Screen reader software allows any blind or visually impaired person to use the computer easily. These tools convert the content present on the screen into audio so that the user can hear and understand it easily.
Some of the apps also provide Braille display output which blind people can read to get the information on the screen.
Here we have mentioned some of the most popular screen readers that will help those who are unable to use the computer due to vision problems. You will get software for both the Windows PC and Mac in this list. Also, there is a bonus tip to use a screen reader on Android and iOS at the end of the article.
Best Screen Readers For Blind And Visually Impaired
NVDA or Non-Visual Desktop Access is an open source screen reader application for Windows PC. Once you download the software and install, it will narrate each area of the desktop and icons where the mouse will be navigated. It will also narrate all the keyboard keys that you will type or use.
It is easy to use NVDA, just install and it will do the rest. This is a great screen reader for blind people and it provides voice feedback for everything on the desktop of the PC, whether browsing on Chrome, typing anything or just navigating to any folder or file. You can also use some keys and shortcuts from the keyboard to control or manage NVDA application.
2. Jaws Screen Reader
This is another screen reader software that will let visually impaired people use the computer. It will also narrate the components on the desktop where the cursor of the mouse is pointed to. In addition to all this, Jaws can also convert the screen information into Braille language and transfer it to refreshable Braille displays. In this way, blind people can touch the Braille display to know what is on the desktop display.
WebAnywhere is an online free screen reader tool for any web browser and can be used without installing any software or application. Using this tool blind people can access web browsers on any system or desktop easily and listen to the text on the screen using this screen text reader for browsers. It will work on any kind of browser but not elsewhere like any other folders etc.
This screen reader is made especially for Chrome browser which you can download from the Chrome Web Store. This extension will give voice feedback and narrate all the activities going on in the web browser while highlighting the area with the box that is being narrated. It will also narrate all the words, text and number that is typed on the keyboard so the blind people can enter the right thing. It will also work with the Chrome browsers on macOS.
This is one of the best screen reader apps and the most popular among LINUX users. This software turns the info and details on the screen into Braille form and transmits it to the Braille display for the blind users to see and navigate. In addition to this, it also has some voice features and speeches that will work as an additional guide to the visually impaired people using the system.
6. Apple VoiceOver
If a user is operating Mac then they can also use the screen reader application inbuilt in macOS. You can enable it inside System Preferences > Accessibility > under Vision you will find VoiceOver Utility.
This will enable the screen reader application or tool on your Mac and it will narrate each and everything on the display to guide the blind or visually disabled. It will also read aloud the web pages and their content that is on the screen.
7. Windows Narrator
This tool is also inbuilt in almost the entire version of Windows, whether 7, 8, 10, or others like Linux.
You can activate the narrator option under the Ease Of Access menu. This will let the Windows narrate and provide audio feedback for the area where the mouse cursor is taken. It’s simple and no need of downloading any additional software on your Windows PC.
All these screen readers will let the blind and visually impaired people work on the computer. Most of these software programs are perfect for using but I will recommend going for Windows narrator and NVDA as they both are easy to use.
You can also use the screen reader feature on Android devices. For this, you can turn on TalkBack option or Voice Assistant. For iOS users, VoiceOver will work in the same way. You can easily use VoiceOver on iPhone.
If you plan to install one of these apps on your child’s phone or computer, don’t forget that you should be aware of what your child does on their device. Check this list of free parental control apps that do just that.
Do you know any other tools? Do let us know. And if you have friends who need these kinds of software then do let them know by sharing this article.