If there is a more important product for aiding the technology and communications needs of those who are visually impaired, it would be hard to imagine. Jaws Screen Reader makes personal computing possible for those who cannot see. For those of us who are blessed with site, it is hard to imagine what it would be like to face a computer without seeing the words on your screen much less make full use of word processing, spread sheets, email, internet browsing and many of the other software applications those of us blessed with sight take for granted.. The Jaws program was designed for computer users whose loss of vision prevents them from reading the content on the screen of their PC Desktop or Laptop.
I became familiar with the Jaws Screen Reader software through a blind customer of mine. My client sells computers as part of a bigger, visual-aid solution. His customers buy and use the same computers as my seeing customers. For the visually impaired, receiving a computer that does not have the Jaws software pre-installed is about as good as buying a brick.. For that reason, his computers are shipped to me, first, and I install the Jaws software for him. When his customers receive a system with Jaws preinstalled, they can remove the computer from the box and begin using it immediately.
The program works with just about all of today’s popular software applications: Internet Explorer, Fire Fox, Word Perfect, Corel, Lotus Apps, Adobe Acrobat, MSN Messenger and more. The Jaws software uses two, multilingual speech synthesizers which provide very natural, easy-to-understand speech of everything that is read on your screen. But Jaws does not merely just read data and applications text, it also turns all of your mouse-driven system commands into speech making it possible for the visually impaired to easily navigate windows menus and tasks. I am impressed with how quickly the program responds to the movement of your mouse. It never seems to miss a beat. The reader voice can be turned up as fast or slow as you want it. It is amazing how quickly my customer can read emails while speaking with me on the telephone. Thanks to Jaws, his lack of site does not hasten his ability to work or read data on the computer.
Use Jaws with Braille
Jaws is equipped with a refreshable Braille display. So, you can use the program to provide Braille output in place or addition to speech. The software produces several RealSpeak Solo Direct voices in different accents and languages which can be downloaded from their site. For instance you can choose between several variations of female-speaking or British voice accents, or numerous different languages; Indian, Spanish, Danish, German, Italian, etc. Jaws is also compatible with the MAGic Screen Magnification Software; a cool piece of software that can magnify the text and images on your screen by up to 36 times!
How Much does Jaws?
If you think a program that is so powerful and useful might cost a pretty penny, you’re right. The Jaws Screen Reader Software isn’t cheap. You can buy the Pro version for $1,095 or the Standard Version for $895.00. The only difference I could see from the website of the makers of Jaws, Freedom Scientific, is that the Pro version works with Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 Server Operating Systems. There is also Multi-User License pricing for the product. See, the Freedom Scientific website for more information on the Jaws Screen Reader software.