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Screen Reader and iPad VoiceOver

Q: Screen readers on the Raspberry Pi 3

LegendusMaximusDo you know what Screen readers work on the RPi 3? (A screen reader reads out text on the screen and is what I need to enable to be able to use devices because I am blind)

Charemer
Charemer
Did you read the article on raspberrypi.org here: raspberrypi.org/blog/… ? There are some links to a discussion group etc where you might find the info you need.
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
@LegendusMaximus, Welcome and nice to meet you. Ah, let me see. I have not heard of screen reader before. So I wikied, and googled key words “screen reader” and “Raspberry Pi”. I found the following article interesting: “Getting the orca screen reader working with a raspberry pi – Pranav 2019feb23”, techesoterica.com/?p=1135. I followed the instructions and installed Orca in my Rpi4B, only taking me less than 15 minutes. Then I ran the Orca program in my Rpi4B Buster GUI Desktop LXTerminal, without expecting anything, because I have not seen any one playing with it.
Then I happily had the following surprising experience: Orca speaks clearly, with a robot voice, the first line in the terminal word by word, using eSpeak, I think. I guess you should have tried Orca before, so I would not go into the details. I am happy to give you more details of the Orca installation, if you would like to try it in Rpi.
goldilocks

goldilocks
133k
Presuming you are using Raspbian (the issue has more to do with the operating system than the brand of hardware), almost everything that’s available in Debian is available in Raspbian. Searching Debian "screen reader" turns up some stuff, including the fact that GNOME (a desktop environment) includes a stock screen reader. GNOME may be a bit memory heavy for a Pi 3, so check out other stuff (such as Orca) first.
LegendusMaximus
LegendusMaximus
I have not heard of Orca how do you install it?
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
@LegendusMaximus, Ah, let me see. I think Orca must be a rather new tool, or only for linuix, so you have not heard of it. Perhaps you can let me know if you have any experience in other screen readers, eg. in Winodws. Actually I have zero experience in any screen readers, Windows or otherwise. I think I must google again to check out if Orca is a good suggestion or not. Just now I googled the user guide: help.gnome.org/users/orca/stable. Perhaps we both can skim through it and see if it is worth trying.
@LegendusMaximus, Now I am reading the Orca docs, starting with the intro: help.gnome.org/users/orca/stable/introduction.html.en. I am happy to find that it is free, open source, and well documented. I will let you know my other first impressions as I read on. If you like, you can just casually read my comments. I think I need to read the docs in more detail, and also google further, to make very sure Orca is worth our time getting our fee wet, then I would write up my experience of installing it on my Rpi4B buster. Then you can try installing Orca using your Rpi3B buster. .
@LegendusMaximus,, Now I know Orca is a GNOME thing. I heard the name GNOME from time to time, but never knew what exactly it is, perhaps just another crazy hacker writing funny software. Anyway, I am reading about the GNOME thing to find out more: gnome.org/about. It says the following: “We [GNOME] promote software freedom: GNOME brings companies, volunteers, professionals and non-profits together from around the world. We make GNOME 3: a complete free software solution for everyone.”. So GNOME sounds good. I will move on. See you later, …
@LegendusMaximus, Now I have skimmed the following: (A) Screen Reader and Screen Reader List Wikipedis, (B) Linux SpeakUp Project and User Guide: (1) Screen Readers Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_reader (2) List of Screen Readers Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_screen_readers (3) Linux SpeakUp Project linux-speakup.org (4) Linux SpeakUp Screen Reader User Guide (Last modified 2010) linux-speakup.org/spkguide.txt, to continue, …
@LegendusMaximus, After skimming the above 4 references, I am more or less sure that Orca is worth getting our feet wet. But before starting up Orca, I think I still need to look at other commercial screen readers, because I always think think that “there isn’t such a thing called free lunch”, ie, commercial are almost always better than freeware. An example is Windows vs Lunix. But it does not mean that Windows wins in all respects. Anyway, I will now look at NVDS and JAWS: NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) Screen Reader – CNIB 2015 youtube.com/watch?v=2ryeDJdDIVA, …
JAWS (Job Access with Speech): Introduction – West Virginia University 2013 youtube.com/watch?v=dffx6mvHR9E JAWS (Job Access with Speech) Screen Reader Demo – Cheese Cake Factory 2017 youtube.com/watch?v=Q1gHxM1nP00
LegendusMaximus
LegendusMaximus
0:03
I use JAWS on Windows
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
Now this is the record of the Orca installation I did last evening: penzu.com/p/16bf07c0. Basically I only installed 4 packages, rebooted, and typed “orca” and to start working. I am using Rpi4B buster. I guess there is 90% chance that your Rpi3B buster should work without any modifications. Please le me know if you finf any problems in installation. Good luck and cheers!
LegendusMaximus
LegendusMaximus
Does JAWS or NVDA work on rpi?
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
@LegendusMaximus, Ah, you can find the answer to your question in this article: “Screenr Reader Comparisons – G Thompson, Perkins School for The Blind eLearning, 2019sep30 perkinselearning.org/technology/blog/screenreader-comparison‌​s.
I found two more YouTube videos you might be interested, one on comparison of JAWS with Orca and NVDA, the other video a basic 25 minutes Orca Tutorial: (1) Raspberry Pi Accessibility (Comparing JAWS, NVDA, and Orca) – 2017apr27 youtube.com/watch?v=RyoBpwyPzcw, They are produced in 2015 and 2017, therefore no that up to date with Rpi3 and Rpi4. Anyway, nive watching and cheers! (2) Basic Orca Tutorial (linux, 25 min YouTube) – The Accessible Penguins 2015may02 youtube.com/watch?v=ieo20UtUobw.
@LegendusMaximus, Now I am learning how to select the preferences, such as the “super” key. I am surprised to find that orca in Rpi4B buster works in GUI Desktop, so I can use mouse to do the preference selection. I am saving the following screen capture for future reference: Orca setup notes: imgur.com/gallery/lj8TIOv. I think you need to use Windows JAWS to do the Orca preference in buster GUI Desktop. I will now take a long break and see if you are interested to install orca in Rpi and have any problems that I can help. Happy orca screen reading and cheers:
LegendusMaximus
LegendusMaximus
Is there any way to install NVDA or JAWS on Raspberry Pi?
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
It would be nice if yes, but I googled but found nothing! 😦
@LegendusMaximus, After selecting <Insert> key as my Orca modifier super key, I started Orca and entered learning mode. I made a video of my first test. You might like to hear the voice of orca in this YouTube video: youtu.be/eNDx8Qgr97U Cheers. 🙂
LegendusMaximus
LegendusMaximus
0:03
Where is the most up-to-date commands list for Orca?
10 hours later…
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
9:57
@LegendusMaximus Ah, let me see. Just now I googled and found the Ubantu man page dated 2019. You might like to skim through it and let me know if it is good:
Orca Ubuntu Manual Pages (gnome-orca_3.4.0)
manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/…
2 hours later…
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
11:29
Just now I tried the ubuntu man page and found not all commands are Rpi buster compatible. For example, “orca –gui-setup” does not work, but “orca -s” already goes to gui setup mode, and I can start selecting the orca modifying keys etc. One problem is that I have no experience in using screen reader, so I found too many technical terms I don’t understand. I think I need to go back to the following intro section: “Gnome Orca Wiki Documentation Page”:
wiki.gnome.org/action/show/…. I also found that I know too little about accessible technolo…

(see full text)

tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
12:12
So I finished reading the PEAT article. I am glad to see the PEAT lady using iPhone VoiceOver./ So you see, I am ignorant to many technologies about accessibility and disability. However, I do have a little bit of volunteering worker experience in the local blind society. It was some 20 years ago, that I helped doing audio recording text books for blind students. Every week I read books aloud for an hour or so and recorded it on audio cassette tapes.
Once upon a time I taught computers and I remember in my class there was a totally blind student who tried hard to finally got a higher diploma in maths and computing. He did show me a bulky text to braille machine. But that was 20 years ago. I wonder if he is using JAWS and VoiceOver tools now.
One of my hobbyist project is Chinese character voice synthesis. My remote dream is doing a Micky Mouse project of the Chinese version of eSpeak. I know it is a long project, perhaps 20 years or longer. Anyway, I will go back to my other long stalled projects now. Happy screen reading and cheers.
3 hours later…
LegendusMaximus
LegendusMaximus
15:07
Which commands work on RPI?
1 hour later…
tlfong01

tlfong01
16:27
Well, you can try any command you like. If the command does not work for Rpi, you will receive an error message. Because I have only one day’s Orca user experience, it might take me a long time to try out all commands. So far I only learned how to do setup, by the command “$ orca -s”.
LegendusMaximus
LegendusMaximus
16:44
Thanks for this
5 hours later…
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
21:39
Hi @LegendusMaximus, Earlier when I watched the videos on NVDA and JAWS, I had the feeling that they are more powerful than Orca, because they are GUI, while Orca is only text based. So for example, you cannot compare a text editor with a so called WYSIWYG word processor. And I wrongly thought that perhaps a screen reader learner should start with the text based Orca, then upgraded to sort of GUI beasd JAWS or NVDA. But now I know that I was very wrong, …
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
21:49
Let me tell you why I said that I was very wrong to think that it is a good idea to start with Orca, then JAWS or NVDA. It is only after I watch two short VoiceOver demos and the very good 15 minutes tutorial: Introduction to Apple VoiceOver by Ipad for special needs: youtube.com/…. Yesterday I said i have a happy surprise by Orca.
But today the happy surprise the VoiceOver tutorial gave me is three times bigger. Before the video, I have no idea what is VoiceOver. I guess it is like a web camera or light pen which can scan text and read out the words. But I was very very wrong. VoiceOver is actually a screen reader, but a very powerful screen reader, because it is gesture based, ie, you can use iPad which is a touch screen. Actually I only learned the navigation tools called rotor which I never heard of before.
tlfong01

tlfong01
2339
22:12
So now I think using iPad with VoiceOver is the best approach to learn a screen reader. I know iPad is expensive, but its price should come down year by year. Text based Orca is perhaps free, but learning curve is steep, and learning time is also expensive. Using one’s expensive time to learn a text based screen reader, in my opinion is not worth it.
So I decided not to spend any more time on Orca, for now or for good. I will now divert to iPad VoiceOver. Comments and counter suggestions welcome. Cheers.

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