Ah, I definitely should have mentioned using the numeric keypad in my
previous message outlining some of the major differences. JAWS users might
initially have some struggles in how NVDA uses the numeric keypad but NVDA's
object navigation can sometimes access certain windows which cannot be accessed
using the JAWS cursor.
I'll try to outline what I see are some of the key differences between the
two screen readers. Both have their respective pros and cons and, as I use
both, I will try to be as objective as I can in compiling this list. I will
say up front that this is probably not an exhaustive or complete list but
items which immediately come to mind.
Advantages of NVDA Over JAWS
1. NVDA is free of cost. This not only means that no money is required to
use the software but it also means that NVDA users don't need to worry about
software maintenance agreements. As long as you're using a fairly modern
version of Windows you can be sure that you can always run the latest NVDA
version. It also means you never have to worry about being in a trial mode
where NVDA will eventually stop functioning
2. NVDA is open source. This has several advantages such as more
transparency, being open to community contributions and even allowing the
community to take the existing source code and modify it, creating their own
screen reader as long as certain terms of the license are met.
3. To my knowledge, NVDA is likely available in more languages and comes
with a synthesizer capable of speaking many of these languages. This means
that NVDA is capable of being used by people around the world without them
first needing to acquire NVDA in their language.
4. NVDA is more of a community effort, written by its users as well as for
its users. This means that, potentially, users have more to say about its
5. The program's actual size is much smaller, making the download much
faster. This means that downloading future updates can, depending on the speed
of your Internet connection, take just a few seconds.
6. Along with that, the actual installation of NVDA is lightning fast.
7. NVDA can be run portably off of a USB drive or SD card, without the need
to install it onto the host computer. Nearly all features are available using
the portable version.
8. NVDA's various program settings are located from within one easy to use
menu, as opposed to several different dialogs as well as a menu.
9. One of my personal favorite unique NVDA features is the ability for NVDA
to optionally generate ascending tones to indicate the progress indicator for
tasks such as copying a file from one location to another, downloading a file
in Firefox or Internet Explorer, installing a program, etc. I honestly never
understood why JAWS has never implemented such a feature. JAWS is now able to
do this if you use the third-party Leasey add-on but this is a program which
must be purchased in order for this feature to be available.
10. Along with option 9, NVDA can also report background progress tones, a
feature that I really like. As an example, this means that I can have a
Windows update download and install in the background while I'm composing a
document and I can still hear the ascending progress tones, hear the
percentages announced verbally or both.
11. This may be subjective but I feel that NVDA's user documentation has a
slightly simpler writing style. The documentation which is supplied with JAWS
is both accurate and extensive but it is not written well from the perspective
of a new user. I used to train people in how to use computers and screen
readers and I find that I was sometimes needing to translate some of the help
text supplied with JAWS. Writing manuals and help materials is as much of an
art than it is a science.
12. NVDA allows users to submit bug reports and feature requests in a
special repository. This has some definite advantages. It shows you the
progress of your report and you will know whether and how it's being
addressed, as will other users. It also means that you can search the
repository for other issues to see whether they have already been reported as
well as the status of those issues.
On 12/22/2018 8:50 PM, Maria Reyes wrote:
How different is NVDA than Jaws? what are some
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