JAWS a brief overview

5 out of 5 stars

As a JAWS user of more than 15 years I've been very lucky to have been able to keep up with the annual releases. The nature of I.T. has changed radically in this time and Freedom Scientific, the developers of JAWS, have done their best to keep up with those changes.

The current version of JAWS is 2018. Freedom Scientific decided to change the version numbering system after the release of version 18 in November 2016. The latest version to be released this November will be version 2019. A public beta of the upcoming software is always made available around the beginning of October.

JAWS is generally a reliable screen reader. There have been versions in the past which, let us say, haven't quite made the grade, but on the whole it works well. The speech output, though a touch robotic, is clear; even when listened to at speed. It's functionality across multiple operating systems and computer types is very good. Since version 16 JAWS has been able to access touch screen based computers as well, similar to how we access the IPhone with VoiceOver.

Now here's the potential issue... For JAWS to access an application, the application has to be scripted. In the instance of Microsoft products for example, Freedom Scientific have put a lot of effort into making Word, Excel etc highly accessible. However, applications that aren't surved by Freedom Scientific, then it's a different story.

There are many 3rd party scripts for a whole range of programs. Some work really well others not so great. So if for example you're looking to work with an accountancy program, you may find that there are no official scripts to support it. You may also find there are no third party scripts which means access may be limited. On the other hand you may find some scripts but they won't work because you've the wrong version of JAWS or the wrong operating system.
The other thing I feel I should mention is the cost... It's not a cheap piece of software. The Home Edition is around £690 and the Professional £1000, both these prices are less VAT, which of course if you're registered blind you wouldn't pay anyway.

For all of the possible issues JAWS is a great way of gaining access to the world of I.T. It's certainly opened up more doors for me than it's shut.

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5 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

JAWS v2019

JAWS for Windows

£690 to £1000

Access it's aim...

  • Vision
  • Communication
  • Accessibility

  • Hearing

  • I agree to your terms and conditions

The latest JAWS provides speech and Braille output for the most popular computer applications on your PC.

New features added to JAWS 2019

-Faster JAWS startup with grace period authorization

-Separation of office scripts

-Improved performance in office 365 applications

-Audio Support for Windows 10 version 1803 and higher

-TAB key no longer echoed