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The AccessiBlog is one of five Joe Clark Weblogs (Axxlog, Bookblog,, NUblog).

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Web AccessiBlog > Screen readers

Updated 2002.11.26

Screen readers

Screen readers, used by blind and visually-impaired Web-surfers, read text, menus, links, and other visual interface elements out loud in a selection of voices. If your page doesn’t work well with a screen reader, it isn’t very accessible.

  1. Introduction to the Screen Reader”: Enjoyable and somewhat informative QuickTime video (with optional captions) on screen-reader usage (2002.03.28)
  2. Linux with speech? Accessible text mode applications: “The nice thing about screen readers written for Linux are that they are under the Gnu Public License like Linux itself.... Several years ago, T. B. Raman had the idea that he could make Linux ‘speak’ to the blind. He came up with the idea of having a speaking environment that operated from within Emacs, a powerful Unix editor. The user could then issue shell commands from within Emacs, thus gaining nearly full control of the system. This had the advantage that it would run on many different UNIXes including Linux. It had the disadvantage of requiring the new user to learn emacs commands,” and so on, and so on, in endless discursion (2002.10.12)
  3. Screen readers open Windows for the blind: Good explanation of the differences between Jaws and Window-Eyes screen readers (2001.01.11)
  4. Screen readers comparative chart (just what it says, but limited to Jaws and Window-Eyes; 2001.01.11)
  5. A guiding standard: Squib on Microsoft Active Accessibility (2001.01.11)
  6. Talking browser speaks to blind Net users: “WeMedia said Tuesday it had launched a talking browser to make Internet surfing easier for the visually-impaired” (2001.03.07)
  7. Screen-reader manufacturers’ pages
    1. IBM Home Page Reader (official page); also technology background
    2. Jaws (Freedom Scientific)
    3. Window-Eyes (GW Micro)
    4. Outspoken (ALVA Access Group; Windows and Macintosh, though the Mac version is old)
    5. Emacspeak (freeware for Linux; T.V. Raman)