Empowering lives through non-visual access to technology

For blind people to use a computer, they need a screen reader which reads the text on the screen using a synthetic voice or a braille display. However, in many cases, screen reading software costs more than the computer itself. In the past, this has left computers inaccessible to millions of blind people around the world. This is a critical problem, because without computers, access to education and employment is severely limited, not to mention everyday tasks such as online banking, shopping and accessing the news.

In April 2006, two blind programmers, Michael Curran and James Teh, began to develop a free screen reader called NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) for use with computers running Microsoft Windows. They then founded the not-for-profit organisation NV Access to support the development of the NVDA screen reader.

NVDA has been translated by volunteers into more than 50 languages, and used by people in more than 120 countries. It has also won multiple awards.

NVDA allows blind and vision impaired people to access and interact with the Windows operating system and many third party applications. Major highlights include:

  • Support for popular applications including web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, email clients, internet chat software, music players, and office programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel
  • A built-in speech synthesizer supporting over 50 languages, plus support for many other 3rd party voices
  • Reporting of textual formatting where available such as font name and size, style and spelling errors
  • Support for many refreshable braille displays, including input of Braille via braille displays that have a braille keyboard
  • Ability to run entirely from a USB flash drive or other portable media without the need for installation
  • Easy to use talking installer
  • Support for modern Windows Operating Systems including both 32 and 64 bit variants
  • Ability to run at Windows logon and other secure screens
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Technologies

  • python
  • c++
  • ui automation
  • iaccessible2
  • win32 api

Topics

  • Other
  • accessibility
  • blindness
  • screen reader
  • braille
  • text to speech
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NV Access 2019 Projects

  • Bill Dengler
    Improving the console experience with UI Automation
    NVDA provides support for the Windows command console used by Command Prompt, PowerShell, and the Windows Subsystem for Linux. It allows users to...
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2019