Narrator is a light-duty screen reader utility included in Microsoft Windows. Narrator reads dialog boxes and window controls in a number of the more basic applications for Windows. While Microsoft recommends that the visually impaired purchase a full-function screen reader for general computer use, Narrator is a significant piece of software for a number of reasons.
Narrator is included with every copy of Microsoft Windows, providing a measure of access to Windows without the need to install additional software as long as the computer in use includes a sound card and speakers or headphones.
Narrator can assist a blind person in installing a full-function screen reader, assisting the user until his/her screen reader of choice is up and running. As well, because Narrator is a lightweight screen reader that requires minimal “hooks” into the operating system, Narrator can provide speech when a full-function screen reader might be unable to do so, such as during the process of updating hardware drivers.
LowBrowse™ is a free software tool that makes it easier for individuals with moderate or severe low vision to read webpage text on computer screens. Dr. Aries Arditi, a senior fellow at the Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute, pioneered this new technology with a grant from the National Eye Institute and serves as Principal Investigator.
Users follow a simple procedure to customize a LowBrowse™ reading frame on their monitors with their preferences for font, text size, color contrast and letter spacing. Using a mouse to place a large cursor over an ordinary webpage, users see easy-to-read reformatted text with their selected type preferences.
The free, user-friendly program, is add-on to the Mozilla Firefox browser, and is appropriate for novices as well as the tech-savvy computer user.
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