Screen readers

What Screen Reader Shall I Install On My Dad's Computer?

WSJ

Episode 1817

Richard from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Richard's 94-year-old dad is losing his vision, and he's lost the ability to remote access his dad's Mac. He's going to be there at Thanksgiving and wants to install a screen reader so he can read the Wall Street Journal online. JAWS is a good option, now that it's more affordable. But he'll have to learn how to use it, and that could be problematic in the long run. Leo says he has a much better idea. The Wall Street Journal offers an audiobook version of the WSJ. It's not the whole thing, but it's curated for the most important stories, briefings, and even podcasts.

How Can I Get My Computer to Read the Screen to Me?

Orca

Episode 1767

Mike from Alhambra, CA

Mike is blind and wants to know what computers he can use that will speak to him. Leo says all of them have accessibility features, but most use screen readers to read what's on the computer screen. The programs aren't cheap, however. JAWS is the best known.

But there are open source options like ORCA. If you're fluent in braille, a braille screen reader reads your screen and displays them on a refreshable terminal with dots that go up and down.

Here's some resources for blind computing.

Jaws

Episode 1643

Jim from Las Vegas, NV

Jim is blind and he uses JAWS as a screen reader for his computer. It's not cheap, but your state may have an occupational therapy program that will underwrite the cost. Rich says that there's a home edition for $90 a year. JAWS will read the entire screen and tell you where things are. He says he can do just about anything. There's also ORCA, which is an open-source option.

What is a Good Screen Reader for PC?

Dragon

Episode 1642

Mark from Mission Viejo, CA

Mark is losing his vision and would like to find a screen reader for his Windows 10 PC. He can't even read it with the text zoomed in. So he needs something that will do voice dictation and screen reading. Rich says that iOS13 will now speak almost everything on your phone screen. It's called "Voice Control." So now you can control your entire phone with just your voice. So go into the accessibility features and try that out.

The best software for voice dictation is Dragon Naturally Speaking. 

 

What can I Do if Google Breaks my Screen Reader Software?

 ZoomText

Episode 1576

Laura from Beaumont, TX

Laura is vision impaired and uses Google's screen reader on her browser and a recent update to Chrome has broken it. But there doesn't seem to be a legacy version of Chrome. What can she do? Leo says that with the latest version of Chrome, she needs to install the ZoomText extension and install it. She can download it here.

Can I create a screen reader with Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi

Episode 1417

Todd from Indianapolis, IN

Todd wants to try and create an affordable screen reader using a Raspberry Pi. Leo says that NVDA is a free one, and Orca will run on Debian. If he can get Debian to run on the Raspberry Pi, then he's in good shape. The chatroom says it can work, but he'll probably need more RAM. If he can, that would be a great open source project for the blind.