Voiceover, the best screenreader for visually impaired

These days, technology is so advanced that, finally, we visually impaired are on equal footing with all others when it comes to computers and phones, thanks to the screenreader technology. Screen readers are software programs that allow blind or visually impaired people to read the text that is displayed on the computer or phone screen with a speech synthesizer or braille display. A screen reader is the interface between the computer’s or phone’s operating system, its applications, and the user. There are many phones and computers out there, and many screen readers to choose from. However, when it is time for a blind person to choose a new computer or phone, which do they choose? Well, for many people, what makes the final decision is that this phone has this, and this one does not, or that this computer has this, and this one does not. Sure, most people make the final decision based on what the phone or computer has, compared to others. For instance, many people choose Android because of the specks or because the software is more customizable. Many people choose Apple for its simple software across both Mac and iOS platforms. Many people choose Windows because its operative system is more open, not so restricted like the Macs operative system. However, we visually impaired do not care that one device’s software is more customizable, or that one has better specks, or that one has a simple software, or that the software is more open, and that one is more restrictive. Sure, that can partially influence our final decision but at the end of the day, what makes the decision for us, is which is more accessible. Android, Windows, and Apple have screenreader technology for their devices. For Android phones, there is Google Talkback. For Windows, well, there are several options, but the most prominent and most advanced is Jaws. For Apple the screenreader is called Voiceover, which is universal across all of Apple’s devices. However, among so many options, which to choose? Voiceover is the best screenreader because it does not have any additional cost, it is universal for all Apple devices, and you do not have to rely on others to help you install the program, giving you more independence. 

 The screenreader used by Android phones is Google Talkback, or Talkback for short. Talkback is very similar to Voiceover, since it has almost the same gestures, and it is operated quite in the same way as Voiceover. However, the problem with Talkback is that it can not be used on the go like Voiceover. I mean, if you want to enable Voiceover on a new iPhone, just connect it to a Mac, and configure the accessibility from there. However, in Android if you want to use the phone with Talkback, you have to ask a sighted person to download Talkback from the playstore, and set it up. Also, if your blind, the Android phones have no way to totally turn off the screen. Sure, you can set the brightness to zero, but that doesn’t turn off the display, and if you have no sight, why would you need to see the screen? It only wastes more battery (Androidcentral.com). 
 Windows has many options for screen readers, such as NVDA, and others, but the one used the most is Jaws. However, again, you have to ask a sighted person to install the demo version, and once installed, it can only be used for forty minutes, and then you have to restart the computer to use it again( https://www.bcab.org.uk/content/jaws-screen-reader). ( This forces you to buy the full version, which costs 1,295 dollars( http://sales.freedomscientific.com/Category/11_1/JAWS%C2%AE_Screen_Reader.aspx). Apart from that high cost, you have to buy a maintenance fee, if you don’t want to pay for the upgrades, which costs from 150 to 200 dollars. The maintenance fee costs 342 dollars, and as if this wasn’t enough, the fee only lasts for the next two upgrades, and then you have to buy it again, or pay for the upgrades(www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/products.php?product=Jaws-Professional-Software-Maintenance-Agreement contents). 
 Voiceover or VO for short is the screenreader use for all Apple devices, both IOS and Mac. In both cases, enabling VO on both an IOS device or Mac is easily done, and a blind person needs no help. For instance, from a Mac, nothing has to be done. Just press command f5, and VO will turn on. Also, since VO is universal for both Mac and IOS devices, if the Mac has a built-in trackpad, which most do, except for the iMac or Mac mini, and if you already are familiar with the IOS gestures; learning how to use a Mac with the trackpad is easily enough, since most of the gestures are the same, apart from some miner differences, but they are easily adjusted to. Also, if you don’t need to see the screen, the Mac also has a screen curtain, to turn the display black, the same as in IOS devices. Also, in IOS devices, for a blind person, typing using the normal on screen keyboard is a pain, and extremely slow. However, if you know braille, an option can be set so that instead of having to use the normal keyboard, you can type in braille. Personally, I find this much faster, but that is because I have been typing in braille for my whole life(macworld.com). 
 Voiceover is the best screenreader because it doesn’t have any additional cost, it is universal for all Apple’s devices, and you do not have to rely on others to help you install the program, giving you more independence. 

For most blind people, being completely independent is a big issue, myself included. I’m not saying that asking for help is bad, but both Android and Windows don’t allow a blind person to use the device on their own, at least not until the screenreader has been installed. Most blind people use Apple devices instead of Android or Windows, though a small percentage still do. Why? Most blind people use Apple devices because of the simplicity and familiarity between both Mac and IOS, making it easy to learn from scratch, if you are familiar with one of the two. Voiceover is the best screenreader for blind people, because it is more simple, and it is easy to use, and it is universal across all Apple devices, so that one can always count that no matter what device is being used, everything will be the same, it just needs setting up. 

  Some people say that Jaws is better, since it has been around for much more time than Voiceover. While this is true, older does not necessarily mean better. I mean, Voiceover has been around since about 2007, and Jaws has been around for about two decades, however, Voiceover is much more advanced, and easier to use, why do you think that most people in the blind community use Apple devices instead of Windows or Android? They are more advanced, in accessibility, that is why. Also, some people can’t afford a Mac computer, so they buy Windows, which is not as expensive, and while this is true, a Apple computer costs from 1,500 to 2000 dollars, and look at the price of Jaws, 1,295 dollars, not to mention the additional cost of the upgrades and the maintenance fee,which if you do the math, which costs 342 dollars plus the price of the upgrades or the maintenance fee again, after it expires. You would end up expending about 2000 dollars or more, I mean, just buy a Mac, and do not worry about those problems. I mean, just be patient, save a few more dollars, and you can get a Mac. 

   These days, technology is so advanced that, finally, we visually impaired are on equal footing with all others when it comes to computers and phones, thanks to the screenreader technology. Screen readers are software programs that allow blind or visually impaired people to read the text that is displayed on the computer or phone screen with a speech synthesizer or braille display. A screen reader is the interface between the computer’s or phone’s operating system, its applications, and the user. There are many phones and computers out there, and many screen readers to choose from. However, when it is time for a blind person to choose a new computer or phone, which do they choose? Well, for many people, what makes the final decision is that this phone has this, and this one does not, or that this computer has this, and this one does not. Sure, most people make the final decision based on what the phone or computer has, compared to others. For instance, many people choose Android because of the specks or because the software is more customizable. Many people choose Apple for its simple software across both Mac and iOS platforms. Many people choose Windows because its operative system is more open, not so restricted like the Macs operative system. However, we visually impaired do not care that one device’s software is more customizable, or that one has better specks, or that one has a simple software, or that the software is more open, and that one is more restrictive. Sure, that can partially influence our final decision but at the end of the day, what makes the decision for us, is which is more accessible. Android, Windows, and Apple have screenreader technology for their devices. For Android phones, there is Google Talkback. For Windows, well, there are several options, but the most prominent and most advanced is Jaws. For Apple the screenreader is called Voiceover, which is universal across all of Apple’s devices. However, among so many options, which to choose? Voiceover is the best screenreader because it does not have any additional cost, it is universal for all Apple devices, and you do not have to rely on others to help you install the program, giving you more independence. 
 The screenreader used by Android phones is Google Talkback, or Talkback for short. Talkback is very similar to Voiceover, since it has almost the same gestures, and it is operated quite in the same way as Voiceover. However, the problem with Talkback is that it can not be used on the go like Voiceover. I mean, if you want to enable Voiceover on a new iPhone, just connect it to a Mac, and configure the accessibility from there. However, in Android if you want to use the phone with Talkback, you have to ask a sighted person to download Talkback from the playstore, and set it up. Also, if your blind, the Android phones have no way to totally turn off the screen. Sure, you can set the brightness to zero, but that doesn’t turn off the display, and if you have no sight, why would you need to see the screen? It only wastes more battery (Androidcentral.com). 
 Windows has many options for screen readers, such as NVDA, and others, but the one used the most is Jaws. However, again, you have to ask a sighted person to install the demo version, and once installed, it can only be used for forty minutes, and then you have to restart the computer to use it again( https://www.bcab.org.uk/content/jaws-screen-reader). ( This forces you to buy the full version, which costs 1,295 dollars( http://sales.freedomscientific.com/Category/11_1/JAWS%C2%AE_Screen_Reader.aspx). Apart from that high cost, you have to buy a maintenance fee, if you don’t want to pay for the upgrades, which costs from 150 to 200 dollars. The maintenance fee costs 342 dollars, and as if this wasn’t enough, the fee only lasts for the next two upgrades, and then you have to buy it again, or pay for the upgrades(www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/products.php?product=Jaws-Professional-Software-Maintenance-Agreement contents). 
 Voiceover or VO for short is the screenreader use for all Apple devices, both IOS and Mac. In both cases, enabling VO on both an IOS device or Mac is easily done, and a blind person needs no help. For instance, from a Mac, nothing has to be done. Just press command f5, and VO will turn on. Also, since VO is universal for both Mac and IOS devices, if the Mac has a built-in trackpad, which most do, except for the iMac or Mac mini, and if you already are familiar with the IOS gestures; learning how to use a Mac with the trackpad is easily enough, since most of the gestures are the same, apart from some miner differences, but they are easily adjusted to. Also, if you don’t need to see the screen, the Mac also has a screen curtain, to turn the display black, the same as in IOS devices. Also, in IOS devices, for a blind person, typing using the normal on screen keyboard is a pain, and extremely slow. However, if you know braille, an option can be set so that instead of having to use the normal keyboard, you can type in braille. Personally, I find this much faster, but that is because I have been typing in braille for my whole life(macworld.com). 
 Voiceover is the best screenreader because it doesn’t have any additional cost, it is universal for all Apple’s devices, and you do not have to rely on others to help you install the program, giving you more independence. 

For most blind people, being completely independent is a big issue, myself included. I’m not saying that asking for help is bad, but both Android and Windows don’t allow a blind person to use the device on their own, at least not until the screenreader has been installed. Most blind people use Apple devices instead of Android or Windows, though a small percentage still do. Why? Most blind people use Apple devices because of the simplicity and familiarity between both Mac and IOS, making it easy to learn from scratch, if you are familiar with one of the two. Voiceover is the best screenreader for blind people, because it is more simple, and it is easy to use, and it is universal across all Apple devices, so that one can always count that no matter what device is being used, everything will be the same, it just needs setting up. 

  Some people say that Jaws is better, since it has been around for much more time than Voiceover. While this is true, older does not necessarily mean better. I mean, Voiceover has been around since about 2007, and Jaws has been around for about two decades, however, Voiceover is much more advanced, and easier to use, why do you think that most people in the blind community use Apple devices instead of Windows or Android? They are more advanced, in accessibility, that is why. Also, some people can’t afford a Mac computer, so they buy Windows, which is not as expensive, and while this is true, a Apple computer costs from 1,500 to 2000 dollars, and look at the price of Jaws, 1,295 dollars, not to mention the additional cost of the upgrades and the maintenance fee,which if you do the math, which costs 342 dollars plus the price of the upgrades or the maintenance fee again, after it expires. You would end up expending about 2000 dollars or more, I mean, just buy a Mac, and do not worry about those problems. I mean, just be patient, save a few more dollars, and you can get a Mac. 

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