SCREEN READERS

Last updated: 10 July 2016

Web authors committed to Web Content Accessibility have long complained that there was no fully functional "real life" screen reader available at a reasonable price that they could use to check their web pages.

There are now numerous suitable screen readers available. Visit Disabled World - Screen Readers for the Visually Impaired for a comprehensive listing accompanied by thumbnail evaluations. Some implementations are available as free trial downloads.

Fire Vox - A Screen Reading Extension for Firefox

This is a full featured audio Screen Reader that functions flawlessly as a Firefox Browser extension. It is accompanied by an excellent online manual and tutorials. Some of the designated function keys may have to be reassigned (very easy to do via the tool bar) for compatibility with existing key board functions. The Fire Vox package (including download, installation and online manual) is available at the Fire Vox Information page.

Inexpensive audio Screen Reader:

I have found TextAloud easy to install, set-up, and use. Toolbars are installed for IE & Firefox Browsers. It is a Windows implementation and is available at NextUp.com as a 15 day free trial download. The $29.95 purchase price is very reasonable, especially when compared with $895 for JAWS or Window Eyes, and $795 for Hal, all of which I have used as trial versions.

The speaking style and pronunciation of audio screen readers may take a little getting used too at first, but the text is readily understood with a little familiarity. Screen readers are also invaluable to Web authors for quick and easy proof reading of web page content.


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