Microsoft Windows

Window-Eyes screen reader made free to Office users

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The market for screen readers, software which converts text on computer screens to synthetic voice, is becoming more competitive and people who are blind are beginning to see huge benefits. Last week, GW Micro announced it would make its Window-Eyes screen reader free to users of Microsoft Office.

The announcementstates that Window-Eyes will be available globally to anyone using Microsoft Office 2010 or later, saving users from paying $1,022. GW Micro states that the decision was a result of an increasingly critical need for people who are blind or vision impaired to have reduced barriers to technology access.


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Highlights of 2013: Accessibility in mainstream devices

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In 2013 people with disability have been offered more choice in smartphones and tablet computers. While Apple still dominates this market, this year saw its competitors offer affordable and accessible alternatives. Here, Media Access Australia looks at a selection of mainstream electronic devices and how they have been improved for accessibility.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Digital media and technology: 

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Windows 8.1 update released with minor accessibility improvements

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Microsoft has launched the Windows 8.1 update today, building on the most accessible operating system Microsoft has ever released.

Similar in functionality to Windows 8, the update continues to improve on Windows accessibility and usability by providing improved touch screen support, some user interface improvements to the Start and lock screen, the return of the Start button in desktop mode and the ability to go straight to desktop on start-up. While the new operating system (OS) remains touchscreen focused, there’s more flexibility for traditional users of a keyboard and mouse to get access to the more familiar desktop environment of older versions of Windows such as Windows 7 and XP.


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Introducing Glassbrick, Australia’s home-grown screen magnifier

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Have you ever used a piece of technology and thought “I could make a better one of these”? Sierra Asher, a 27-year-old game designer from Brisbane, did just that. The end product is Glassbrick, a screen magnifier for Windows that can meet the demands of hardcore gamers.

Asher works for game design house Halfbrick Studios and is the sole artist behind the hugely popular Jetpack Joyride. He has impaired vision and is reliant on screen magnification software to use computers. A Mac user at home, Asher couldn’t find a screen magnifier for PCs that was up to the task.

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