[WEB4LIB] Jaws Web Page readers' comments?

Phillip B. Whitford pwhitford at braswell-library.org
Tue Sep 3 14:33:35 EDT 2002

For about 6 months we have had Jaws installed on a public workstation
specifically configured for use by patrons with visual disabilities. We
also have Zoomtext, Clarity Capture, and ConnectOutloud installed on
that station. Connectoutloud is similar to Jaws. Jaws works pretty well
on properly built web pages. It reads each and everything or most pages
which means a "busy" or complex page can take a long time to get
through. Of course if a page isn't constructed with ALT tags and the
like then a lot of information isn't passed to the Jaws user.

Clarity Capture is essentially a screen capture program that allows a
collocated magnification unit to capture and save images of books,
magazines, and other printed material to a document file. The saved
files can also be emailed.

Jaws and Zoomtext don't like being on the same machine and Zoomtext has
to be installed first or it won't work properly. Connectoutloud was sold
to us as "optimized" for the web but in practice we haven't found it to
be any better, or worse, than Jaws. Most of the visually impaired folks
who use the our system are familiar with Jaws and Zoomtext from our
state's aid programs and they naturally tend to use what they know. 

I strongly encourage you to talk to your local social services office.
They can tell you what software your patrons are likely to have been
exposed to. Our local office has been very helpful. They like our
equipment and software and our effort to give the visually impaired web
and computer access. However, they have noted one of the biggest needs
for the visually disabled in our area is plain old transport.  

Which explains why our computer system is under utilized. We have a few
regulars who use the system but mostly it sits unused, except for when
the kids play on it. Unfortunately providing transportation is beyond
our means but we have just started to publicize the system and we hope
it's use will pick up. We have had requests for a similar system in our
Children's Room and we plan on putting one in there in the next month or
so. If nothing else it will keep the kids from sneaking upstairs to play
on the machine there. We will just have Jaws and Zoomtext on the kid's
machine and since the visually impaired child's parents are more likely
to provide transport we hope it will get more use.

Phillip B. Whitford
Braswell Memorial Library
727 N. Grace St
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Braswell Library.

-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib at webjunction.org [mailto:web4lib at webjunction.org]
On Behalf Of David Johnson
Sent: Tuesday, September 03, 2002 1:39 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: [WEB4LIB] Jaws Web Page readers' comments?

Hi folks

Can anyone comment upon the operations of Jaws text to speech conversion

application made for use on web pages?

I am particularly interested in hearing from library staff where this 
application is in place on a public workstation, and where patrons with 
visual disabilities actually utilize Jaws.

Any comments upon Kurzwiel, text to speech conversion (model 1000 or
would be appreciated, although I know the Kurzwiel is not for web page
only, and thus is "off topic" for this list.


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