NVDA technology to help the blind read screens set to launch in the US

Mr Curran and Mr Teh met at a blind music camp and started building the screen reading technology NVDA around ten years ago.

Once they’d developed the software, the pair made it “open source” meaning developers and users from anywhere could amend or contribute to the codebase, while suggesting new features for the core team.

“Now we have around 200 people who are constantly contributing code or translations or documentation to the software as well as making it what they want it to be,” Mr Curran said.

Keeping pace with the web

The challenge with a software tool such as NVDA is that it needs to keep pace as the web evolves.

Mr Curran said the open-source community ensures that all browsers – whether it’s Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox – can support the screen reader, as well as productivity suites such as Microsoft or Adobe.

Linking the screen reader with efficient keyboard commands is also key to the technology’s success.

Mr Curran advises companies such as Google, Adobe and Microsoft on ways to design products, so they’re accessible for the visually impaired.

“It’s so much easier to build inclusively from the ground up, rather than design a new thing that works and then have a visually impaired person come along and can’t use it,” he said.

“The industry itself is getting much better, mostly because it’s much more economical to get advice on accessibility first, but they still need help along the way.”

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