Screen readers

What is a screen reader?

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A screen reader is a technology that assists people who are blind or visually impaired in accessing and interacting with digital content, such as websites or applications. It achieves this through audio or touch-based feedback. The primary users of screen readers are individuals with limited vision or complete blindness.

How do screen readers work?

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  • JAWS for Windows: A commercial screen reader that provides comprehensive support for web browsing, document reading, and application navigation.
  • NV Access: A free and open-source screen reader for Windows that offers similar functionality to JAWS.
  • Narrator: Built into Windows, Narrator provides basic screen reading capabilities.


  • VoiceOver: Integrated into macOS, VoiceOver reads aloud on-screen content, allowing users to navigate and interact with apps, websites, and documents.

Apple iOS Devices:

Android Devices:

  • TalkBack: Android’s built-in screen reader. Activate it via Settings > Accessibility > TalkBack. Use gestures to navigate and interact with content.

Further help

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For more detailed information, please refer to AbilityNet’s factsheet on screen readers.