About 95% of the web is inaccessible for persons with visual impairment. But, this does not necessarily mean that persons with visual impairment cannot walk hand in hand with the ever-growing digital world. Assistive software, called screen readers, can be installed on any computer. These software pieces make it easier for persons with visual impairment to use the computer and browse the Internet on their own.
Screen readers are the software that either read the texts displayed on the computer or display them on an attached braille display.
Here we are giving you the list of most popular screen readers. But, before installing any one of them, make sure the software is compatible with your OS and braille screen (if you use one). It would also be good if you check command structure and keystrokes of the software beforehand to make sure you can easily learn them. Some of the given screen readers are paid software, while the others are free. If you feel the need to upgrade to a paid version of a screen reader, do it happily because this will be the best investment — an investment for self-dependency.
Most Popular Screen Reader Software (Both Free and Paid)
This is one of the most popular screen readers all over the world. It is compatible with all versions of Windows OS since Windows Vista. JAWS helps you surf the internet, read out any text on the computer screen including e-books, word-processor. To run JAWS on your computer you need 1.5GHz processor speed and 4 GB RAM. It is a pretty common computer configuration these days. So no worries!
This software is the most popular among the free screen readers. For the first time users, this can be the best option to get familiarized with the screen readers. To run this software smoothly, you need 1.0 GHz processor speed, 256 MB RAM, and 90 MB storage space. This free software supports 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions since Windows XP.
This is the best screen readers for Mac users due to its deep, OS-level integration that has been specifically designed for Mac OS X. If you are a Mac or iPhone user, this is the ultimate screen reader for you. In addition to the normal functions of screen readers, VoiceOver has been mapped to the touchpad and gestures — making it a smart screen reader.
Linux has recently gained a good popularity. If you use Linux as your OS, Orca is the best screen reader for you. Obviously, there are a few more screen readers for Linux but Orca is the most popular one. Orca has also been included in the Ubuntu installation CD to allow the blind and persons with visual impairments to get audible interaction during the installation process just after a few keystrokes.
This paid screen reader is popular among individuals as well as organizations due to its high-quality features. Before buying this software, make sure you have a processor equal to or faster than 1.5 GHz, 2 GB RAM and a storage space of 5 GB. Unlike most of the other screen readers, Dolphin Screen Reader provides you with a natural-sounding text-to-speech voice. And, the software is packed with all the features one can expect from a top-quality screen reader.
This is WeCapable’s handpicked list of best screen readers. If you have used a screen reader that, according to you, deserves to be on the list of best screen readers — please communicate to us through your comments. We love to hear from our readers!