Re: NVDA; Karen -- Your Alternative Solution

Lisle, Ted (CHFS DMS)

The installed voice is pretty bad, but it'll take any SAPI5 voice.
Incidentally, Narrator is what it is, but the default voice in 7 is a
vast improvement over Sam.


-----Original Message-----
From: jfw-bounces@...
[mailto:jfw-bounces@...] On Behalf Of Claudia
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 5:10 PM
To: The Jaws for Windows support list.
Subject: Re: NVDA; Karen -- Your Alternative Solution

One more question.

Are the voices or voice for NVDA horrible like the one for Narrator?


On 4/18/2012 3:27 PM, Adrian Spratt wrote:
Thank you for this post. It's what many of us were hoping to get from
a detailed description of the strengths and weaknesses of NVDA.
Between your comments and Gary's occasional references to using it
when JAWS fails, I am now tempted to add it to my system.

For clarification, I've added NVDA to the subject line. I hope it
won't incur the wrath of the purists.

-----Original Message-----
From: jfw-bounces@...
On Behalf Of Christopher Bartlett
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 4:16 PM
To: 'The Jaws for Windows support list.'
Subject: RE: Karen -- Your Alternative Solution

I'm not Karen, but I am someone who uses NVDA as my primary screen
reader, with JFW held in reserve for those situations where NVDA won't
work, or at least I haven't figured out how to make it work. I'm not
going to take the apparent position of Karen, as I use both and
couldn't really advise a serious or business user to kick the shark
habit. In fact, this conversation stuck out at me and I don't know
the history, but for what it's worth, here are my experiences.

NVDA is a fabulous everyday screen reader. It's agile, lightweight
and more responsive in most environments than JFW in my experience.
When it works, it works quite nicely, and it works most of the time.
Its command structure is much simpler than JFW or WE which both makes
it easier to learn, and indicates some of its limitations.

I love the object navigation mode that works, as I understand it,
rather like VoiceOver on the mac, in that you can interact with system
and application objects both as objects and with the text in each
object. This allows me for instance to move focus very easily to the
html-like elements in the Carbonite user interface, which I haven't
been able to get to in JFW, then set focus there and interact with the
controls smoothly. This mode gives access in some situations where
JFW can't find a hook to interact with.

NVDA's portable mode is even easier to use than JFW's since there is
no video intercept to install. It's rather trivial to put it on a
thumb drive and have instant access to any computer you plug it into.
This promise is almost, but not quite realized by JFW. I can see this
being a major feature in a computing center environment.

Alas, not all is love and kisses in the NVDA world if you are used to
There are some things missing. There is no skimming or summarizing
There is no way to set up row and column headers in Excel to read
automatically. There is to my knowledge almost no access to Microsoft
Access, and I believe PowerPoint access is much better in JFW.
Spell-checking is frustratingly hard in NVDA, in fact you don't really
get access to the dialog in any useful way. Outlook works well
enough, except the suggestions for addresses don't read automatically
and calendar access is a lot more primitive.

I miss being able to advance during a say all by hitting a key to move
to the next say-all element. This is a small thing, but makes pages
like Facebook less useful. I also miss JFW's ability to filter out
repeated content on successive web pages.

In short, while JFW has its quirks and in fact as I said for everyday
use I use NVDA, which among other things I find easier for programming
with, I would not recommend flying solo with it in a business
environment. I certainly can't do everything I need to do yet. I say
yet, because it looks like there is a growing body of plug-ins for
NVDA (which function something like JFW scripts) which are starting to
add functionality that didn't exist before. It may be that the user
community will yet provide missing functionality and make it an even
more robust competitor. FS and GW Micro should be careful as it is
already capable of moving many users away from the upgrades. I
haven't bought my 13 upgrade at this point. I fancy I will
eventually, but for now a combination of financial circumstances and a
workable alternative have made this less urgent.

And hey, memory is cheap and hard drive goes forever, so have both if
you don't mind the cognitive task switching that goes on when you
change readers.

Christopher Bartlett

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