Being visually impaired doesn’t mean staying out of the Internet loop. Many software programs were designed with the visually impaired in mind. These programs help visually impaired people of all ages connect, work with, and function online. When searching for a product of this type, look for a program that comes with rave reviews and plenty of customizable features.
Connect Outloud -- $200+
Connect Outloud was developed for people who have some Internet experience. This program uses the ever-popular JAWS application as a way to connect users to the Internet. Through JAWS, users can send emails, compose emails, surf the Internet, and create documents through a word processing program. Connect Outloud is based upon the Braille system, though special computer adaptations have been made. While the price tag of this program is a bit high, Connect Outloud has gained positive reviews across the board.
Home Page Reader -- $100+
Home Page Reader is the best program available for new Internet users. This reader allows users to connect to the Internet, send emails, compose emails, and surf the web with ease. A voice recognition program makes finding Internet queries simple. Home Page Reader also comes with a simple and clean interface. Further, this program is easy to download and install. With little effort, users will have Home Page Reader up and running quickly.
LowBrowse – Free
LowBrowse is a relatively new program, but don’t let its shiny new exterior fool you. This program is unlike any other reader you’ve ever come across. LowBrowse allows users to view web pages in regular form – that is, untouched. Most readers change the look of a website, so that users can read snippets of the site with ease. LowBrowse allows you to read site text altered (or not) as users see fit. This innovative program plays well with Mozilla Firefox, MacOS, Linux, and Windows. If you’re looking to test out a new reader, give LowBrowse a try. It’s free, full of great features, and it provides a way to see the Internet in a new light.
What to Look for In a Reader
Software for the visually impaired usually has good intentions. Many of these programs set out to help people who need a bit of visual assistance. The problem is that too many of these programs include a laundry list of set up items and installation methods. Thus, user-ease is the number one thing to look for in any kind of reader. Make sure that a reader you choose is simple to set-up, configure, and to work with. Otherwise, you could wind up with a program that looks good, but lacks in substance.