Blind/vision impaired Digital Technology & Online Media news

Window-Eyes screen reader made free to Office users

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The market for screen readers, software which converts text on computer screens to synthetic voice, is becoming more competitive and people who are blind are beginning to see huge benefits. Last week, GW Micro announced it would make its Window-Eyes screen reader free to users of Microsoft Office.

The announcementstates that Window-Eyes will be available globally to anyone using Microsoft Office 2010 or later, saving users from paying $1,022. GW Micro states that the decision was a result of an increasingly critical need for people who are blind or vision impaired to have reduced barriers to technology access.


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Test of Android 4.4 KitKat on the Moto G smartphone

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We’re entering an era where cost doesn’t mean we have to compromise on accessibility. Last year, Motorola announced its $US179 Moto G smartphone. Here, Dr Scott Hollier, who is legally blind, road tests the device and Android’s latest operating system, KitKat.

As we reported in November, the Moto G is arguably the world’s cheapest accessible phone. And while the operating system that runs on it, Google Android, is not quite as good as Apple iOS, there are simple tricks you can use to ensure lower-cost Android phones and tablets suit your needs.


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Accessibility highlights from the Consumer Electronics Show

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The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held last week in Las Vegas, revealing a number of interesting new products that are likely to turn up in our stores in the months to come. Here are some of the main themes this year and their accessibility implications.

Interactive home appliances

With Panasonic introducing its accessible talking TV last year, LG is aiming to go one better, this year introducing a range of interactive home appliances.

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Vimeo enhances accessibility

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The video sharing website Vimeo has introduced several new features, including support for closed captions and foreign language subtitles on its video player.

Until now, YouTube was the only social video sharing service which allowed videos to be made accessible to Deaf and hearing impaired viewers. As reported by the Drum, with this added function, Vimeo will be more competitive and viewers will have access to a larger amount of content.


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New app brings enhanced accessibility to Perth bus network

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A new app for Android smartphones has been released to help Perth residents who are blind or vision impaired get around on buses.

Stop Announcer (Perth) provides audio information for buses and other public transport around Perth, Western Australia. Users select their route number and stop, and the app counts down the number of stops and alerts the user when their stop is approaching. The app is designed specifically for people who are blind or have low vision, so it is completely screen reader accessible with a high contrast visual design.

Developer Voon-Li Chung explained the inspiration for Stop Announcer.

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