An introduction to screen readers

A screen reader allows people who are blind or visually impaired to use their computer. This factsheet provides an overview of the main screen readers available for people to use with their computer or mobile devices. It has been written to help people determine which is the most appropriate for their needs and includes summary information about the screen readers built into the operating system alongside other free or commercial products.

As with all assistive technologies no one size fits all, and people may find it useful to try more than one before settling on their preferred tool. In the UK there are almost 2 million people living with sight loss. According to the RNIB only one in four people registered blind or partially sighted is in employment, and this number is falling.

As such, the promotion of awareness about screen reader technology plays a vital part in the continued welfare, education, and employability of people with visual impairments.


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