The “Fire Vox” Firefox extension is a FREE screen reader

Over a month ago I downloaded the Fire Vox Free screen reader extension for Firefox that acts like a screen reader and was created by Charles L. Chen.

I found that it was of great use and I assume it simulates most of the major functions that screen readers like JAWS or Window-Eyes can do, since I have never used either one of those.

Here is a little more information about the two screen readers I mentioned earlier and information about there cost.

  • JAWS – free trial (shuts off machine every 40 minutes) and $900 – $1100 to purchase a full version .
  • Window-Eyes – 60 day trail $39 or $900 to purchase a full version.

Fire Vox does not have all the bells and whistles that the other two have. I have not been able to find how to increase or decrease the speed of the speaking voice.

Some uses for the Fire Vox Firefox screen reader extension.

  • To see how your website will be to someone that uses a regular screen reader for someone with visual issues.
  • Now close your eyes and listen to your website to see if you can navigate and find information. You should be able to, since you created the website.

After awhile of using Fire Vox you might want to turn off the auto speaking function. All of the commands for Fire Vox on at least a PC are done with CTRL + SHIFT + some default key. To get to the list of functions you have to use CTRL +SHIFT + M to get the pop-up menu and un-click the “Speak Events” and “Echo Keys” checkboxes. This will then only allow the screen reader to be activated when you use the following key strokes CTRL +SHIFT + A or when a pop-up window occurs. This allows someone that needs these functions to still be able to get them to work.

For a full explanation please read the post on the Accessify Forum on how to turn off speaking all the time. To get Fire Vox to stop reading/speaking you can hit any key on the keyboard.

Here are some of the functions that Fire Vox does have are their default settings.

  • Auto Read – CTRL + SHIFT + A
  • Read Previous – CTRL + SHIFT + D
  • Read Next – CTRL + SHIFT + F
  • Repeat – CTRL + SHIFT + E
  • Say Selected Text – CTRL + SHIFT + O
  • Spell Out – CTRL + SHIFT + S
  • List of Headings – CTRL + SHIFT + H

There are a great bunch of Fire Vox tutorials on their website that will explain a lot more. There is no point of repeating all that information here.

Here is the links to the exercises from the Fire Vox tutorial page.

  1. Reading Text and Navigating Web Pages
  2. Getting Additional Information
  3. Working With Forms
  4. Working With Live Regions

So please download the Fire Vox free screen reader extension for Firefox and try it out. Tell me what you think.

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