For a long time, it’s been getting harder and harder for me to come up with reasons why people should bother paying the ridiculous prices for JAWS. At this point I think I’m down to well, it’s still the only one most people know so you’re probably using it at work and school anyway, here and there it’s good for handling the odd thing the other screenreaders have trouble with, good luck getting ADP to buy you anything else and Tandem can be handy sometimes if you need to help somebody somewhere else. Really makes you feel good about laying out that $1200, doesn’t it?
And soon, that pathetic list of justifications will get even shorter. Right now, a project is underway that will see Tandem-like remote functionality brought to the free NVDA screenreader. The same NVDA that has gotten so good that I basically use it full-time now, tossing them a donation now and then to say thanks and keep up the good work.
NVDA RA allows a user with the software installed to control another user’s PC who is also running the code. The two users agree on a secret term, they both connect to the same NVDA Remote Access server, type in their secret word and are immediately connected. This permits a variety of tasks that were previously impossible, most importantly hands-on technical support and training.
In brief, people can use NVDA RA to do nearly everything one can on a local computer while hearing what NVDA is saying on the remote system. Previously, one could purchase JAWS Tandem which, including JAWS, costs more than $1200 and, if this project gets its funding, they will now have this functionality for free.
Why NVDA Remote Access Is Important
For the past few years, I’ve heard from a lot of people around the business of bringing accessible solutions to large populations. These are the people who make purchasing decisions for entire states and federal agencies as well as individuals who use screen readers who have wanted to use a remote solution for any number of reasons. Plain and simply, they agree that NVDA is the best screen reading solution for Windows but they couldn’t use it because it had no functionality like that in JAWS Tandem, hence, it was difficult to provide hands-on support and training. With NVDA Remote Access installed, this problem disappears and, while I can say anything too specific about these developments due to NDA, some big time installations are rethinking JAWS and will likely switch to the profoundly more cost effective NVDA in the relatively short term future.
This, as you’ve likely figured out on your own, sounds amazing as hell. And if like me you want to see it become a reality, please consider making a donation here. If you can’t donate yourself, do spread the word. It really does help, and you’ll be helping all of us.