Hello folks. I’m sure other people have posted testimonials of some sort here before, but I fancy some enjoy reading such things, so here goes with mine. Feel free to ignore this message as I’m not posting for help or
anything like that, though I will end with a question of sorts for the list.
I’ve been a JAWS user since, roughly, 1999. I recently got a Windows 10 machine (upgraded from XP!) and was able to get new JAWS at a discounted price from my former employer. I took advantage of the discount just before
they laid me off! *grins*
Well, obviously perhaps, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking for employment since then. I recently had an interview where they needed me to do a test on a computer. They had not much idea about accommodations for
blind folks but seemed very willing to give it a go. With a faint glimmer of hope, I told them about JAWS: that it was the most professional screen-reader around; that “yes, I know it’s really expensive, but there is a demo you can run for forty minutes at
a time!”, etc, etc. ‘There’s also this thing called NVDA,” I muttered a little under my breath, “which is a free one; if you can’t get JAWS working, I suppose I could work with that.” I showed up to the interview, foolishly hoping my ole’ buddy the shark would
save me. Nope! They couldn’t even get the demo to run, for some reason (the test computer was an old one, I think, running XP). So, NVDA it was to be!
I’ll back up a bit and say I’ve known about nVDA for quite some time. I always thought it might come in handy and that I should get it on one of my machines and start using it, but never got around to it. The closest
I came was using it on my ex-wife’s laptop, mostly to play music. I still don’t like eSpeak, I’m afraid, and I used it on a Linux machine running Orca before, too. Because that laptop wasn’t mine I never really spent a lot of time with it; didn’t realise it
would in fact be possible to change the synthesiser to something more to my liking.
Well, there I was, sitting in this open office, sweating profusely and feeling tense because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I managed to switch the voice to the XP narrator one, and that was reasonably ok. I found
that everything worked like a charm! I only had to use three programmes at that time: notepad, MS Word and a programme for audio playback/transcription that had (thankfully) native keystroke commands. A part of the test was related to spelling and grammar,
so I was able to configure NVDA, without reference to the user guide or any prior experience, to speak the level of punctuation I wanted and to indicate capital letters in a way that was convenient. There was a time limit involved, so I really wasn’t able
to play around as much as I should have, yet I was very pleased that I was basically able to get everything up and working to my satisfaction.
Now I’m at home, running nVDA, and really liking it. I have no JAWS upgrades left, and that doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, though I’m not abandoning it altogether as I’m sure both screen-readers have
So, I read the user guide. Great. A lot of very familiar keystrokes. Some small differences, but that’s fine and even welcome. I stumbled across the “switching from jAWS to nVDA” wiki page today and read through it; it
confirmed some of what I’d already noted. I have also been looking through the add-ons on the official page and just installed the Windows 10 Essentials one. I don’t like these modern universal apps much, but, you know, may as well get used to them if they’re
the up-and-coming thing, and maybe they’ll actually work better with NVDA than they do with JAWS.
What do you all think, those of you who have expereince with both screen-readers? Any thoughts that might not have been mentioned on the wiki over there? I’m not looking to start an argument, obviously, but I didn’t get
a lot of feedback when I posted a similar message (without some of th e sarcasm) on the JAWS list, and I thought it might actually go over better here.
Also, what add-ons do you all like to use?
Cheers, and glad to be a part of the NVDA community.
P.S.: I didn’t get the job. That’s ok. I still learned something.