Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
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Motivation / Need

Screen reader is an application software for computer accessibility for people with visual impairment. It interprets what is being displayed on screen and outputs textual, graphical and spatial information in the form of text-to-speech or a Braille output device. It is vital for the visually impaired because in many cases, like news, digital media is the only means of consuming and creating information. The most popular commercial screen readers for Windows, like JAWS, are prohibitively expensive, costing around $900 for a personal user license and more for updates and support. NVDA, supported by the NV Access community, is the free and open source alternative.

Technical information

  • Written primarily in Python
  • Uses accessibility APIs IAccessible2, Microsoft UI Automation and Java Access Bridge
  • eSpeak text-to-speak engine

Development Focus

NVDA was created by two Australian programmers and has since been made available in over 40 languages. However, compatibility with Indian languages remains minimal and vast majority of the employed visually impaired populace in India work exclusively in Indian languages. The India development team addresses this issue. The project aims to develop the following.
  • Compatibility with Indian language text to speech engine.
  • Complete compatibility with all popular versions of key application software like Microsoft Office suite of applications.
  • Support for Indian languages keyboard layouts
  • Development of NVDA application modules for some popular software for banking and ERP like Finacle and Tally.

Current Status

  • Keyboard layouts for Hindi do not conform to a universal standard and there are a variety of layouts like InSript, Remington, Phonetic etc. NVDA is now compatible with all these layouts, making it easier for blind persons to type in Hindi.
  • Improving the accessibility of list structures (bullets, numbered lists) in Microsoft Office PowerPoint.
  • Improving accessibility of web links across applications.
  • Addition of sentence-level navigation of editable documents (Microsoft Office Word).
  • Fixed issues while editing PowerPoint files.

Patch Fix : Before and Now

Improving the accessibility of list structures in Microsoft Office PowerPoint, problem in deleted characters and the addition of sentence-level navigation.

Posted on : 18 March 2014

How it works ?

Follow the link: to check the video created by people who started the project (NV Access).