I am writing to you on behalf of the Department for Career Development in Worcester South Africa. This department falls under the auspices of the Institute for the Blind (soon to be Kaleidoscope), which is also situated in Worcester.
The Department for Career Development is a unique institution in South Africa in that it is the only college spicifically for blind people. Note that other colleges and universities do allow the blind, but our college aims to rehabilitate those who become blind at a later stage and prepare blind school-leavers for their future career or university.
We teach some theoretical subjects, such as Communication and Marketing Management, but our main focus is on computer literacy and telephony. We also provide a braille course for those who became blind later on or those who only used uncontracted braille in their school career.
Our computers used to run on JAWS, but due to the Windows upgrade and the major cost of JAWS, in "South Africa (due to the weekness of the Rand), we decided to switch over to NVDA.
We have found, besides the advantage of NVDA being free of charge, that it is a more user-friendly programme. Other advantages include the optional spelling error indicator and the ability to read Afrikaans fluently.
As already mentioned, our department trains adult persons becoming blind later in life. Many of them have had no prior computer training, due to their background. Thus it is necessary for purposes of our training, specifically on computer, that the students need to hear NVDA say much more than required by a more advanced, or well adjusted blind person. For this reason there are some changes/additions which are necessary for our line of work. These include the following:
Speak the following by default:
Upon enter: in MS Word, say "ENTER"
Upon enter: in MS Excel speak new cell address,
Upon pressing escape: say "escape"
Upon pressing Ctrl-c: say "Copy to clipboard"
Upon pressing Ctrl-x: say "Cut to clipboard"
Upon pressing Ctrl-v: say "Pasted from clipboard"
Line number by request (similar to insert+period in JAWS)
Cell address by request, both in MS Word tables and MS Excel (similar to insert+c in JAWS)
Upon pressing Ctrl-t: say "Hanging indent"
Upon pressing Ctrl-m: say "Indent" and the distance (alternatively, say only the distance)
Upon pressing Ctrl-s: say "Ctrl-S"
Upon pressing Ctrl-q: say "Ctrl-Q"
Upon pressing Shift-down arrow: say "selected"
Upon pressing ctrl-arrow (left or right),When the punctuation level is set to "none or some", read all the punctuation under the cursor
Upon pressing Shift-F3: speak capitalisation changes
Upon pressing Insert-F: add line spacing to what NVDA already says
Upon reading the status line: add line number to what NVDA already says
Upon pressing CTRL-G or F5 say go to
Upon pressing F8 say extended selection on
Please bare with us, we might request some more additions as time goes on.
Allow me to congratulate the developers of NVDA with a product that, genuinely, makes a difference to the lives of many blind people.