More free assistive technology software means more choice for users

Monday, 19 April 2010 10:26am

Two tools for people who are blind or vision impaired, a screen reader named Thunder and a screen magnifier named Lightning Express, offer people who are blind or vision impaired even more choice when it comes to free assistive technology software.

Lightning Express is a free full-screen magnifier that can be used with Windows XP, Vista and 7. It is designed to offer an easily-accessible option for anyone needing screen magnification.

One of the great things about Lightning Express is that you do not need to install it on a computer, making it an ideal option if you are using a computer in a public place (such as a library or internet café), or if you are using a computer on which you cannot install software.

Lightning Express makes accessing assistive technologies on-the-go even easier, and when coupled with tools like WebAnywhere, a screen reader that also doesn’t need to be installed, users will find themselves with access options wherever they go without needing to plan ahead.

Thunder is a free screen reader for people who are blind or vision impaired that can be used with Windows XP, Vista and 7. Unlike Lightning Express, it does need to be installed on a computer, but it can be run off a USB which increases its portability.

Thunder works with programs such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, Windows Calculator, Messenger, and anti-virus programs. It also offers control over settings such as speed, pitch and volume, reading options and navigation.

Thunder joins other free screen readers such as NVDA, WebAnywhere and System Access to Go, offering even more options to users. For more information on accessibility for users, please visit our guide to assistive technologies in the digital media section.

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