We've started counting down the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2015. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, Shelly Brisbin, Ricky Enger, Chancey Fleet, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, and Joe Steinkamp. You can go here for our previous stories For number 9, NVDA gets a new voice and much more.
For many, screen readers are all about first impressions. For years, I've heard of situations where users chose JAWS over Window-Eyes because they liked the voice better. In reality, Window-Eyes also came with the popular Eloquence voice but it was not enabled by default.
As for the free NVDA screen reader, the default Espeak voice is a harsh pill to swallow for many users. Despite all of the advancements in features included in NVDA over the years, the heavily accented voice often scared people away before they were able to give NVDA a real chance. In 2015, developments in NVDA both by NVAccess and third-party contributors have raised the mainstream appeal of the free screen reader. Code Factory released both a SAPI version of Eloquence that works with any screen reader and a NVDA add-in that allows users to have both Eloquence and Vocalizer voices for a reasonable price. While this isn't the first instance of a company offering additional voices for NVDA, it's arguably the most affordable.
NVDA is also taking the lead on new features that other screen reader developers have either ignored or added much later. They were an early adopter of MathPlayer4 shortly after the CSUN conference. They were the first to advertise experimental support for the Edge browser in Windows 10.
These days, the question is no longer about if NVDA be a viable screen reader in five years. With recent improvements, and expanded voice options, NVDA is not just a screen reader for enthusiasts and hobbyists.
We'll have more to say about NVDA later in the countdown. Stay tuned for more stories as we count down to number 1.
I've only one word I can use to describe NVDA: incredible! I literally could not do my job without it, as it's the only screen reader that works at all with Microsoft SCCM 2012, among other things.
Bhavya Shah Saturday, 09-Jan-2016 05:06 AM ET:
I totally agree. Initially, I simply took on NVDA after my brief training with JAWS because I needed to use a laptop for note-taking purposes in school, but later, although I could by unmentionable means acquire JAWS, I still use NVDA, and it works flawlessly for me, much better than JAWS too in many aspects!
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.