Good News for the blind and visually impaired! NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free (and open source) screen reader for folks using Microsoft Windows that “talks” via synthetic speech and Braille — allowing blind or visually impaired folks to use computers that use Windows.
(Sorry Mac users, you will need to install Boot Camp that came with your OSX install DVD’s and boot into Windows to use this.) NVDA is developed by NV Access, with contributions from the community.
To read more about this software, you can visit the NVDA Wiki here: http://www.nvda-project.org/wiki/About
You can download the installer for the software here: http://www.nvda-project.org/wiki/Download (We recommend downloading the most recent STABLE version)
- Software is easy to install and works great out-of-the-box for the average user. Installer includes voice instructions for installation as well as the standard install windows.
- Ability to add additional voices to the reader.
- Default voice is robotic and annoying. Fortunately you can easily switch to the Windows Microsoft Speech API which is smoother and more pleasing.
Most sites aren’t optimized for screen readers so you will get a lot of html read to you that is useless. Learn the navigation shortcuts that allow you to skip ahead, go back or repeat from the documentation here: http://www.nvda-project.org/documentation/userGuide.html#toc21 .