Saturday, November 05, 2005

Window Bridge Screen Reader

This is another experiment in pileup query.
I used the advanced search to take the first results page and the simple search to take the pileups.

Original Query was: Window Bridge Screen Reader.

Suggested words were: windows ; readers ; read ; access ; applications ; feature ; users ; jaws ; speech ; features ; command;

I slightly edited the results and erased duplicates.

Conclusions: Pileups were more informative than first query results.

This is the first results page:
Window Bridge offers speech output for both DOS and Windows in a single package. The advantage is that Window Bridge users do not need to buy a separate DOS screen reader if they want to run DOS applications within Windows. The disadvantage is that users already familiar with a particular DOS screen reader will not be able to use it.
But, ideally a screen reader should have a feature that searches for a word, graphic, control, or other item and that doesn't cause the item searched for to disappear. Different screen readers handle the find feature differently. For example, if you have pulled down a menu and want to search for a word, the JAWS or Window-Eyes find feature causes a dialog box to appear, which snaps the menu shut. OutSPOKEN, however, displays nothing on the screen during the find operation, which may be annoying for sighted users, but is fabulous for blind people trying to find things. (The command to find an item using Window-Eyes is Control-Shift-F, using JAWS for Windows is Control-Insert-F, using Window Bridge is Shift-Control-F, and using outSPOKEN is keypad 1.)
You install the software on your home computer and prepare to start transferring files. But, all you hear when you read the screen is "graphic, graphic 11800, graphic." Your screen reader probably has a tool that can help—the feature to automatically label mystery graphics. You hit the hotkey for the feature (Insert-G in Window-Eyes; Shift-Control-L, followed by Alt-A in Window Bridge, and Control-Insert-G in JAWS for Windows), wait, and then save the results so that they are there the next time you run the program. Results will vary from program to program, but this feature can save you the trouble of guessing what each graphic is by clicking on it with your screen reader's mouse keys and listening to what happens.
But, when you tab to the list of players for the team you chose, it won't tell you the players' names. If your screen reader has a feature to reclass Windows controls, you can probably fix the problem. Tab to the problem control and press the appropriate keystroke—Insert-7 in JAWS for Windows, Shift-Control-O in Window Bridge, and Insert-R.
A Generic Way to Read the Status Line Whether you are working in a word processor, an e-mail program, or Windows Explorer, you can find helpful information on that application's status line. You will find it instantly if your screen reader has a hotkey to read the status line. In Window-Eyes press Control-Insert-S; in JAWS for Windows press Insert-PageDown. If you use Window Bridge, press Caps-Delete.
OSW supports braille displays and provides Grade 2 braille. Window Bridge 2000 is a completely rewritten, Windows-based application. Previous versions included both a Windows and a DOS screen reader. Window Bridge supports a variety of braille displays, and is the choice of many braille-only users.
Tools and features are also provided that allow users to create and save custom configurations and to fine-tune those provided. Window Bridge reformats Web pages and provides a links list. Many Window Bridge features can be accessed with hot keys, which save time for experienced users but can contribute to key conflicts for beginners. Web-Related Problems If the Web was completely accessible screen readers would have a much simpler job to perform. Since screen reader users must overcome access problems, a good screen reader must include features to make the user's task easier.
And these are the pileups:
ZoomText for Windows is a screen magnifier (2X to 16X). IBM PC Dedicated to Window Bridge: 32-bit Windows screen reader for the blind, supporting both synthetic speech and/or Braille output. Provides access to the Internet as well as thousands of Windows application.
Window-Eyes Speech System: Window-Eyes, when used with a speech synthesizer, provides speech output with Windows application. Window-Eyes gives people total control over what they hear, when they hear it, and how they hear it.
Window Bridge: It is a Windows screen reader for the blind, supporting both synthetic speech and/or Braille output. It also provides unparalleled access to the Internet, as well as thousands of Windows applications.
The problem lies in the need to use keyboard commands in a "point and click" environment and the complexity of the Windows programs. Add a sophisticated screen reading package, and the result is an exponential increase in the difficulty of acquiring competent computer skills. A blind computer user has a great deal to learn both in terms of keystrokes and reading and input strategies to use Windows software effectively. These keystrokes and strategies differ widely among screen readers. Training materials to facilitate this learning process have not been readily or universally available, nor have they addressed the specific combination of screen reader application and Windows program that the user must learn. The Solution Project ASSIST with Windows, sponsored by the Iowa Department for the Blind and funded by a grant from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services - Department of Education, is addressing this need for appropriate training materials. The purpose of Project ASSIST is to create and disseminate tutorials, configuration files, and documentation for using Windows-based programs with a screen reader application. Each tutorial focuses on a different combination of Windows program and screen reader application. These materials enable individuals who are blind to choose from among several reputable screen reading packages and leading Windows programs, and then learn to use the software they choose. The materials cover Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, major screen reading applications including JAWS for Windows, Window Bridge, WinVision, Window-Eyes, and more, and the following Windows programs: Microsoft Office Suite, Corel WordPerfect, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Netscape Navigator.
Used navigation mode, got lost, found an edit field, but could not get the cursor there. 13. In Netscape, read a single column in a multiple column Web page. WinVision, Window-Eyes, Screen Reader/2, Window Bridge, and Screen Power for Windows failed to accomplish this task. outSPOKEN for Windows accomplished the task. They have a "read within column" feature.
(Lowney remains part of the Accessibility and Disabilities Group.) Access to Windows for computer users who are blind or visually impaired was a long time in coming. The first screen reader for a Windows operating system was not released until 1992 when Syntha-Voice Computers released SlimWare Window Bridge for Windows 3.1.
It was possible to read text in Microsoft Word 97. However, underlined text was invisible to screen readers, and menus and dialog boxes were silent. The unanimous outcry from blind users, organizations of and for the blind, and screen reader manufacturers culminated in threats from the state of Massachusetts to not buy Microsoft Office if the program did not improve dramatically. Microsoft enhanced its accessibility team and developed Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA), programming enhancements designed to improve access to applications. For a user to benefit from MSAA, it is necessary for it to be incorporated into both the application and the screen reader. Screen reader manufacturers that incorporated MSAA were able to begin to function in Office 97 menus and some dialog boxes. However, since Microsoft had not completely implemented MSAA in Office 97, many controls, including most of those used in Access 97, still did not work with speech. The developers of Office 2000 promised to expand the use of MSAA into Access 2000 and into many of Office’s nooks and crannies where screen reader users previously could not go without tricks that only the experts among us know. Screen readers that use MSAA as their major way of obtaining information from Office applications include: Window-Eyes from GW Micro, Window Bridge from Syntha-Voice, and WinVision from Arctic Technologies.
Slimware Window Bridge is a screen reader program designed to provide access to both DOS and Windows for the Braille or synthetic speech user. The program automatically provides information within Windows - including window titles, menu selections, prompts, error messages, and command buttons - without requiring customized configuration files or templates.
Assist with Windows -- Free on-line tutorials using Windows applications with a screen reader. They have on line tutorials for JAWS for Windows, Window Bridge and WinVision.
Who was there Seven GUI screen reader developers were represented at the seminar. These included: 1) Artic Technologies's WinVision 2 v2.16; 2) Berkeley Access's outSPOKEN for Windows v1.2 (vb26 public beta) 3) GW Micro's Window-Eyes v1.03; 4) Henter-Joyce's JAWS for Windows (JFW) v1.2; 5) IBM's Screen Reader/2 (SR/2) v2.0; 6) Syntha-Voice's SLIMWARE Window Bridge v2.21; 7) TeleSensory's ScreenPower for Windows (SPW) v1.47B. Nearly all GUI screen readers were represented by their respective owners/developers/staff except for WinVision which was represented by one of their California authorized dealers, Paul Hendrikson. Window Bridge also opted to have a student user demonstrate the latter portion of the seminar in lieu of Niel Cooper who demonstrated the first segment.
Window Bridge (perhaps the longest serving Windows screen reader) has gradually had features added to it and it now has a full range of commands to assist the user get the most from the Windows screen. The program supports a range of hardware and software speech synthesizers, including Apollo and DECtalk.

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