JAWSLite?

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So many of you know how difficult it is to afford, load and use a full version screen reader.  Even if you overcome the financial burden, sometimes you encounter situations where it is hard to run and use the software.  What if you are on another computer?  What if the full version takes up too much memory to run?  How about when running the full version causes system conflicts and your computer locks up or freezes?  What if you are just wanting to test your website for accessibility using a Screen Reader, but don’t want to fork over thousands of dollars or reboot your computer every 40 minutes with a demo version?

I recently learned about a petition that is now circulating to submit to Freedom Scientific, the manufacturer of the Screen Reader JAWS for Windows.  It would be fantastic if FS really looked into the option laid out in this petition to make a JAWSLite.  There is definitely more tough competition out there in the Screen Reader Market, with Serotek’s System Access, and NVDA for Windows, both having versions available for a smaller price.  System Access can be run from any computer, right from the web browser, without the need to load the software onto the machine.  NVDA is open source and free, and while their support for popular applications may be limited now, there is a great potential for that piece of assistive technology.  With that in mind, take some time and have a look at the JAWSLite Petition and even sign it.  So far there aren’t a ton of signatures, but we can change that.  It may be all for nothing, and yet big things start with small actions!  If enough of us get behind this, perhaps we can help FS continue to stay competitive in a growing marketplace of screen reading options!

4 thoughts on “JAWSLite?”

  1. Why do I need Jaws Light if I can use System Access to Go or NVDA? These are both excellent alternatives. Freedom Scientific should concentrate on improving Jaws not offering a light version. I personally am not interested.

  2. Hi Jon:
    I totally understand your point, I love SA to go and most of the key strokes are the same as JFW. However, the idea here would be to have a portable version of JAWS that can keep your settings either on the web with a log in or on a thumb drive. It basically would keep people who maybe don’t want to venture out and learn a new screen reader or try different or uncomfortable things an opportunity to have their comfort zone on the go.
    I hope that makes some sense!
    Desiree

  3. Hi Soner:
    Yes, you are correct. However, you still have to have video intercept installed on whatever machine you are using. In many of my experiences, this causes issues with some antivirus programs and at times adobe applications. One other idea on this would be if in a lite JAWS, rather than having scripts for hundreds of popular computer applications, you could choose to only have them for those you want to use. Perhaps that would cause JFW to use less memory and maybe function a bit faster?

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