Free or Low-cost Apps and Programs for Accessibility

Computers and other devices have accessibility features available as settings within their operating systems. There are also programs and apps that can be installed that add additional features for accessibility.

Accessibility features can include visual, tactile or auditory feedback from a device to aid in use. There are settings to help with readability such as font sizes or colors or how a cursor appears.

Computers

The links below are to accessibility summaries and tutorials for the main operating systems of common computers and devices:

Mac Accessibility:

https://www.apple.com/accessibility/osx/

Introduction to activating and deactivating OSX accessibility features:
http://support.apple.com/kb/PH14322

Using Mac OS to read documents:

PC Accessibility:

http://www.microsoft.com/enable/

Tutorials for accessibility features for all Microsoft operating systems and Office products:

 http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/ie6/

Other Programs and Apps:

NaturalReader. Free text-to-speech program for Windows or Mac. (Limited version, free).

Ultra Hal. "For many people, having their typed words read aloud is a necessity. If you fall into this category, Ultra Hal Text-to-Speech Reader offers a simple program to help users select text and have it read aloud." (Free)

VoiceNote. Free speech-to-text dictation extension for Chrome browser.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking isn't free or low-cost, but it is the premier voice recognition software in the world. Below is a link to YouTube training on how to use Dragon effectively for word-procesing, e-mail, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_NF293Dm10CWLNcyBlNGsw

iOS Accessibility (iPhone/iPad):

https://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/

Summary of iOS accessibility features and how to activate and deactivate them:
http://etc.usf.edu/techease/4all/mobile-devices/introduction-to-ios-accessibility-features/#accessvid

Android:

https://support.google.com/accessibility/android/?hl=en#topic=6007234

Explanation of how to activate and deactivate Android accessibility features:
https://support.google.com/accessibility/android/answer/6006598?hl=en

Smartphones and Tablets

There are smartphone/ tablet apps that can help with accessibility. For example, there are apps that assist with dictating text to a device and which connect to sources of accessible reading material:

iPhone/iPad:

Audiobooks.  "Thousands of FREE audiobooks await. Whether you're stuck in traffic, waiting for your connection or cramming for an English test—Audiobooks puts the most beloved audiobooks at your finger tips."

Google Search. Allows voice input for web searches in Google browser app.

Dragon Dictation. "Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition application powered by Dragon® NaturallySpeaking® that allows you to easily speak and instantly see your text or email messages. In fact, it’s up to five (5) times faster than typing on the keyboard."

Audio Note. "AudioNote combines the functionality of a notepad and voice recorder to create a powerful tool that will save you time while improving the quality of your notes. It’s the perfect app for students or business." (Free to try, $4.99 to buy)

Note Taking Express Note Taking Express is an affordable option for audio to text conversion. Services include notes or direct transcription services from previously recorded audio files. (Free)

Android:

IVONA Text-to-speech engine for reading text. "No more robotic, sythesized voices. IVONA for Android replaces the synthesized text-to-speech (TTS) voices currently available on your Android device with more natural sounding, accurate & easy-to-understand voices. Select from 13 different languages to find the one best suited for you. Easy to install one or several different voices! IVONA is compatible with many Android applications."

Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder. Free app records MP3 files for capturing lectures, meetings or other situations where you might want a better recording than the standard Androud recording function.

Sources for accessible reading materials

Learning Ally.  Provides low-cost and free accessible reading materials in various formats to qualified members. SEAS students can contact us for more information about Learning Ally.

Bookshare.org. Provides low-cost and free accessible reading materials in various formats to qualified members. SEAS students can contact us for more information about Bookshare.org.

Note: SEAS and Brown University is providing this information as a courtesy only. Use all programs and apps at your own discrection and risk.