|Initial release||January 1995; 25 years ago|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
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Computer screen readers read out loud the content that is on the computer screen. Screen readers enable access to a computer and all the things it does when magnification no longer helps or when you might experience visual fatigue if you have to read large amounts of on-screen text. A screen reading system for use with a computer such as Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac consists of a voice. Oct 11, 2013 photo credits: vox efx. As we mentioned before, there are a few software programs that offer screen reading capabilities, and blind people can use them in order to operate a computer. Visually Impaired Software - Free Download Visually Impaired - Top 4 Download - Top4Download.com offers free. software downloads for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android computers and mobile devices. Visit for free, full and secured software’s. Zoom Make your screen up to 1500 percent bigger. Zoom is a built-in screen magnifier that works wherever you are on your iPad. And it works with all apps from the App Store. Turn Zoom on for full-screen or picture-in-picture view, allowing you to see the zoomed area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its native size.
JAWS ('Job Access With Speech') is a computer screen reader program for Microsoft Windows that allows blind and visually impaired users to read the screen either with a text-to-speech output or by a refreshable Braille display. JAWS is produced by the Blind and Low Vision Group of Freedom Scientific.
An August–September 2019 screen reader user survey by WebAIM, a web accessibility company, found JAWS to be the second-most popular screen reader worldwide, displaced for the first time by NonVisual Desktop Access; 40.1% of survey participants used it as a primary screen reader, while 61.7% of participants used it often.
JAWS supports all versions of Windows released since Windows Vista. There are two versions of the program: the Home edition for non-commercial use and the Professional edition for commercial environments. Before JAWS 16, the Home edition was called Standard, and only worked on home Windows operating systems. A DOS version, sometimes also known as JDOS, is free.
The JAWS Scripting Language allows the user to use programs without standard Windows controls, and programs that were not designed for accessibility.
JAWS was originally released in 1989 by Ted Henter, a former motorcycle racer who lost his sight in a 1978 automobile accident. In 1985, Henter, along with a US$180,000 investment from Bill Joyce, founded the Henter-Joyce Corporation in St. Petersburg, Florida. Joyce sold his interest in the company back to Henter in 1990. In April 2000, Henter-Joyce, Blazie Engineering, and Arkenstone, Inc. merged to form Freedom Scientific.
JAWS was originally created for the MS-DOSoperating system. It was one of several screen readers giving blind users access to text-mode MS-DOS applications. A feature unique to JAWS at the time was its use of cascading menus, in the style of the popular Lotus 1-2-3 application. What set JAWS apart from other screen readers of the era was its use of macros that allowed users to customize the user interface and work better with various applications.
Ted Henter and Rex Skipper wrote the original JAWS code in the mid-1980s, releasing version 2.0 in mid-1990. Skipper left the company after the release of version 2.0, and following his departure, Charles Oppermann was hired to maintain and improve the product. Oppermann and Henter regularly added minor and major features and frequently released new versions. Freedom Scientific now offers JAWS for MS-DOS as a freeware download from their web site.
In 1993, Henter-Joyce released a highly modified version of JAWS for people with learning disabilities. This product, called WordScholar, is no longer available.
JAWS for Windows
In 1992, as Microsoft Windows became more popular, Oppermann began work on a new version of JAWS. A principal design goal was not to interfere with the natural user interface of Windows and to continue to provide a strong macro facility. Test and beta versions of JAWS for Windows (JFW) were shown at conferences throughout 1993 and 1994. During this time, developer Glen Gordon started working on the code, ultimately taking over its development when Oppermann was hired by Microsoft in November 1994. Shortly afterwards, in January 1995, JAWS for Windows 1.0 was released.
A new revision of JAWS for Windows is released about once a year, with minor updates in between.
JAWS allows all major functions of the Microsoft Windows operating system to be controlled with keyboard shortcuts and spoken feedback. These shortcuts are kept as consistent as possible throughout most programs, but the very high number of functions needed to fluidly use modern computer software effectively requires the end user to memorize many specific keystrokes. Virtually every aspect of JAWS can be customized by the user, including all keystrokes and factors such as reading speed, granularity used when reading punctuation, and hints. JAWS also includes a scripting language to automate tasks and make more complex modifications to the program's behavior.
The software includes a distinct mode designed specifically for web browsers, activated when Internet Explorer or another browser is in the foreground. Support for Internet Explorer is standard; other browsers often have compatibility issues ranging from minor to severe. Notably, Microsoft Edge support lagged behind most common third-party browsers before the release of the Chromium-based Edge in January 2020. When browsing web pages, JAWS first declares the title and number of links. Speech can be stopped with the control key, lines are navigated with the up/down arrow keys, and the tab key moves between links and controls. Specific letter keys on the keyboard can be pressed to navigate to the next or previous element of a specific type, such as text boxes or check boxes. JAWS can access headings in Word and PDF documents in a similar fashion.
The JAWS feature set and its configurability have been described as 'complex,' with training recommended for users such as web designers performing accessibility testing, to avoid drawing the wrong conclusions from such testing.
- ^'Screen Reader User Survey #8'. WebAIM. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
- ^'Enhancements and Improvements in JAWS 16', Freedom Scientific. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- ^'JAWS System Requirements'. Freedom Scientific. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- ^'DOS Software Toolkit'. Trace Research & Development Center. University of Wisconsin. 2007. Archived from the original on June 13, 2007.
- ^More JAWS downloads. Freedom Scientific. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
- ^'Henter-Joyce Newsletter'. September 1993.
- ^'Introduction'. www.freedomscientific.com. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
- ^Thatcher; et al. (2006). Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance (1 ed.). Friends of ED. p. 109. ISBN978-1-59059-638-8.
- ^Thatcher et al., p. 385
- ^Thatcher et al., p. 501.
- Official website
Every Mac is built with assistive technologies to support people who are blind or have low vision. The VoiceOver screen reader describes exactly what’s happening on your screen. Hover Text lets you instantly magnify a selection of text. And Display Accommodations support color blindness and other vision needs.
Hover TextGet a quick size boost of what you’re reading.
Hover Text makes it easier to view text on your display. If a paragraph, caption, or headline is too small to read, just hover over it with your cursor and press Command. You’ll get a dedicated window with a large, high-resolution version of your selection. You can even choose the fonts and colors that work best for you.
VoiceOverHear what’s happening on your screen.
VoiceOver does more than tell you what’s happening on your Mac. It helps you make things happen. It gives you auditory descriptions of each onscreen element and provides helpful hints along the way — whether you prefer using gestures, a keyboard, or a braille display. And it supports more than 35 languages, including multiple voice options.
VoiceOverIntegrated throughout macOS and every built-in app.
VoiceOver is unique because it’s not a standalone screen reader. It’s deeply integrated in macOS and all the built-in apps on Mac. And as developers update their apps to take advantage of the accessibility interfaces provided by Apple, their apps can start working with VoiceOver right away.
VoiceOverImproved PDF, web, and messages navigation.
We’ve refined VoiceOver to make it easier to navigate PDFs, websites, and messages. In Safari, improved conformance with HTML5 accessibility standards allows for more consistent navigation of websites. VoiceOver is now better at reading aloud tagged PDFs and email messages. If you start reading a website in a different language, VoiceOver can switch to the voice for that language automatically.¹ And you can add custom commands and workflows to your MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
Audio DescriptionsHear the details in every scene.
Watch movies with detailed audio descriptions of every scene on your Mac. Movies with audio descriptions are displayed with the AD icon in the iTunes Store.
VoiceOverNavigate VoiceOver with simple gestures.
You can control VoiceOver using many of the same gestures you use with iOS. Touch the trackpad to hear a description of the item under your finger, drag to hear items continuously, and flick to move to the next item. Enable the VoiceOver Trackpad Commander, and the trackpad surface will represent the current window or document, so you can navigate quickly to any corner or edge with a tap.
VoiceOverA virtual controller with customizable commands.
VoiceOver features a virtual control called the rotor. Turning the rotor — by rotating two fingers on the trackpad as if you were turning an actual dial — lets you access an array of fully customizable commands. Use it to browse web pages more efficiently and intuitively. The rotor lists common elements like “headings,” “links,” and “images,” and lets you navigate directly to the element of your choosing.
VoiceOverPlug-and-play support for braille displays.
VoiceOver is the first screen reader to provide plug-and-play support for refreshable braille displays. Plug in or sync one of over 100 compatible displays, supporting more than 80 international tables, and the VoiceOver description is presented to you in braille. You can edit seamlessly in Grade 2 Braille, viewing your edits in the context of the actual line of text. Optimized for fast braille typists, VoiceOver makes working in braille easy and efficient. Converting between braille and text happens automatically so you see only Grade 2 Braille. And for sighted users who sit alongside you, there’s an onscreen braille panel that displays both braille and plain-text versions of the descriptions spoken by VoiceOver.
Dark ModeWorking hard gets easier on the eyes.
Dark Mode transforms the desktop and built-in apps with a dark color scheme that helps you focus on your work.2 The fine points of your content take center screen as toolbars and menus recede into the background. Light text against darker backdrops in Mail, Safari Reader, Calendar, and more makes everything easier to read in low lighting conditions. And the Accessibility preferences for increased contrast and reduced transparency work with Dark Mode enabled.
DictationYou say it. Mac types it.
Dictation lets you talk where you would type — and it works in over 40 languages. So you can reply to an email, search the web, or write a report using just your voice. Navigate to any text field, activate Dictation, then say what you want to write. macOS also comes with more than 50 editing and formatting commands. So you can turn on Dictation and tell your Mac to bold a paragraph, delete a sentence, or replace a word. You can also use Automator workflows to create your own Dictation commands.
SiriStreamline the things you do every day.
Siri helps you do more with your desktop.³ Ask Siri to send messages, track down files, create reminders, search the web, and even turn on and off VoiceOver and Invert Colors, without interrupting what you’re doing on the keyboard. And because Siri is integrated with VoiceOver, you can ask it to find a file and hear the answer read out loud. If you prefer to communicate by typing, you can easily set Siri to “Type to Siri” mode.
ZoomMake your screen up to 20 times bigger.
Zoom is a powerful built-in magnifier that lets you enlarge your screen up to 20 times, so you can better see what’s on the display. You can zoom using full screen or picture-in-picture, allowing you to see the zoomed area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its native size. A shortcut key lets you pan the screen without moving the pointer while zoomed in. macOS can also flash the screen for notifications offscreen or speak text under your pointer. The hardware acceleration engine lets you boost the size of anything on your screen — text on a web page, family photos, or a place on a map.
Zoom DisplaySee content up close and at a distance simultaneously.
Now with macOS Catalina, if you have two displays, you can keep one zoomed in close while the other stays at a standard resolution. So you can tackle everyday work or give a presentation more efficiently.
Cursor SizeMagnify your cursor so it’s easier to use.
macOS lets you magnify your cursor so it’s easier to see where you are and follow along as you move around your Mac. Set the cursor size once and it stays magnified even when its shape changes. And when you swipe back and forth on your trackpad or quickly shake your mouse, the pointer grows so it’s easier to locate.
Contrast and Color OptionsInvert colors or enable color filters.
macOS lets you invert colors, enable grayscale, or choose from a range of color filters to support different forms of color blindness or other color vision deficiencies. You can select a common preset or fine-tune the color tint and hue to customize a display setting that works for you.
Reduce MotionDecrease the movement of onscreen elements.
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If you’re affected by the motion of screen elements, you can turn on Reduce Motion to decrease movement in areas like Spaces, Notification Center, and the Dock.
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Music, Podcasts, Books and TVNavigate and play with VoiceOver.
The Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, Apple Books, and Apple TV apps are compatible with VoiceOver, so you can navigate and play all your content even if you can’t see the screen. Browse the apps as VoiceOver reads out headers, links, and other elements on the page.
Or order an embossed copy of macOS VoiceOver User Guide
Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Explore instructional videos with tips on using vision accessibility features in macOS.Learn more about the Hadley Institute instructional videos at their website
Join a community of blind and low-vision users of Apple products.Learn more about AppleVis.com at their website
Get information on the use of Apple products by those who are blind or low vision.