Screen Readers

Results of the latest Screen Reader User Survey can be found here:

 All materials distributed to students, whether in-class or online, in hard copy or electronic format, by faculty or teaching assistant, must be accessible to those who use adaptive technology software, such as screen readers.

A screen reader is a software program that provides feedback about what is displayed on a screen to a computer user, using non-visual means such as text-to-speech. This adaptive technology may be utilized by users who are blind and/or visually impaired, as well as by users who have cognitive or learning disabilities.

Here is a list of screenreaders, starting with the two most commonly used:  Window-Eyes and JAWS.

Window-Eyes from GWMicro
Window-Eyes, commonly referred to as WE, is a popular, state-of-the-art
screenreader with scripting and braille display support that
distinguishes itself from its competition by working with a broad range
of Windows applications out of the box. WE can be downloaded and run as
a 30-minute demo. One can purchase a 60-day evaluation license for
$39. GWMicro offers a payment plan that can enable a customer to
have a fully functioning copy of WE for as low as $39/month.

JAWS for Windows from Freedom Scientific
JAWS for Windows, commonly referred to as JFW or JAWS, with scripting and
braille display support, is the most widely-distributed screenreader.
It also works with a broad range of Windows applications, although it is
heavily reliant on scripting to accomplish this.  JFW also has a demo
mode that will run for 40 minutes at which time you must restart your
computer; however, their licensing information clearly states you may not use their demo version for web site assessments.  For information on a JFW trial visit the Freedom Scientific Trials page:

Hal from Dolphin Systems
A full featured screenreader that is growing in popularity with a
scripting language and braille display support.  Hal can be downloaded
and run as a 30-day trial.

System Access from Serotek
System Access is an economical screenreader whose focus continues to be
accessibility from any computer. Its cost is considerably less than its
competitors. It seems to have a trial available although the details
are a bit vague on its web site.

NonVisual Desktop Access  (NVDA) is a free, open-source screen reader for
the Windows operating system. It lacks the sophistication of the
commercial screen readers but can be both a good starting place and a
useful tool for testing.

Voiceover from Apple Inc.
Voiceover is Apple's built-in screenreader for the Mac and many other
devices such as the iPod. A strong benefit is its available on the
computer out of the box, no additional cost for accessibility.
Voiceover is growing in popularity and will continue to do so as it
matures and cooperates with more applications.