Screen reader information

 screen reader, lap top and Braille display set up

A screen reader is a software package that can covert text into speech. It allows a person who cannot see to access both web content and documents.

A screen reader can read the text from top to bottom, one line at a time.

But it can also navigate the content from

  • link to link
  • heading to heading (if the web content has structured headings).

This navigation feature enables a user to “scan the content”, so that they can skip to what they need without having to read everything on the page. 

A screen reader in use

In this video, a blind lecturer is tutoring a class of sighted students. He is demonstrating how to access web content using a screen reader called JAWS. The sighted students seem pretty blown away!!

Common screen readers

There are 3 big players in the screen reader world:

  • Jaws ( over $1,000, most common and established package – Windows only)
  • NVDA (a free download onto your computer – Windows only)
  • Voiceover (built into Apple Mac products)

A newer option is Webanywhere, which you can carry on a USB stick and can plug into any computer.

More information on screen readers

Screen reader video tutorials

Short cuts and hot keys INFO