its original condition, Vivaldi took 25 seconds to load, measured from initiating mouse-click to a screen ready for input. Later with hundreds of bookmarks allocated and labels created as described here, the time has only increased to 27 seconds.

    My computer is a Dell 980 "Optiplex" series machine with 2.8 G/Hz four-core processor. This machine has 8 GB of RAM and over 100 Gb of free disk space. I am running 64-bit Linux Mint, Ver: 17.3 ("Rosa") , fully updated. The Kernel is Ver: 4.4.0 and a Mate Desktop is set. With the current configuration of Vivaldi running, plus a Password safe and a text editor, there is 77% memory free. This is the configuration which gives a 27 second load time.

    I know that Vivaldi is built for speed so I was curious as to just what could be achieved. Unfortunately, I cannot test other Vivaldi installations now without jeopardising my present nicely-configured system but fortunately, this machine is configured as a dual-boot installation running 32-bit Windows 7 in its own partition. This rather odd obsolete configuration is used as an environment in which to run some legacy film scanners (now 15 years old). Naturally, these machines will not work in a 64-bit environment and would not recognise Linux. Interestingly, the Tech Service Dept of the American firm who sell/sold the scanners insisted they would not work with anything higher than Win-98 even though I assured them I had run under both Win-2000 and Win-XP. I later reported success with Win-7 but they were not interested and basically told me to perform an impossible contortion.

    So, as an experiment, I downloaded and installed a 32-bit Windows version of Vivaldi, not burdened with a large bookmark file. I am not certain of the exact load time, but it seems to be somewhere between 3 to 4 seconds, from the initiating mouse-click to being ready for user input. Clearly this is not a definitive test but it does seem to indicate that a large bookmark file imposes an initial load burden amounting to about 20 to 23 seconds. Further testing (under Linux Mint again) showed that the initial "cold" loading happens in about 27 seconds. If, however, Vivaldi is dismissed for some reason but then later invoked again (without restarting the computer in the interim) this second loading takes about 4 seconds, consistent with the time found under Windows 7.

    As a final step, I checked loading performance in "native" condition and under sandboxing. Invoking Vivaldi under "firejail" added a mere 2 seconds to the load time, taking this from 25 to 27 seconds, in all. I feel that an added 2 seconds is a price well-worth paying for the great deal of extra security provided by "firejail".

    I hope users will find my explanations clear and my remarks interesting and useful. I will do my best to reply promptly to any questions which may arise. Please use the internal numbering system to clearly identify the matter in question.

  • I have produced the attached screengrabs illustrating the results produced by my procedure. Image 01 shows the Speed Dial with the twelve tiles mentioned in my text. Image 02 shows the first tile clicked Open to show its contents. These two images were produced with user zoom set to 86%, The third image shows the view at 130% zoom, which is the setting I now use due to my visual impairment. The twelve tiles are all there and can be accessed by scrolling .0_1517324716248_Image_01.png 0_1517324737583_Image_02.png 0_1517324755399_Image_03.png


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