The first is a Jaws only product, so if you don’t use Jaws for Windows and have no interest in it, skip this part. This is actually a free script written for Jaws to work with twitter, written by Sean Randall. It’s called Jawter. Let me tell you, it makes tweeting fun! Once this script is installed, I don’t even have to open the twitter site, I can just use defined hotkeys to access tweets of those whom I follow. I can read and reply to selected tweets, as well as update my own status easily! When new tweets come in, I hear a little bell sound on my computer and no matter where I am on my computer; I can use those hotkeys to see the updates right away. Now that said, if I want to add friends or update anything on my profile, I do need to visit the site, but that is where the previously mentioned accessible version of twitter comes in. Installation of these scripts is a bit tricky, but Sean’s instructions are very clear, he takes you through it step by step. So if you’re a jaws and twitter user, give it a try!!
The next thing I just learned about, but that has been out for awhile is something called Talklets. This is a web based screen reader and will work with any site that has been Talklets enabled. Now since this is the first I have heard of this product, there must be a selected few sites which are enabled to work with it, but this is something I will be experimenting with over time. On the Talklets site, you have a whole list of keystrokes in order to read certain parts of a page and the voice is very clear. This could work for people with print disabilities without making them run a screen reader. Check it out; I know I will be doing so!
My last find for today is something anyone can use to check, read and compose e-mail. It is called Voice on the Go and is distributed by Independent Living Aids. This product will let you use your telephone to call in and look at your e-mail. Calendar and contacts, and you can speak an e-mail message and it will be turned into text via Voice to Text and sent for you. This is much better than texting, particularly when you’re driving or otherwise on the move. You can also call one of your contacts directly if you have their phone number entered into the system. There is word that eventually, they will make Voice on the Go work with social media platforms like twitter and facebook, which would be great to see! This is not a free service, you have to have a monthly subscription, but it is affordable. You can, for now anyway, get a 15 day free trial of the service before committing to a subscription, which is what I did. Of course, like any other voice activated phone service, you need a quiet area to talk in. You can call one of their numbers from any phone, mobile or land line and read and write e-mail and check your calendar. This sounds like something worthwhile to someone who maybe cannot use a computer, keyboard or mouse, but can operate a telephone. It can also be a hands free way to work with your e-mail while driving. I’m definitely going to do some further checking into this one!
Well, that’s it for now. If you have any new finds that you think would be of interest here, please feel free to comment and let us know! I am on twitter as desiree29 and will be tweeting more now with jawter! I only have one person’s perspective, which happens to be mostly dealing with products useful to the blind and visually impaired, but really would love to know about other technologies out there to help people with varying disabilities and challenges. And if you have something dealing with accessibility you want to learn more about, definitely chime in as well!!