NVDA

New version of open source screen reader released

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A new version of the popular free and open source screen reader NVDA for Microsoft Windows has been released. The technology allows people who are blind to use computers through sound and a keyboard.

The makers of NVDA report on the release and highlight some of the key new features, including automatic speech language switching when reading documents with appropriate language information; support for 64 bit Java Runtime Environments; reporting of text formatting in browse mode in Mozilla applications and better handling of crashes and freezes.

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Users and industry rush to support assistive technology

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NV Access, the developer of the free NVDA screen reader, has received US$21,200 in donations from users in addition to funding from several organisations since its request in January. This will lead to a number of improvements to accessibility for those who are blind or vision impaired.

One of the supporting organisations is software company Adobe which has contracted NV Access to enhance NVDA's support for Adobe products. This will improve access to PDFs, electronic forms, e-books and other digital documents for users who are blind or vision impaired. NV Access will also work on improving Adobe Flash Player’s accessibility issues.

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NVDA proven a more robust screen reader than Thunder

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The American Foundation for the Blind TECH lab recently compared the performance of two free screen readers, NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) and Thunder, with NVDA shown to provide the better experience for screen reader users.

The lab’s researchers tested NVDA and Thunder for Microsoft Windows on common tasks users perform on a daily basis. They compared the two products in categories such as email, Microsoft Word and Excel, online banking, travel booking, iTunes, Amazon and Bookshare, as well as general web browsing.

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A guide to the NVDA screenreader

Roberta: Today we have Dr Scott Hollier with us from Media Access Australia to talk about a free piece of assistive technology, the NVDA screen reader. Welcome, Scott.

Scott: Thanks, Roberta. Thanks for having me back.

Roberta: Now, firstly, what is NVDA?

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