At W4A today there was a demo given of WebAnywhere which is a free screen reader that can be accessed from any PC anywhere.
WebAnywhere is a web-based screen reader. It requires no special software to be installed on the client machine and, therefore, enables blind people to access the web from any computer they happen to have access to that has a sound card.
All you need to do is switch a PC on, plug in your headphones, execute a couple of keyboard commands so that you open up the WebAnywhere home page, switch it on and away you go. What sets WebAnywhere apart from other text-to-speech software such as BrowseAloud is that it can be used on any website rather than only sites where that software is installed.
This is fantastic on so many levels:
- Enables people who can’t afford costly screen readers to access the web
- Enables people with slight sight problems who don’t yet use a screen reader but may want audio support to have it
- You can use it on other PC’s and laptops if you’re traveling or unable to access your own
- Enables people with reading problems to get reading and audio support
- Is an additional tool in the web developers toolbox when testing websites for accessibility
The software is also open source which is a huge bonus.
Visit their site to see WebAnywhere being demo’ed.