In recent times, I have been exploring a variety of virtual resources that libraries make available to library cardholders for free, inspired by one of my early posts on digital services that my local library provides- read my post on library services here. While I was visiting a library while out of town, I discovered an interesting website providing online technology tutorials called Hoonuit, and decided to check it out. Read on for my review of the Hoonuit service for users with vision impairment, and read more about how people with vision impairments can benefit from online library resources here.
What is Hoonuit?
Hoonuit, formerly Atomic Learning, provides free software training and support tutorials for over 150 software applications, as well as assistance with job searching and career skills. The videos can be watched in order, or users can choose to watch a small segment of a tutorial to learn a specific concept. Videos are available 24/7 and are updated regularly, and users can watch as many videos as they want, and as many times as they want.
How to access Hoonuit
Hoonuit is available as a free service through libraries, schools, and universities. Each institution gives users specific login information and a direct link for login on their website for virtual services. When I tested this app, I was using wifi at a participating library (where I am not a cardholder) and did not have to do any sign-in information- I just clicked the link in their virtual library portal and had immediate access to the platform. While there is no downloadable application, Hoonuit can be viewed on any device, including a computer, tablet, or phone.
On the homepage, users have the opportunity to view popular videos, new releases, as well as video categories. Users can search for videos using the search bar, clicking the video of their choice. When a video is open, the window on the left displays the video selected, and on the right users can choose which part of the video they want to play, or they can just watch the video playlist in order. Videos can be made full screen as well.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Hoonuit is very thorough in talking about web accessibility. All of their videos feature closed captioning, as well as transcripts that allow the user to follow along with ease. I also found it easy to navigate the website using Zoom on my iPad and the screen magnifier on my computer. Their website is also compatible with VoiceOver and Jaws, and they disclose their web accessibility information under the "accessibility" section of their website. If you're looking for an entertaining read, check out the results of their WCAG web accessibility assessment with JAWS in this PDF here.
Something else that surprised me about Hoonuit was that they had tutorials for making technology accessible for people with disabilities- which happens to be a topic I am passionate about. A quick search for "accessibility" returned videos about making Windows and Microsoft products accessible, Chromebook accessibility, iOS accessibility, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and others. There's also reportedly a JAWS tutorial, but I could not find it at publishing time. These tutorials are easy to follow and great for beginners that may not know a lot about assistive technology.
Learning to use a device
Did your iPad software just update and leave you confused? Are you new to using mobile operating systems? Hoonuit provides tutorials for learning to use a variety of different devices, with my favorite tutorials being the ones for iPad. Users can learn how to do simple functions on their devices, interact with apps, and many other tasks. One thing these tutorials do not cover is enabling accessibility settings, which I think would be incredibly helpful. Until then, read more about my accessibility settings for iPad here.
Web application tutorials
I watched a tutorial on how to use Google Forms to create a survey or other document, and found that it was very easy to understand. I found myself a little bit confused at times as the narrator would use terms like "click here" and I would be trying to figure out where "here" is, but after listening for a few more seconds, I was able to figure it out. I would recommend watching and listening to a video in its entirety first, and then playing the video again while using the application.
Users can also use Hoonuit to access software tutorials for Adobe, Microsoft Office, video editing, and programming applications. I found these tutorials easy to follow as someone with low vision, but they may be more confusing for someone who fully relies on a screen reader- this is where the transcript comes in handy. The Microsoft Office tutorials were my favorite because information was described very thoroughly, making it great for beginners. Read more about Microsoft Office accessibility here, and watch my video on how I use Microsoft products here.
Hoonuit also features tutorials on how to write resumés, tips for job interviews, ways to practice time management, and improving writing under their "career skills" section. I found these to be extremely useful for users with vision impairment that are preparing for employment- and with an unemployment rate over 50% in the vision impairment community, having resources like this available is invaluable- learn more about my policy idea to help visually impaired students receive education here. And speaking of jobs, read more about how vocational rehabilitation can help people with vision impairments prepare for employment here.
Hoonuit has acknowledged they are not perfect for people who use assistive technology, but they are still a fantastic and free resource that does a great job of explaining technology topics to people who may not be familiar with them. I recommend at least trying out Hoonuit to see if it can help you.