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SuperNova for Assessors Course

1. Editions Explained


Welcome to the first lesson in the Assessor's Course. 

This lesson will introduce you to the magnification and screen reading products available from Dolphin, the system requirements to install and run the software and the key features you will find in each edition. Understanding the feature sets will, in turn, help you recognise what is the best edition for you or your clients.

But before you start this lesson, it’s important to take a moment to consider vision loss and its effects on people.

Vision impairment, also called sight loss, sight impairment, vision loss and visual impairment, refers to the loss of sight that cannot be corrected using glasses or contact lenses. Vision impairment can affect people of all ages, with the majority of people being over the age of fifty.

Young children with a vision impairment can experience lower levels of educational achievement, and in adults it often affects quality of life through lower productivity, decreased workforce participation and high rates of depression.

There are several types of vision loss, and these can be caused by different diseases or conditions. Symptoms can range from mild symptoms through to blindness and symptoms can develop and change over time. Symptoms can include loss of central vision, loss of peripheral vision, night blindness, inability to recognise colours, sensitivity to bright lights, blurry vision, and ability to see shapes without detail.

Causes of vision loss include:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
    AMD is an eye disease that can impact a person’s central vision. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss for people aged fifty and older. This can occur very gradually or quite rapidly. For many people, they begin to see a blurry area near the centre of their vision, which may increase in size over time.
  • Glaucoma.
    Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve, which is in the back of a person’s eye. Symptoms can happen so gradually that a person may not know they have it until they have an eye examination. It can occur in one or both eyes. Without treatment, glaucoma can eventually cause blindness, beginning with the peripheral vision.
  • Diabetic retinopathy.
    Diabetic retinopathy is a condition causing vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes. It affects blood vessels in the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye. It is important that a person with diabetes have regular eye examinations. Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can develop into total and permanent blindness.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
    RP is a group of rare eye diseases that affect the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye). RP makes cells in the retina break down slowly over time, causing vision loss. Symptoms usually start in childhood, and most people eventually lose most of their sight.

Other causes of vision loss include poor eye health and trauma that results in injury to the eye.

Dolphin, through their software programs, aim to assist people with a vision impairment achieve their technology goals.

Lesson Objectives

After studying this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Accurately name the four magnification and screen reader programs available from Dolphin and clearly state a minimum of three differentials between each program.
  • Correctly state the system requirements and the methods by which you can obtain, install, and run the magnification and screen reading programs.
  • Accurately explain, in terms of sight impairment, the type of person that may benefit from using each of the four magnification and screen reading programs.

This lesson should take no more than fifteen minutes to complete.


HubSpot Video

Dolphin has been developing, selling, and supporting clients using their magnification and screen reading products for more than thirty years. Dolphin products are sold throughout the world and have a well-established and knowledgeable network of dealers and resellers that clients can rely on.

Dolphin provides the following magnification and screen reading editions:

  • SuperNova Magnifier.
  • SuperNova Magnifier & Speech.
  • SuperNova Magnifier & Screen Reader.
  • Dolphin ScreenReader.

Dolphin also offers a SuperNova Enterprise edition. The SuperNova Enterprise edition is available for companies requiring a network, terminal server, or Citrix solution. The Enterprise licence also permits a desktop installation of any SuperNova edition onto a supported device that is to be used by their employees with a visual impairment.

Key differentials

Below you will find a description of the key features available in each edition of Dolphin's magnification and screen reading software. The list is not comprehensive but does provide you with a clear overview of the product's feature sets. We have also highlighted the type of person that may benefit from using each edition, however, this is subjective and should only be used as a guideline.

SuperNova Magnifier

SuperNova Magnifier is ideal for people with mild or moderate visual impairment and offers the following key features:

  • Magnification that increases up to sixty-four times with clear text, bold fonts and image sharpening.
  • Eight magnification views including Split Screen Modes.
  • Static magnified windows, called Hooked Areas or Freeze Windows, enabling you to keep important information visible all the time.
  • Comfortable screen viewing with high contrast colour schemes, focus highlighting and large, highly visible mouse pointers.
  • Two custom reading modes that enable you to set the colours, font type, font size and reading speed.
  • Touchscreen support enabling magnification with intuitive gestures and exploration with a single finger. Also includes a large print, high contrast on-screen keyboard.
  • Digital camera support to enable the viewing of letters, newspapers, labels, and objects.
  • Whiteboard support to enable the viewing of a remote computer screen, for example, a teacher or trainer's presentation.
  • Multiple monitor support makes multi-tasking easier by showing programs side-by-side or you can create a single large desktop that spans across multiple monitors.

SuperNova Magnifier & Speech

SuperNova Magnifier & Speech is ideal for people with moderate or severe visual impairment whose sight fluctuates throughout the day and may find it helpful to listen to longer passages of text read aloud. It includes the same features available with SuperNova Magnifier plus the following key features:

  • Supportive speech output from human-sounding TTS voices that you can enable when required.
  • Reading of the text in focus such as menus, dialog boxes and items as you work in your Windows programs. The description and state of controls is not announced.
  • Reading of the text under the mouse pointer.
  • Reading as you type.
  • Continuous reading to enable you to listen to messages, documents and webpages read aloud without the need to scroll through the text.
  • Eight core Speak keys including character, word, and line to enable you to speak, spell and phonetically read the text in focus.
  • Scan and reads documents aloud with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology.
  • Virtual cursor to enable you to read through HTML content with the keyboard, including the ability to skip to the next or previous heading or link.

SuperNova Magnifier & Screen Reader

SuperNova Magnifier & Screen Reader is ideal for people with moderate or severe visual impairment and for organisations accommodating people with varying levels of visual impairment. It includes the same features available with SuperNova Magnifier & Speech plus the following key features:

  • Text style announcement controls to enable the editing and proof-reading of text.
  • Verbosity control to adjust how much supporting information is output by the screen reader.
  • Over thirty Speak keys including character, word, line, paragraph, table, and additional focus information to enable you to speak, spell, phonetically read and inspect the focus.
  • Virtual cursor to enable you to read through HTML content with the keyboard, including multiple quick navigation keys to skip to objects such as headings, links, lists, graphics, tables, buttons, edit boxes, list boxes, landmarks plus the ability to set your own place markers on a webpage and much more.
  • Choose the key presses you want announced when working to provide assurance that you are pressing the correct keys on your keyboard.
  • Refreshable Braille display support including Computer and Literary Braille options and Braille input mode.

Dolphin ScreenReader

Dolphin ScreenReader is ideal for people with severe visual impairment or blindness. Dolphin ScreenReader offers all the same features as SuperNova Magnifier & Screen Reader with the exclusion of most of the options relating to visual settings. These include magnification, colour schemes, mouse pointers and camera and whiteboard support.

The key visual feature available with Dolphin ScreenReader is Highlighting. The inclusion of Highlighting, besides offering you some assistance, may also help others who wish to follow the movement of your focus on the screen such as a teacher, colleague or trainer.

System Requirements

You can install and run the latest releases of SuperNova and Dolphin ScreenReader on the Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems. Legacy versions are also available if you are running an earlier version of the Windows operating system.

The recommended system requirements for the latest version of SuperNova and Dolphin ScreenReader are:

  • Windows 10 or Windows 11 operating system.
  • 2.0Ghz or higher multi-core CPU.
  • 8 gigabytes (GB) RAM.
  • Solid State Drive (SSD).
  • Up to 2 gigabytes (GB). Additional space may be needed for optional extra voices.

PCs purchased within the last five years should meet this recommended system requirement. A full list of the minimum and recommended system requirements can be viewed on the product pages at the Dolphin website.

Install methods

SuperNova and Dolphin ScreenReader can be installed and run through the following methods:

  • Download 30-Day Trial Version, which you can convert into a licensed version with an Unlock Code.
  • DVD Licensed Version, which can be sent to you through the postal service.
  • SuperNova and Dolphin ScreenReader USB Drive, which enables you to plug in and run your edition on any compatible computer from a USB port.
  • MSI install files for system administrators wishing to deploy SuperNova or Dolphin ScreenReader across a network.

Note: A Single User License entitles you to install the product on up to three computers that you own. So, for example, you may install SuperNova onto your desktop computer, your laptop computer and still have a spare license to use if, for instance, your laptop should be lost or damaged.


This concludes this opening lesson. In this lesson you learnt about the editions available, the methods to install and run the software and the key differences between each edition.

In the next lesson you will be looking at how you can adjust magnification and the way you can display the magnified window.

Whether you require only magnification, magnification and speech or require the assistance that comes from using a full screen reader, there is an edition for you. And, if you have an eye condition that means your sight loss will deteriorate over time, then Dolphin products can support you on this journey.


Below are three sample quiz questions based on this lesson. Please spend no more than five minutes considering the answers to these questions.

  1. You can obtain a version of SuperNova that runs from a USB thumb drive. Is this statement true?
  2. The SuperNova Magnifier edition includes support for refreshable Braille displays. Is this statement true?
  3. SuperNova Enterprise edition provides a solution for organisations wishing to deploy SuperNova across a network. Is this statement true?

End of lesson

Thank you for completing this lesson. Please select 'Next Lesson' below to continue to the next part of this course.

To revisit a previous lesson, please scroll to the top of this page and choose the lesson from the Course Outline menu.

But before you move on, here are the answers to the quiz questions:

  1. True.
  2. False.
  3. True.

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