NVDA

NVDA 2015.1 screen reader released: hands-on first impressions

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NVDA, the free screen reader for Windows which is one of the world’s most popular, continues to receive significant improvements with the latest version, 2015.1. Dr Scott Hollier provides a hands-on review and initial impressions of the latest software update from NV Access.

Headset resting next to a Windows-based laptop

While not a proficient screen reader user, I find it useful from time to time when trying to read web pages, documents and emails which are text-heavy, so I was interested to take the new version of NVDA for a spin on my Windows 8.1 machine.


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Accessible consumer technologies and the cloud: VisAbility Tech Outlook 2014

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Dr Scott Hollier's keynote presentation at the VisAbility Tech Outlook 2014 is now available to download via SlideShare.

Presented at the VisAbility Tech Outlook 2014, Dr Scott Hollier covers the journey of Assistive Technologies (AT) from the hardware-based solutions of the 1980s, to the wide range of affordable AT options available today (including accessibility developments of Windows, Mac, iPhone and Android). The importance of the cloud in relation to the future AT is discussed, including its benefits and issues for consumer accessibility.


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Facebook introduces video captions

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Facebook has launched a major update to its accessibility features, now allowing users to add captions on videos.

The announcement comes from Facebook Accessibility’s August 2014 update, providing a complete guide to adding and viewing captions on user-uploaded video files.

Facebook’s steps to provide captions on videos are outlined below:

How do I add captions to my video?

You can add captions to a video by uploading a SubRip (.srt) file that is saved using the following format:

filename.en_US.srt

To add captions to a video as you upload it:

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Guest post: Voting independently

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In a recent state by-election, screen reader user Andrew Devenish-Meares was able to vote online. Here, he talks through the experience of being able to place a secret vote independently.

It’s that time again for the people of the Northern Tablelands state election. Some people view it as a right, others say it is an obligation. Either way, the law requires we cast our ballots in a by-election.

Here in New South Wales, the NSW Electoral Commission has spent considerable time developing an online voting application for use in state elections and by-elections. It’s called iVote, and was first used at the last state election in 2011 to great success.

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NVDA screen reader now recognises long description

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Free screen reader for Windows, NVDA, has been updated to recognise 'longdesc', an attribute used by web developers to describe the data that is visually presented in images such as graphs and diagrams.

To access the long description, press 'NVDA'+'d' once the screen reader announces it is there. For example, if users have their screen reader focused on an image of a graph, NVDA will announce there is long description available. To activate the long description, users can press the NVDA button (usually Insert) and the 'd' to hear the long description. This update is compatible with the Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers.

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NVDA adapted for Windows 8

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The popular free screen reader Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) has been adapted for use on computers with Microsoft Windows 8, including touch screen devices such as tablets and hybrid ultrabooks.

As Windows 8 focuses much more closely on the experience with touch, Microsoft has now ensured that assistive technologies can fully process touch input, and therefore provide a suitable touch experience for blind users. NVDA has been modified to allow it to receive input from a touchscreen that allows the user to not only read what is on the screen simply by tapping or dragging their finger, but also to activate other NVDA-specific commands or move around the operating system by object navigation.

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