Talk:Screen reader

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Update for Vista[edit]

The article mentions Narrator, but not the improved screen reading technology in Windows Vista. Should this be addressed? -Hemidemisemiquaver 19:38, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

What would it say about it? Vista just features a slightly improved version of Narrator. --Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis 16:00, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Argument over commericial or non-commercial links to screen reader products[edit]

This is an argument from 2005: I've refactored to put it under one heading but otherwise left it unchanged. I've done this so it doesn't dominate the Talk page - User:Alasdairking

I've added more content to the screen reader page, but I've also removed lots of links to products and projects that look to me like they are there for promotion rather than information. I've read the Wikipedia guides which state Wikipedia is not for selling things or providing comprehensive lists of links to online resources, so I think I'm justified. I work for a company selling a screen reader, but not one of the links I've removed or any of the links I've left. Rather than simply adding my product to the growing list of (external) links, I've tried to get the page into a sensible and correct state. (I can see a case for referencing JAWS and WindowEyes, since they are the biggest screen readers and have their own Wikipedia entries, so I've left them on.) Alasdair King 30 June 2005

"Commercial" seems a handy pretext[edit]

If articles on software topics like instant messaging can list instant-messaging clients and software, so can a screen-reader article.

Your argument that lists of links to screen readers violates Wikipedia's policies would have more weight if you went all the way. You left in Jaws and Window-Eyes because they have Wikipedia articles already (but what of VoiceOver?). To be consistent with your edit, all we'd have to do is create Wikipedia articles about the screen readers whose entries you deleted.

Some of the entries you deleted are noncommercial products.

In short, your motives are mistaken from the outset. I'm willing to revert this edit (to a tighter version of the original; I'm not sure every product deserves its own paragraph). But let's talk about it for a short time first.

Pretext for what?[edit]

Thanks for your posting to Talk rather than simply reverting!

Brief responses to your points:

  • Other articles may include lists of software, but (1) they are not supposed to do so and (2) I do not see the benefit of doing so here.
  • I am aware I deleted non-commercial products. I did not write that I was deleting commercial products. Please check my Talk post.
  • "Pretext" for what? Linking only to my screenreader? As I wrote, my screen reader is not linked from the page. It was not linked from the page. I do not intend to link it from the page. If the page is a list of products I'll certainly link it...

You point about consistency (leaving in JAWS and WindowEyes entries) is stronger. I'm happy to delete the JAWS and WindowEyes Wikipedia entries as you suggest. It seems a better solution to me than creating a Wikipedia article for every commercial product (I'll have to do one for mine, for example). However, I would argue that JAWS and WindowEyes at least merit a mention in this article, just as Netscape and Internet Explorer would be mentioned on a web browser page, because they are dominant. Well, JAWS at least. JAWS and other screen readers (e.g. Supernova) should certainly be mentioned, but in an History section on the main entry, not as individual articles.

However, at present there are individual Wikipedia entries for these screen readers (and for VoiceOver). What to do? Forgive me: I'm not well up on the politics of Wikipedia, but I assume deleting Wikipedia entries is a fairly aggressive step. If you want to proceed with that, I'll happily support you!

I've contributed, I think, most of the actual content about screen readers on the page, as opposed to the partisan links to personal products. I hope my motives are apparent: I want to have a really good Wikipedia entry to which I can point people. Removing the partisan links was part of that.

revert or merge, please.[edit]

point one: (i was gonna add this to the talk page for apple voiceover, but decided this might be a better place) despite this page being important for the blind/low vision community, i really dont see how you can make an entire article for just this one screenreader. considering the lack of info for other screenreaders and accessibility software, maybe it should all be merged with the likes of JAWS, gnopernicus, speakup (speakup doesn't even have an article...) and the likes in the screenreader wikipedia article. i mean, theres only so much you can say ...features, history, development, you get the idea.

point one point five: i honestly don't see what the issue with the list of screenreaders is. none of the individual articles can be expanded and will languish in stub hell if left the way they are, and perhaps this is the appropriate place to put descriptions of each one or create a totally different page for listing screenreaders.

point two: note on your talk contribution - i think it's absurd that the article mentions Narrator of all things, but doesn't include any of the noncommercial software. by adding them, it'll end up becoming what this article used to be, which is why i haven't already made such a change. how were links and a little bit of history at all promoting commercial products? voiceover in particular, it's extremely worth mentioning because before that, there was no screenreader for modern day Macs. Don't see the issue with mentioning history and product development (to a degree, if its more than a line perhaps it should become its own article). Regardless, most of them were NOT promotional links. some of the descriptions were admittedly a bit like that, but why overhaul the whole thing, omit information on currently available screenreaders and only talk about how they work instead of changing the descriptions to briefly mention why they're listed there?

I will admit, you have contributed a lot to the page, but you're missing everything that the old page was useful for. I think a merge with several articles, more information and more links will make this article better. However, the above's just my two cents. Applegoddess 7 July 2005 08:36 (UTC)

Sure, we can discuss Alasdair's motives[edit]

I'm sure Alasdair thought he was effecting an improvement to the article, but despite his declared bias, my impression is that he's custom-editing the article to make his product's competition invisible. If so, he's violating Wikipedia principles of neutrality.

Feel free to discuss Alasdair's motives![edit]

I'm afraid you have once again failed to read what I've written. I am not trying to make my competition invisible. You are inferring that I work for the company that makes JAWS (Freedom Scientific). I don't. I in fact work for the company that makes the LookOUT screen reader. You'll notice that I have not added LookOUT to the article, nor have I linked to it, nor have I written a Wikipedia article about it. All of these things would be wrong. I haven't even noted LookOUT's existence: I thought it had too small a fraction of the market to warrant a mention in a definitive encyclopaedia article on screen readers.

So, I am not acting out of commercial interest, I am doing my best to produce the best article I can. Do you have interests in the content of this article - for example, do you work on the projects to which you are keen to link, or are you a self-avowed lover of a particular operating system keen to see its accessibility features promoted?

May I ask you to absorb this information, then get back to me on my points about the inclusion of promotional links without much supporting context or explanation? I fear your misunderstanding of my motives may have caused you to misunderstand my conclusions as well. By the way, sorry if I come across a bit sharp: the suggestion that I am acting out of commercial interest when I was at such pains to avoid doing so is frustrating. Best wishes, Alasdairking 12 July 2005

All or nothing, please, folks[edit]

Look, nobody's agreeing with Alasdair on this. His biases, though declared, are indisputably present, and reduce the impartiality of this Wikipedia article.

Being a little bit pregnant isn't helping anybody. List all present screen readers or none of them. In fact, the easiest thing to do is start another article under the Lists category that does the former.


Frankly, I think anyone editing this Wikipedia article is biased, unless you're editing for clarity or something like that. Any new content added must mean that everyone contributing must be biased! Hey, I use a Mac! I hate Jaws! I'm so biased! Yes, I added the VoiceOver commentary on the older page! Yes, I keep mentioning everything BUT jaws!

I hope you see my point, JoeClark. We're all biased, and I dont think it helps to attack Alasdair in any way, He edited the article the way he thought was best, and everyone else, including me, were just pointing out things that would have been nice to keep. So can we perhaps agree on the whole actually-listing-all-the-screenreaders-and-add-a-bit-of-history-too and do it, or are we going to keep bickering about how Alasdair is biased for working for a developer that has a screenreading product? Yeesh! So flame me for beta testing VoiceOver or something too! Applegoddess 02:51, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

That isn't how it works here in the land of Wikipedia, Applegoddess. Wikipedia articles must be neutral in point of view. For an employee of a screen-reader manufacturer to selectively delete references to his competition violates the principle of neutrality. The question is not one of having biases, as you think; the question is one of avoiding them in crafting Wikipedia articles. – Joe Clark

Applegoddess: thanks, I think you get what I'm driving at.
Joeclark: You're confusing my interest (I have an interest in my company's screen reader) with the bias of the article content I produced (I have biased the article towards my company's screen reader). I didn't delete my competition. I didn't link to my product. I didn't even mention my product. I did my best to produce content with a neutral point of view, and one of the things I did in doing that was remove what I thought were clearly promotional links that added little value to the article. Can you give an example of where my changes have affected the neutrality of the article because of what you claim is my indisputable bias? I don't think you can.
Anyway, as Applegoddess sensibly asks, how do we resolve this? We have three options: list no screen readers, list all of them, or somewhere in between. Listing none is silly: articles on web browsers list IE and Firefox and so on. Listing all of them is probably impossible and not what Wikipedia is for. So we list some. My take on this was to list the big ones, JAWS and Window-Eyes. I take it that you two feel strongly that this is too small a selection. Joeclark, I think that this is your real beef with my changes: you think my position on links to screen reader projects is wrong, not that I have contravened the rules on NPOV. So how about we agree to go back to listing some screen readers and related projects, but try to add some contextual and neutral text to justify their existence? Suggested list below. Alasdairking 17 July 2005
The NPOV warning has disappeared, and no more postings have appeared here, so I'll assume that this is a closed issue. See below for changes to the screen readers listed. Alasdairking 23 September 2005.

Added NPOV warning[edit]

Due to Alasdair's changes, I have added an NPOV warning to this page.

Eventually I may get around to creating a separate article listing existing screen readers, which may obviate the problem. Feel free to consider this an invitation to beat me to it.

Okay, how about: JAWS from FreedomScientific; SimplyTalker from Econonet; Hal (Supernova) from Dolphin; Virgo from Baum; LookOUT from Choice Technology; Window-Eyes from GW Micro; VoiceOver from Apple; Speakup from the Speakup Project; Emacspeak from Emacspeak Inc. These appear to be functioning screen readers. What about BRLTTY and Gnopernicus? Are they significant enough to merit a mention? I guess we should link to the Wikipedia entry for Magnifiers and mention combined magnifiers/screen readers like ZoomText from Ai Squared? May I also suggest that the current link to Screenful, which has released no files, is for promotion rather than information and shouldn't be there? I think this gives a list in line with the guidelines on links. Alasdairking 17 July 2005
Lists of links aren't permitted. Lists per se are encouraged. Joe Clark 20050807
I'm sorry, I'm completely unable to follow your position. I removed links on the basis that the guidelines say a page shouldn't be a list of links. You objected, saying that the list should have stayed. I've suggested a new set of links that represent a good range of screenreaders. You say that this is a list and the guidelines say... that a page shouldn't be a list of links!
So, I've tried to come up with a set of links suitable for this page: perhaps you could comment on that set of links? Is it too big? Is it too small? Is it unrepresentative? I hope this seems a productive way to proceed to you. Alasdairking 17 August 2005
Okay, no further comments in talk, so I've done the following: excised a magnifier and a link to a Sourceforge project that has not yet released any files (Screenful!). Added Hal/Supernova, LookOUT, Emacspeak and Virgo, giving some context about their provenance. I've tried to draw together the last section on screen readers so it isn't simply a collection of lists. I've also reduced the machine-specific detail on Narrator. Alasdairking 23 September 2005
In the same vein, moved the link to iZoom from out of the list of "major screen readers" into the paragraph below, pointing out that it is a magnifier with some speech. Alasdairking 1 December 2005

List of screen readers[edit]

I've done a List of screen readers as discussed above. I guess I'll gradually start whittling down screen readers on this page. AlasdairKing 23 Jan 2006.

Took out a link to PCVox site from the list of "major screenreaders" because I don't think it is. PCVox is on the List page. User:Alasdairking 6 Mar 2006.


I've merged in some content from the Verbosity article. I have no idea if any of this is worth keeping or not, feel free to do whatever is best with it. --Xyzzyplugh 13:52, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

What exactly is a British accent ?? there are hundreds of accents in Britain, or does it actually mean a cockney accent ? -- Keloran 15:00 7th March 2010 (UTC)


Under the heading 'Web-based screen readers' there is an external link to named Talklets, which has recently explicitly changed to look like an internal link. Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis introduced this link on 6 February 2007, 12:58. I think that Talklets should either be a link to a (new) Wikipedia-page, or entirely removed. An external reference to could be added to the reference section, when necessary. Virtlink 15:23, 20 October 2007 (UTC)


Can anybody add anything about Android readers? — Preceding unsigned comment added by GhostInTheMachine (talkcontribs) 12:57, 11 September 2011 (UTC)