moderated Re: Curiosity: What makes people choose Jaws over NVDA?
Kestrel Verlager <kestrell@...>
I lost the last of my functional vision in the mid-1990s and, when I went totoggle quoted messageShow quoted text
an indie computer support team to put a computer with speech together, I
chose Jaws and the DecTalk soundcard (these were about the size of today's
laptops, btw). There weren't that many options at the time, and Jaws and
DecTalk were possibly the most well-known combination. (Anyone remember Huge
Harry and Whispering Wendy?)
Over the years, I tried a number of the open source projects that promised
alternatives to Jaws, but the ease of installation, range of functionality,
and sound quality were never there, and all of them expected the user to
have some serious programming chops.
I think NVDA only became comfortably accessible to the non-programming
general user relatively recently, and a lot of users still aren't
comfortable with the default speech synthesizers. The sound of a program is
to a visually impaired person what the visual aesthetic is to a sighted
person: it conveys a sense of how professional and how fully developed the
product is. I think this is where NVDA has failed to impress a lot of users.
So I have nearly thirty years experience with Jaws, and I'm faster and more
expert on it. I also find that there is a lot more learning resources for
it. NVDA users seem to have a lot more of the open source "if you really
want to learn it, you'll figure it out yourself" mentality. I paid for one
of their training ebooks, but it would be nice if there was a regular
training webinar or podcast available. I'm not talking about learning the
basics, but keeping up with the constant new developments in the
applications we use for work and for accomplishing everyday tasks. FS has
lots of webinars on using Jaws with Google Workspace and OCR, and I don't
see NVDA offering anything like that, and those are things that keep our job
From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> On Behalf Of Mike Pietruk
Sent: Saturday, June 11, 2022 9:24 AM
Subject: Re: Curiosity: What makes people choose Jaws over NVDA?
JAWS chose me, so to speak, rather than I initially choosing it.
When I entered into the world of Windows in the mid to late 1990s, I chose
Window-Eyes over Jaws as I was terrified by JFW's user key system (I just
didn't understand it, nothing more, and GWMicro just seemed to allow
I was a very happy and content WE user until the very end; and accepted the
offer of a Free JAWS so I took the offer.
I continued as the yearly SMA cost was nominal; and t he program seemed to
do what it's supposed to do.
It works fine; has great user support through lists such as this, and people
like Brian Hartgen with his tutorials and his script packages, especially
Moreover, Vispero offers a lot of resources via their website; and JAWS
supports my preferred speech synthesizer, currently TripleTalk USB.
I have nothing against NVDA and admire how much free time dedicated
developers give to it.
But, with something as vital as a screen reader, I am more comfortable with
something that is backed by a company rather than a group of volunteers.
Paying the SMA (I do it on a 2-year basis) is my way trying to insure that
they can continue to do what they're doing.
Most certainly, if the need ever arose that JFW didn't meet, a certain need
of mine, I would certainly add NVDA to my screen reader toolbox.
Right now, JAWS, Narrator, and, yes, even the Old Window-Eyes final release
meet my everyday needs as a retired person.
I used to love learning new programs and operating systems as they came,
but, in time, mastering the evolving world of technology is like chasing the
proverbial rabbit that is never caught. You get close to catching; but then
the rabbit springs forward again in amazing speed.
I marvel how the programmers and developers of screen readers have been able
to keep up as given the constant changes they face.