Electronic Design

Talking Browser Opens E-Business Sites To The Blind

The Home Page Reader 3.0 for Windows allows many visually impaired and blind users to buy, sell, and trade on the Internet. Offered by IBM, the device is a low-cost, easy-to-use, talking web browser that works with e-business web sites.

This browser provides JavaScript support for complete access to the web. Supporting a total of nine languages, it incorporates options and features that simplify setup and operation of the browser. Accessibility has been optimized for visually impaired users.

With JavaScript support, the software can speak aloud all of the data on the web page. This includes conventional text, tables, graphic descriptions, text in column formats, data input fields, forms, and image maps. JavaScript also enables blind and visually impaired customers to complete online forms for buying, selling, and trading products and services over the Internet.

Version 3.0 supports English, Brazilian Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Japanese. To present web-based material in an integrated solution, the browser combines IBM's ViaVoice Outloud text-to-speech technology with Mi-crosoft Internet Explorer. The information is heard through the company's Outloud speech synthesizer. Compatibility with Windows 98, Millennium, and 2000 is provided.

While the English version will be available in December, the translated versions will be available in their respective countries by March. Users of Home Page Reader versions 2.0 and 2.5 will be able to download a free upgrade to the newest version by the end of the year. The Home Page Reader version 3.0 will cost $149.

For more information, visit www.ibm.com, or call (800) SHOP-IBM.

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