A free screen reader can come in handy in so many instances:
- You need to test a web site or software with screen readers
- You want to understand how blind people use the computer
- Commercial screen readers are too expensive and you need a cost effective alternative
Here I will discuss the most popular free screen reader programs and will show you where to get it from.
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This is one of the most common question asked by sighted people when they meet or hear about blind computer users. Here, I’ll not only answer this question, but I’ll discuss where it may have come from. I’ll also add in some interesting facts along the way.
We all know by now that blind people love accessible web sites. But what most people are wondering about is how exactly do blind people surf the Net in the first place. Do they browse web sites like sighted people? Do they have different techniques?
Here, we’ll explain in detail how blind persons read and navigate web pages. Helping us out in this discussion is Ed. Ed is totally blind and is currently learning how to read web pages. Today he wants to visit a few web sites, but first, there is something he needs to run in his computer.
It’s amazing how a software application can change the lives of people who are blind or have visual impairments. But this is exactly what screen readers do. These programs provide blind and visually impaired people a way to use a commodity which sighted people often take for granted – the computer.
Yet as useful and life-changing as they are, screen readers can be very very costly. If you want to purchase one of the screen readers in the market, you should be ready to spend hundreds even thousands of dollars. But there, however, is a free alternative screen reader known as NVDA. Let us take a look at what NVDA is and what makes it unique from other screen readers.
Being comfortable in looking at the screen is very important when using the computer. For people with perfect vision, this does not pose a concern. But for people with limited or low vision, it may be difficult to see images and regular text on the screen.
An application known as a screen reader can provide the needed solution for people with visual impairments. Here, we will take a look at what a screen magnifier is, and how it helps persons with low vision.
Reading your electronic documents using your hands instead of your eyes may sound almost impossible. However, this is actually what many blind persons do. This is done through a device known as a Braille display.
Braille displays are hardware that enable users to read in Braille the text displayed on the computer screen. Using this device, blind people can navigate through the computer’s desktop, create and edit documents, and browse the Internet.
After the Oracle's acquisition of Sun, one of the first decisions to make was to fire Willie Walker, the ORCA project lead. ORCA is a Linux based screen reader, which became very famous and popular among visually impaired people. Sun had a strong commitment to support ORCA in so many ways to offer screen reader users another option, a wider choice of operating systems.
While it is practically possible to use Linux with screen readers, in the past it had been very difficult, many people used a terminal solution and accessed their Linux machine through another computer. ORCA made it possible to directly use a Linux machine, and eventually got it to a point where visually impaired people could use it as their primary system.
The Internet has no boundaries. At least that’s the conventional wisdom. Nonetheless, hurdles remain for many who would like access to the worldwide web,
especially those with disabilities. At issue are details seldom considered by web designers, programmers and non-disabled users.
But there are solutions, for example for blind people who want to surf the web. Screenreaders dictate website contents or print pages in Braille format.
Many documents have been written about web accessibility. This is only appropriate as web accessibility covers a considerably large amount of topics. However, similar to any principle, web accessibility also has its set of limitations.
Here, we will try to point out those limitations in order for you to better understand web. Accessibility. It is important to note though that experts are presently working on these issues to address or improve them.
I have worked with many people who started losing their vision but still wanted to be able to use the computer. It is not to say that it is an easy task, but it is definitely possible to go through this challenge, and keep using the computer. Actually, the computer can be great to perform tasks which you were able to do with perfect vision.