Re: Article on Screen Reader History (including NVDA)

David Goldfield

I have wanted to participate in this discussion since it started as I clearly remember many of the DOS screen readers and how the Windows accessibility landscape unfolded as I was working in the a.t. industry during that time I avoided doing so as I saw it not relevant to the purpose of this list. However, since Brian has made it clear that he’s permitting it I’m going to respond to messages in this thread.


As for browse mode and virtual cursor functions not being available in early screen readers I think this depends on how you define early. Window-Eyes was the first screen reader that I remember using this paradigm in the late ‘90s and JAWS added it in version 3.3. Window-Eyes implemented it using MSAA and it was so slow that waiting for pages to load was unbearable. JAWS added the capability a year or so later but pages were rendered much faster even on computers which we would now consider to be painfully slow. When I wrote a blog post paying tribute to Window-Eyes I was also advised by a reader that Artic Winvision added a similar feature but not being a Winvision user I can’t verify this.

David Goldfield,

Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist

NVDA Certified Expert


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From: <> On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Sunday, July 24, 2022 5:21 AM
Subject: Re: [nvda] Article on Screen Reader History (including NVDA)


I'm not sure this is the place to go into at length how much screen-readers have advanced since they first came out but they have advanced enormously.  For just one example, there was no Browse Mode or Virtual PC Cursor in early screen-readers. 


On 7/24/2022 4:00 AM, Sean Murphy wrote:

The screen reader for OS2 was released in 1992 Sept. Not sure if this was before Window Bridge or not. The wiki article on Outspoken indicated it was released for the Mac in 1989. This is interesting. Has screen readers really developed beyond what they were like in the 90’s?


From: <> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Wednesday, 20 July 2022 1:16 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] Article on Screen Reader History (including NVDA)


On Tue, Jul 19, 2022 at 10:41 PM, Dan Thompson wrote:

I would love to read the article on screen readers when it is available.

Uh, it's what started this entire topic.

The Hidden History of Screen Readers: For decades, blind programmers have been creating the tools their community needs

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H2, Build 19044  

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

        ~ Dorothy Nevill


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