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 wheel chair, 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.

Software that is installed on the Universal Computer:

Microsoft Offce

Microsoft Offce is a well know group of programs used in offces 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:


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:

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 key words. 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:  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:  for more information .

Kurzweil 3000

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:  for more information.


JAWS, (Job Access With Speech) is the world’s most popular screen reading software used by people who cannot 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:

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  for more information .

WordQ I SpeakQ 4 (Reading I Writing Software)

WordQ 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.

SpeakQ is an add on feature for WordQ. with SpeakQ 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. WordQ and SpeakQ have many other features. 

Accessible hardware to be used with the Universal Computer.

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)

Ergonomic Mouse

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 accessibility/ipad/

Ergonomic  Hardware Ergonomic Arm Support Ergonomic Keyboard Wrist Rest Ergonomic Mouse Pad with Wrist Rest

Ergonomic Chair

The iPad is on an adjustable arm


(Ask a staff member for one to use)

English (Regular)

English (Ergonomic)

English (Large Print)

French (Regular)

French (Ergonomic)

French (Large Print)


Chinese I Taiwanese

Braille Display I Keyboard


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 .

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

For a list of Nova Scotia Works locations and contact information visit

Nova Scotia Works