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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Instant Messenger clients for Blind or Visually Impaired

Here at the the Virginia Beach Public Libraries, we are offering virtual reference to our patrons. Since my library in particular includes the Special Services Department for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, we are in working to mak these services available to blind and physically handicapped patrons as well.

Our problem at hand is trying to find an Instant Messenger client that will be able to take the text that is received and read it aloud. I don't know if JAWS or the Windows offered text reader is effective for this use. Has anyone used an instant messenger with JAWS or another text reader? Or use an instant messenger client that offers it with the program?

Thank you!!

Candace Norman
Bayside Special Services Library
City of Virginia Beach
phone 757-385-2680

There are currently 6 replies

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Re:Instant Messenger clients for Blind or Visually Impaired

well has some one tryed ebuddy

Re:Instant Messenger clients for Blind or Visually Impaired

well have you tryed ebuddy

Re:Instant Messenger clients for Blind or Visually Impaired

there is a program I used a few years ago called Cyber Buddy it is an instant messenger program as well as many other things.

The program uses MS Agent found on 90% of PC's using Windows operating system, what MS Agent is in a nutshell is an animated figure that speaks aloud text, it was originally developed by Microsoft for their Office 98 software (the little paperclip that pops up when you need help) for some reason Microsoft stalled out on their development and in turn released the source code free to the public, and since 1999 many very usefull programs and applications have been created utilizing the MS Agent backbone.

Cyberbuddy is a free program, and can be downloaded and installed with ease, I will be using it with my clients so we can communicate over the internet when they have any questions or need help with their computer work.

Jason Smith
JJ Webworks

Re:Instant Messenger clients for Blind or Visually Impaired


I don't know much about aim. Is that the same as windows instant messenger? Windows instant messenger with just about any screen reader would be pretty relyable because it doesn't seem to change around as frequently as the other clients like MSN. Some of you folks may remember when MSN forced us all to upgrade to 7.0? For jaws at least, that was a nightmair. I have a friend who still can use windows messenger with JAWS 4.5. Also I think that windows has a higher degree of compatibility with the different clients. In contrast, you may only talk to other MSN users with msn, or other yahoo users with yahoo.

If you ever get any macs in your library, you can use fire. That can communicate with a number of different clients like MSN, Yahoo or AOL and yes, it is compatible with voiceover.

Re:Instant Messenger clients for Blind or Visually Impaired

I use AIM with JAWS and have no problems. There are only a few things it can't do such as indicate when certain symbols are shown, but all in all, they work together very well.

Re:Instant Messenger clients for Blind or Visually Impaired

I believe any of the major screen reading programs should be accessible with AIM (AOL Instant Message) or MSN Messenger. Window Eyes is my screen reader and I use to have AIM. I can't tell you if all the features are compatible but the basic ability to send instant messages is possible. My suggestion is to check with Freedom Scientific (Jaws) and GW Micro (Window Eyes).

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