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Let’s All Get Behind Nonvisual Desktop Access!

March 8, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

There is a new screen reader on the scene. It is called Nonvisual Desktop Access. The coolest aspect of this new screen reader is not only that it is free of charge but, also and more important, it is completely open source. This means that anyone with the requisite computer programming skill and the needed free software development tools installed on their computer can make changes to the code comprising the screen reader. I strongly feel that it is time for a bit of a shake up on the access technology scene, and NVDA could just possibly provide that for us.

At this time, NVDA relies on Active Accessibility, Common Object Model, Document Object Model and similar technologies in order to obtain and present information to blind users. It contains no off-screen model, since it is currently not able to take advantage of Windows display hooks. It is my hope that NVDA will, one day, have an OSM and many other items on a very long wish list. That can happen only if qualified individuals become actively involved in the ongoing development of this potentially revolutionary new screen access solution. In order to acquire off-screen model capabilities, for instance, NVDA needs significant code contributions from programmers experienced in the implementation of GDI and similar Windows hooking techniques. Nonvisual Desktop Access is written in the Python programming language. Please learn more about the development of NVDA and get involved in bringing this tool to greatness within the blind community!

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