The world famous JAWS screen reader has been regularly up-dated over the years, but sometimes there is an up-grade that is more exciting than usual! This is such an occasion.

 

Access to maths equations has remained a problem for many users of screen readers. Complex mathematical equations have been rendered as images which cannot be read by screen readers. Now with V16 , JAWS will read math content that has been created in MathML. MathML is a language for including mathematical content on Web pages, enabling browsers to present math equations and formulas as they would appear on paper.

 

 

Math equation

Math equation

 

 

JAWS V16 now provides spoken, natural language descriptions of MathML expressions, using the same terms a teacher would use to explain them in a classroom. There is a written, visual language of math, described by MathML. However, there is also a spoken language used when people discuss math problems. Students will benefit from hearing JAWS describe mathematical expressions as their teachers and peers do.

 

Just as exciting is a major up-grade to the OCR feature built-in to JAWS. This new functionality enables the user to OCR (scan and read) an entire document without having to exit or use an external program. The document that has been scanned will appear in a separate window, from which information can be copied and pasted to other documents or destinations. This is an extremely powerful tool that removes a major barrier  as it is encountered, increasing productivity and independence.

 

There is also a new JAWS Command Search function – making it much easier for all users to locate various JAWS features along with the required keystroke. Great for teachers or support workers who may not use JAWS regularly and find it hard to remember all the commands!

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