First free practical guide to NVDA screen reader released

Monday, 25 July 2011 10:23am

Media Access Australia has released the first free training resource for the NVDA screen reader: a ‘wikispace’ that provides a step-by-step guide to installing and using the free assistive technology.

The NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free and open source screen reader for the Microsoft Windows operating system. It communicates the contents of a computer screen via synthetic speech and Braille, enabling people who are blind or vision impaired to perform computer tasks such as searching the internet and writing documents.

The wikispace was created with assistance from NV Access, who created NVDA. Designed as an easy-to-use guide, rather then a complex manual, the wikispace provides basic information on installing NVDA, tools for navigating the Internet and creating a WordPad document, and includes links to other resources. 

Media Access Australia WA Project Manager, Dr Scott Hollier says, “Itinerant teachers of the blind have been asking us for some time for information on how basic tasks in Windows can be achieved using NVDA.  Providing a basic online training resource gives blind and vision impaired students the opportunity to use computers and the Internet for their learning”. 

A survey, conducted by US web resource company WebAIM, reveals that 98% of NVDA users see free screen readers as viable alternatives to commercial screen readers in providing access to Microsoft services for the blind and vision impaired.

President of NV Access, Michael Curran said, “The wiki format allows users, including teachers, to contribute information about NVDA that could be useful to other users to the webpage.”

“This editing function is essential as the community and users know best,” said Curran.

The NVDA training resource can be accessed here.

Visit the Digital Technology section of the Media Access Australia website for information on free and low cost screen readers and other assistive technologies.

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