Screen Reader Applications

Increasingly people with visual impairments, including blindness, are using computer interfaces to get most of their information and to communicate with others. These users most often use an assistive technology (AT) device called a Screen Reader. A screen reader is a software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen (or, more accurately, sent to standard output, whether a video monitor is present or not). This interpretation is then re-presented to the user with text-to-speech, sound icons, or a Braille output device. Screen readers are a form of AT potentially useful to people who are blind, visually impaired, or have a learning disability, often in combination with other AT, such as screen magnifiers. (Source Wikipedia External link)

Popular screen reader applications:

JAWS – Job Access With Speech – for Windows PC

JAWS for Windows logo from Freedom ScientificJAWS is a screen reader produced by the Blind and Low Vision Group at Freedom Scientific. Its purpose is to make personal computers using Microsoft Windows accessible to blind and visually impaired users. It accomplishes this by providing the user with access to the information displayed on the screen via text-to-speech or by means of a Braille display and allows for comprehensive keyboard interaction with the computer.

For more information and to download a trial copy of JAWS External link.

Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) – for Windows PC

NV Access logoNon Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free and open-source screen reader for the Windows Operating System, enabling blind and vision impaired people to use their computers for no more cost than the computer and Operating System itself. Started in April 2006, it has grown to become quite usable as a day-to-day screen reader, enabling the user to do most tasks they would need to. It is not as stable or as bug-free as some of the commercial screen readers, but since December 2006 the creator of NVDA has been able to use NVDA full-time as his primary screen reader, finally giving up his original commercial product.

For more information and to download NVDA External link.

VoiceOver – for Apple Mac Computers and mobile devices

Voice Over Utility logo from AppleVoiceOver is a screen reader built into Apple Inc.’s Mac OS X operating system since version 10.4 and is also available on Apple iOS, tvOS, watchOS and iPod devices. By using VoiceOver, the user can access content and navigate by using text-to-speech, the keyboard and the touchpad. VoiceOver is designed to increase accessibility for blind and low-vision users, and for some users with learning disabilities.

For more information about VoiceOver External link.

Serotek – System Access – for Windows PC

SeroTek - Accessibility Anywhere logoSerotek’s System Access software brings you accessibility anywhere, and is available in configurations to meet every lifestyle and budget. Whether you’re composing a document or spreadsheet, keeping track of appointments, or surfing the web, System Access provides intuitive and affordable access to all Windows-based applications.

System Access comes in a standalone package, a mobile version and a web-based product called System Access to Go.

For more information and to download a trial version or Serotek External link.

Window-Eyes – for Windows PC

Window Eyes by GW Micro logo enables individuals who are blind or visually impaired to be completely independent on a PC and be more successful and productive at school and in the workplace. Since 2014 GW Micro and Microsoft Corp. have partnered to make Window-Eyes available to users of Microsoft Office at no cost.

For more information about Window-Eyes External link.