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WeMedia's Talking Browser

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WeMedia's Talking Browser version 1.0
Cost: Free

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - March 24, 2001

The WeMedia Talking Browser is like a traditional web browser in that you can use it to surf the web, conduct web searches, bookmark sites, etc. In short, it does everything a traditional browser does. However, WeMedia's Talking Browser also talks to you. Not only does it read the web pages that you bring up, it also gives you hints on how to use the browser more effectively.

The talking browser also has a convenient function that allows you to scan the various links within a web page simply by hitting the F6 key. Once the F6 key is hit, all the links on the page will load into the page map. You can then move up and down the list of links using the arrow keys. When you find the one you want, simply hit the enter key and you're whisked to the new page. The browser also gives you the option of having an entire page read or you can have it read only highlighted text, and of course, you can also turn the speech off.

The browser itself if very easy to use and comes complete with a detailed tutorial that teaches you how to use the browser. As well, the 'reader' offers timely reminders about the various hot key, and hot key combos that you can use to navigate the web. Once you are familiar with all the shortcuts, you can switch the interactive help module to the advanced setting, if you wish to receive fewer detailed help instructions.

Overall I found the WeMedia Talking Browser to be a wonderful resource. Even if you use a screen reader, you will want to try out this browser. It does have some slight faults, but I expect that most of them will be corrected in future versions of this software. One of my main complaints about the current version is that the browser overrides my computer's color settings and only allows me the option of using white, blue, or black as a background color. Another slight problem is that you do not have a lot of options when it comes to setting the reader's voice. Nonetheless, after some playing around I was able to give the reader a voice that I found acceptable and could easily understand. The only other thing that I found lacking with this browser is that you cannot use it to check your email.

I found that the problems with this browser are slight, if you ignore the fact that, at this time, the talking browser cannot be used on a MAC. I also found it very easy to use, thanks to the helpful hints given by the reader when the system is set in the beginners mode, which is the default setting for the browser. However I recommend that you spend some time with the "First Time User's Guide" to learn about all the things that the browser can do. Once you become comfortable with all the controls, I think that you will soon find this browser indispensable. And best yet, the WeMedia Talking Browser is free!

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The WeMedia Talking Browser was developed by Customized Computer Software. Their web address is:

Customized Computer Software offers a variety of freeware and shareware software programs that are useful to individuals with visual impairments. These programs included talking browsers, text enlargement software, and text readers. Customized Computer Software also offers a variety of other programs ranging from computer security to Indian software programs.

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