NVDA (Non-visual Desktop Access) is a free software that enables the visually impaired people to control the Windows desktop easily through the use of text-to-speech engine (TTS). It follows the mouse cursor and reads out the text where the cursor is placed currently using a computerized voice. This way the people having difficulty reading the contents of the screen can also know what is being displayed on the screen and use the computer properly. Like any other software, the NVDA also has some learning curve and might take some time to practically use it for everyday computer activities. According to the NVDA website, the aim of this free software is to help the visually impaired people get access to the educational and job opportunities. It can also connect them to the modern technologies like the social networking sites, online banking and news websites.
NVDA works only with Windows operating system, so you will need a PC running Microsoft Windows. But the software itself is portable and does not required installation therefore if you copy it to a USB stick, then you can take it with anywhere and start using on any PC (if permitted to do so). NVDA is very flexible – it offers you to run the software without installing, install it on your PC or create a portable copy somewhere on your PC or on a USB memory stick.
Once it starts running, there is basically no configuration needed for you to do. You can move around your cursor and it will start reading out the text at which the cursor points. The only way to stop it is to close down the NVDA software. In order to close down the software, you have to right-click on the NVDA icon in the notification area and choose to exit the application. From the same menu, you can choose to change various preferences for the NVDA software like the voice settings, braille settings, synthesizer settings, the keyboard or the mouse settings and more.
Conclusion: NVDA is free screen reader for the visually impaired and can help them work with the regular Windows based computers without the need to use any expensive software or hardware.
You can download NVDA (Non-visual Desktop Access) from http://www.nvaccess.org/.