This article introduces recommended add-ons for low vision users of NVDA, an open software screen reader for Windows.
Since NVDA was originally developed for the blind, I found many of its features to be a bit cumbersome for low vision users.
Since I have low vision, I will introduce the NVDA add-ons that I usually use for reference. As an added bonus, I will also tell you about a high-quality voice engine that is available for free.
This article will be added to as soon as I find a good one. If any of our readers know of any good ones, please let us know in the comments section.
This add-on, when you press the “NVDA key (no conversion)” + “S”, normally the action is “voice feedback with beep” => “stop reading voice” => “start reading voice”, but I have honestly never used the “voice feedback with beep” and felt annoyed because I had to press the shortcut twice until the voice was stopped.
After installing this add-on, “voice feedback with beeps” will be removed and a single shortcut key press will toggle between stopping and starting the voice reading.
This add-on is enabled simply by installing it.
Add-on “Focus Highlight
This add-on provides a visually-visible border around the navigator object focused by the mouse pointer; a similar functionality is also available as a standard NVDA feature by enabling “Vision”, but the color of the border cannot be changed, so you cannot change it to a color that is easier for you to see. However, the color of the border cannot be changed, so it is not possible to change it to a color that is easier for you to see.
The above is a test on my blog post. When the mouse pointer touches the text, it will be surrounded by a light green border. The color of this border can be freely changed in the add-on settings.
This is very useful, because it shows the range of the pointer’s focus, so even if there are many text links or HTML tags inserted in a paragraph, it will surround the range of the pointer’s focus, making it clear where to focus with the mouse next.
To make settings, go to the “NVDA Settings” screen and select “Focus Highlight” in the “Categories” section on the left. You can set the color, thickness, and shape of the border in each of the following states: “Focus Mode” and “Browsing Ode” used in the browser, and “Navigator Object” used on Windows.
The color must be entered as a hexadecimal color code, so please select a color you like from the following sites and copy and paste the code.
The Focus Highlight add-on can be enabled or disabled by pressing the “NVDA key (no conversion)” + “Alt key” + “P”.
Free voice engine “Nuance Vocalizer Expressive TTS 5.4
This is quite high quality and close to natural speech. nvda is standard and supports “Microsoft Speach API” and “Open JTalk”, but honestly the quality is not good. We prefer to use high quality if possible, so here are some high quality speech engines we have recently found.
If you go to the above site and go to the bottom, you will see two places where you can download the file, click on the one you prefer.
Then you will see a list of downloads by language, look for the “Japanese” item and choose the version you like. However, it is better to install all of them once and listen to the voices. I recommend “Mizuki” and “Sakura”.
Click on each link to download the installer and install them one by one.
On the “NVDA Settings” screen, select “Voices” from the left category, and in the “Voice Engine” section, select “Microsoft Speach API version 5”. Then, in the next “Voice” section, you can select the name of each voice you have just installed.
Extra: Paid voice engine “KC-Talker
This is a voice engine add-on that incorporates “Voice Text” made by HOYA, a provider of high-quality paid speech synthesis engines. The quality is unmistakably top class. The quality was undeniably top class and we had no complaints at all.
However, the price of the add-on is less than 20,000 yen, so those who can afford it should consider purchasing it.