Project Contact Lenses: a community initiative proposal to invite more people to NVDA ecosystem


Dear NVDA community,


First, a huge thanks to NV Access and other presenters at NVDACon 2017, as well as those who organized and participated in this event. As the founder of NVDACon, I’m proud of what Derek Riemer and his friends have accomplished in organizing this successful gathering. To organizers of the 2018 gathering, I wish you the best of luck.


To the matter at hand:


Many of you may have heard about the end of sales for Window-Eyes screen reader. In the early 2000’s, Window-Eyes was considered a good alternative to JAWS for Windows when it came to using Microsoft Windows with screen readers. With the acquisition of GW Micro by AI Squared, which in turn was acquired by VFO last year, many analysts predicted the end of life for this screen reader, which occurred on May 15, 2017.


This news has huge implications for the global NVDA community, as well as opening opportunities for us. As many Window-Eyes users are eligible to upgrade to JAWS 18, some would choose to switch to NVDA. At the moment several individuals are producing tutorials aimed at helping Window-Eyes users transition to NVDA with ease. But users aren’t the only members of the Window-Eyes community: with the end of sales for Window-Eyes, many scripts (or apps) for Window-Eyes became unsupported, and it won’t be matter of time before they become part of history.


In hopes of inviting Window-Eyes users and developers to join the NVDA ecosystem (provided they are willing), I’d like to propose a community-wide initiative under the umbrella of Project Contact Lenses. Although this project may take different forms, the overall aim is to educate Window-Eyes community that NVDA is a viable option for many people, and a chance for writers of Window-Eyes apps to port their code to the add-ons infrastructure. Other activities may include equipping some Window-Eyes app developers to contribute code to NVDA Core, producing promotional materials, organizing online seminars and so on. Although the bulk of this project is aimed at Window-Eyes users, the ultimate goal is to embrace users of other screen readers to taste NVDA.


Some of the activities I plan to do include:


  • An online seminar or an intensive lab on creating add-ons and/or getting started with contributing code to NVDA Core.
  • Talking to Window-Eyes app writers about possibility of open-sourcing their code and helping them port apps to the add-ons infrastructure.


Some of the things the global community can do include:


  • Producing transition materials.
  • Contacting Window-Eyes distributors in your local community and inviting them to try NVDA.
  • Contacting script writers regarding apps and proposing add-ons.
  • Holding seminars aimed at users of other screen readers 9mostly Window-Eyes users) on how to master various NVDA concepts such as object navigation, browse mode and others.


As for the duration of this initiative, I don’t know, but I expect this to be at least several months or more.


Comments are appreciated.