Free Software Expands Options

Access to productivity tools often comes at a high cost for people with disabilities. The price of obtaining screen readers, braille displays, scanners and other devices can easily set an individual or their employer back several thousand dollars. It is no wonder, then, that off-the-shelf solutions with accessibility features have become increasingly popular.

For example, the blind and visually impaired community has embraced iOS devices both for what they do, and for the fact that an extra software purchase is not required to make them accessible.
Currently, out-of-the-box dictation software is partly accessible to blind and visually impaired PC users. Sighted PC users enjoy two dictation options. Windows Speech Recognition can be turned on with a few clicks on any Windows machine. The average user who needs dictation for convenience, fatigue, injury, or simple curiosity can simply turn it on, complete some short training exercises, and start dictating. The user who decides they require a more robust dictation solution can purchase Dragon (formally known as Dragon NaturallySpeaking) from a major retailer and gain full control of their PC with their voice.

For blind users, neither of these solutions is optimized for an out-of-the-box experience. Without echo back, a user has to use a large number of keystrokes to proofread their work. Dictation Bridge will create a free software solution to address many of these gaps. With the addition of echo back for dictation, a user can choose to employ the free speech recognition features built in to Windows, or to purchase any current version of Dragon.
DictationBridge will increase the speech recognition options available to blind users, and insure that blind users don’t have to pay for features that their sighted counterparts can access for free.