Friday, 8 August 2008

Software to talk to software to help accessibility

We've recently been working with a graduate student who's about to leave the institution to start work. He's in the midst of doing his summer research project, but is making the most of us to get to know more about assistive technology. He's visually impaired and has been using Zoomtext for quite a number of years and all through his past year at Oxford.
However, with difficulties in navigating using the keyboard, he's been wondering about Dragon Naturally Speaking (I've got to know this quite well over the past couple of weeks!!).
He was also wondering about better Web Access with a screenreader, so we're thinking about JAWS.
The question is do they work together? The simple answer is not really. You need another programme to get them to work together to the best of their ability. We've discovered one called J-Say which has been developed by T and T Consultancy. They are also responsible for J-Tunes which makes iTunes accessible - although I like Apple products for their simplicity they use a lot of graphics which make it difficult to work with assistive software.
I'm saddened by the need to have extra costs associated with assistive technology, but I'm intrigued at the thought that 2 different products designed with different users in mind could be used by one person.
We're getting a demo next week, so I'll keep you posted on how easy it is to use.

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