In the world of adaptive technology, it is always a question of compatibility when it comes to upgrading, especially when people who are blind have to contend with a brand new operating system that’s just been released to the masses.
The question always surfaces when choosing a computer and setup. Has adaptive technology caught up to the recent changes and upgrades?
Freedom Scientific, the manufacturer most known for it's screen reader called JAWS, Job Access With Speech, has announced that JAWS has a compatible update for Windows 10.
They made an official announcement on their website about the update, stating the compatibility of the latest updates of the JAWS® 16 screen reader and MAGic® 13 screen magnification software with Windows® 10.
“Over the past few months we have worked with Microsoft to ensure compatibility with Windows 10. The newest versions of JAWS and MAGic are ready for Windows 10, without the need for paid upgrades,” said Eric Damery, Vice President of Software Management at Freedom Scientific in an official statement on their website and in their press release.
The upgrade process is very simple for folks who already have JAWS16. They just need to hit check for updates in the help menu and then install the 16.0.4350 patch. Windows 8 users need only perform three steps, including running the utility tool to help remove older versions.
Windows 7 users should be aware of a few things, however. For one, it's recommended that both MAGic and OpenBook be uninstalled, because your Freedom Scientific products will not run until you reinstall the latest versions of JAWS 16, MAGic 13, or OpenBook 9. They suggest you not run the utility until you are ready to start the Windows 10 upgrade.
Just because JAWS is ready for Windows 10 that does not mean the native applications are ready for JAWS. Microsoft says that Edge, the new browser, is not accessible yet. For email, Microsoft recommends users of assistive technology not use the built-in email client at this time. Lastly, for PDF documents, they suggest users install a third-party reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader 11 or Adobe Acrobat DC.
With the new release of Windows 10 and the JAWS patch, Windows 10 will become more accessible to JAWS users. For those who use NVDA, however, work is already in progress with the latest NVDA snapshots. The community is already working to make Edge likewise accessible.