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Accessible Assistive Technology Resources Bridges Blog Independent Living Resources Series: Jumping Into January 2023

Jumping Into January

JAWS Screen Reading Software Offers Even More in 2023!

2022 is over, and it’s time to jump into 2023! Join us as we explore revamped and new resources to help you on your Transition journey – through school and beyond!

In this second installment of our “Jumping Into January” series, we share new possibilities with the popular screen reading software, JAWS (as well as a way to snag an annual license at a great price).

What’s New with JAWS?

Smart Glance

As you probably know, developers of web pages often use text effects, like enlarged text, different kinds of fonts, colors, etc., to draw visual attention to certain parts of the web page. Unfortunately, those developers do not always add the code needed to make these visual changes accessible to users of screen reading software.

Smart Glance helps give you some of that otherwise inaccessible information. When you activate it, the “new Smart Glance feature analyzes the page and ranks textual content in reverse order based upon the infrequency of its color, text attribute or font usage on the page. Colors, fonts, or attributes used least will rank highest as potential points of interest, referred to as glance highlights.” Quotation from Freedom Scientific’s What’s New in JAWS 2023 Screen Reading Software web page.

More from Freedom Scientific’s What’s New in JAWS 2023 Screen Reading Software web page:

Please also note: “In Adobe Acrobat, we discovered that the JAWS Smart Glance feature was causing longer than usual load times for larger PDF documents. To resolve this issue, we have turned off Smart Glance only in Adobe. Note that if you press Y or SHIFT+Y in Adobe, JAWS still announces “there are no glance highlights on this page.””

Additional JAWS updates

On the What’s New in JAWS 2023 Screen Reading Software page, check out the following topics heading level 3.

On the What’s New in JAWS 2023 Screen Reading Software page, check out “Enhancements in JAWS 2023.2212.23,” a heading, level 2.

What about ZoomText?

As you might know, Freedom Scientific, the maker of JAWS, also produces the powerful screen magnification software called ZoomText. Not surprisingly, the dedicated and talented staff at Freedom Scientific have updated ZoomText as well.

Tethered View in ZoomText and Fusion

Tethered View allows you to keep access to important tools while enlarging another portion of the screen. It “opens a new window inside the magnified area that brings the activity into view. Tethered View currently supports the Windows Start menu search, Excel formula bar, Word Comments pane, and links list on a web page (Fusion only).” Quotation from Freedom Scientific’s What’s New in ZoomText 2023 Magnifier/Reader web page.

Early Adopter Program

The Early Adopter Program empowers you to, essentially, be a beta tester for upcoming software. It “lets you preview new and updated product features that are in development. As we gradually introduce features, you can evaluate them and provide feedback that will help us make improvements before the final release. The Freeze View Update is our first feature available for evaluation using the Early Adopter Program. It’s an update to the existing Freeze View in ZoomText and Fusion, that provides you with additional functionality.” One example is “When Freeze View is activated using the Early Adopter Program, you can create and display up to four Freeze Views simultaneously.” Quotations from Freedom Scientific’s What’s New in ZoomText 2023 Magnifier/Reader web page.

Additional ZoomText updates

On the What’s New in ZoomText 2023 Magnifier/Reader web page, check out “Other Changes,” a heading, level 3.

Want Both JAWS and ZoomText? Use Fusion!

As noted above, JAWS is a powerful screen reader, and ZoomText screen magnification software gives you more choices in how to visually navigate using your computer. But you don’t have to choose only one. If you would benefit from both screen reading and screen magnification, you can get features of both JAWS and ZoomText in Fusion. Check out Fusion updates on the What’s New in Fusion 2023 web page.

Tell Me about some Good Prices

Sponsored licenses

Certain universities have multi-user licenses for JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion. As a result, their current students, staff, and faculty are entitled to free annual home licenses of one of these software choices. To find out if you are eligible, enter your email at the Is my email eligible to download a license? web page.

American Printing House for the Blind

Each year, the U.S. government provides money to each state that can only be spent at the American Printing House for the Blind. These “federal quota” funds can be spent on Freedom Scientific software. To find out more, check out APH’s JAWS – Zoom Text-Fusion Suite (Freedom Scientific Software Suite) web page. Please feel free to contact the Bridges Helpdesk for more information.

NOPBC membership

Freedom Scientific also offers a free annual home license for any one of its software solutions for members of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC). NOPBC membership cost $15 while full-price annual licenses for JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion cost $95, $85, or $170, respectively. Check out NOPBC’s Become a Member web page for more details, and reach out to the Bridges Helpdesk with any questions.

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

Voice mail: Call (443) 320-4003, leave a voice mail message, and we will return your call

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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