This paper describes the optical hand-held scanner designed for use as a data entry device, as well as for the Kurzweil reading machine for the blind. This device has numerous advantages over other scanners introduced into the market, chief among them are its high resolution, one-inch field of view, bidirectional capabilities, compact block-shape and high scanning speed. The device allows the user to scan single sheets as well as bound documents and magazines. During its three-year development, the major emphasis has been on refining the design to make the device easy to use and simple to assemble. This paper addresses the technical issues associated with the human-factors considerations that led us to this design.