Useful Low Cost Accessibility Programs for People with Disabilities

Accessibility Assistance

A list of low cost or free accessibility tools, programs and utilities that can be used by people with a wide range of disabilities. Software that require specialist hardware (such as pointing devices or adapted keyboards) have been excluded but can be viewed at http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/webshareware and http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility.

Please note: DOT-COMmunICaTions is not responsible for the content of external sites.

 

AMIS Reader (http://www.daisy.org/projects/amis)

Helpful for: Vision, Literacy

AMIS is a software program that you can use to read DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3 books. It is self-voicing, meaning that no specialized screen-reading software is needed in order for it to be used by visually impaired people. AMIS is free of charge.

AutoHotkey (http://www.autohotkey.com)

Helpful for: Physical

Create macros to sent keystrokes and mouse clicks. Can be used to cut down text entry and automate some tasks.

AutoHotkey can automate almost anything by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks. You can write a mouse or keyboard macro by hand or use the macro recorder. You can create hotkeys for keyboard, joystick, and mouse. Virtually any key, button, or combination can become a hotkey. It can be used to expand abbreviations as you type them. For example, typing "btw" can automatically produce "by the way".

AutoHotkey is a free, open-source utility for Windows.

Big Calculator (http://www.sensorysoftware.com/bigcalculator.html)

Helpful for: Vision, Cognitive

Big Calculator is a free large calculator for Windows.

You can either click on the buttons with the mouse or use the numeric keypad to perform calculations. The size of the calculator buttons is determined by the WIDTH of the calculator window and can be enlarged accordingly. Big Calculator will use a  speech program (SAPI 4.0) if it is installed on your computer to speak aloud results.

Dolphin High Visibility Mouse Pointers (http://www.yourdolphin.com/supportup.asp?act=patch&id=1491)

Helpful for: Vision, Cognitive

A set of free high visibility 2 and 16 colour custom mouse pointers to use in addition to the ones that are supplied with Windows.

Dwell Clicker (http://www.sensorysoftware.com/dwellclicker.html)

Helpful for: Physical

Free Windows software that monitors mouse movement so when the mouse rests over one area of the screen for a specified time a click is sent. This removes the need to use the buttons on the mouse. is resting the mouse . The dwell click software allows you to left-click, right-click, double click or drag things around the screen without clicking a button!

Fangs Screen Reader Emulator (Firefox Add-On)

Helpful for: Vision

Fangs is a Firefox Browser plug-in that renders a text version of a web page similar to how a screen reader would read it. The aim is to help developers understand how an assistive device would present a website and thereby increase chances of finding accessibility issues early.

Fatbits Screen Magnifier (http://www.digitalmantra.com/fatbits)

Helpful for: Vision

Free Windows software that magnifies an area of the screen centered around the mouse pointer (to 20x), can perform text smoothing and can modify the colours it displays to help those with colour vision deficiency.

ieSpell (http://www.iespell.com)

Helpful for: Literacy

ieSpell is a free standalone Internet Explorer browser extension that spell checks text input boxes on a webpage or blog.

IntelliEdit (http://www.flashpeak.com/inted/inted.htm)

Helpful for: Physical, Literacy

IntelliEdit is a free Rich Text Editor powered by smart autocompletion. It can autocomplete words and phrases, auto-expand shorthand and can even learn new words and phrase while typing.

Large Pointers (http://ace-centre.hostinguk.com/index.cfm?pageid=F5F26649-3048-7290-FEA80B8B637BF760)

Helpful for: Vision, Cognitive

Over 80 additional pointers and cursors for those with visual or perceptual difficulties. Icon styles include animated, coloured, large, I-beams and circles.

My Voice Email (http://myvoiceemail.abcwebtech.com)

Helpful for: Cognitive, Literacy

My Voice Email lets you record and send audio messages instead of ordinary e-mail. It is a friendly interface that is easy to use. Your audio message will be compressed to mp3 format prior to sending to reduce file size and maintain sound quality.

Voice Email is a stand alone application and does not require any other email client. No special player is required to playback the messages.

Currently costs $19.95 U.S. for the full version

N-Abled Web Accessibility Toolbar (FireFox Add-On)

Helpful for: Vision

a plug-in for the Firefox Browser, the N-Abled toolbar provides a screen reader, colour scheme changer, zoom and change font size.

Natural Reader (http://www.naturalreaders.com)

Helpful for: Literacy, Cognitive

Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Web pages, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV.

Free version available.

RapidKeys (http://rapidkeys.netfirms.com/en/index.htm)

Helpful for: Physical

Free on-screen virtual keyboard intended to replace the physical keyboard by using a pointing device (mouse, trackball or similar device).

RapidKeys is a virtual keyboard with a special feature: it learns from what the user types and contextually suggests words that can be typed with a single click. The purpose of this feature is to obtain a greater speed of typing.

Also, RapidKeys has user-defined autoexpandable abbreviations. The user can define short sequences of characters that will be replaced with long sequences of characters when they are typed.

Keyboard is resizeable.

RapidSet (http://www.fxc.btinternet.co.uk/assistive.htm)

Helpful for: Literacy, Cognitive

Free program that allows quick and easy changing of the background and font colours, without having to go through the control panel.

ReadPlease (http://www.readplease.com)

Helpful for: Literacy, Vision

ReadPlease is a text to speech program - words can be increased in size and are highlighed as they are spoken. A free version is available.

Screen Tinter (http://www.thomson-software-solutions.com/html/screen_tinter.html)

Helpful for: Literacy, Cognitive

Some individuals experience discomfort and eye strain when viewing computer screens. In some cases these symptoms can be relieved by changing the screen colours.

Screen Tinter is a free utility which allows the screen foreground and background colours to be changed at the click of a button without going through the control panel.

Thunder Screen Reader (http://www.screenreader.net)

Helpful for: Vision

Screen reading system for Windows, free to home users. Works with Microsoft Word, Outlook Express and Internet Explorer, speaks menus, dialogue boxes and text. WebbIE is required for web browsing.

WebbIE (http://www.webbie.org.uk)

Helpful for: Vision

WebbIE is a web browser for blind and visually-impaired people, especially those using screen readers such as Thunder. Vision impaired users can fill out forms and naviagate using the keyboard only and the program comes with a number of accessibility programs, letting you access news and audio on the Internet, allowing you to use podcasts, listen to the radio and read RSS and news with your screen reader or other access solution.


This list was compiled from several sources including ICT Hub, AbilityNet and the BBC.