Welcome to the Here I Am project homepage. Here I Am is an open source screen reader project based on a set of new design concepts and fueled by a philosophy that accessibility should be free.
The Here I Am project seeks to address several shortcomings of current screen reading technology:
- Complexity: blind computer users are presented with a dizzying array of separate commands for achieving even the simplest of tasks
- Reliability: current screen readers operate inconsistently, especially when interacting with Web content
- Price: popular commercial screen readers are usually priced between $800 and $1,500 and allow only a limited number of installations
- Scalability: screen readers rarely change with the times, and users are often forced to purchase new versions that work with newer operating systems
The Here I Am Framework
A unique design distinguishes this project from other current screen readers. The Here I Am framework provides a more intuitive means of navigation and allows the user to comfortably interact with nonlinear content. Modern screen readers are based on an outdated model from the command-line days; however, modern GUI based operating systems work much differently: conceptually, information is presented in chunks dispersed around the screen, and the orientation of content often reveals complex relationships. This kind of organization has always been seen as a hindrance to blind computer users, but it is actually a very logical means of presenting content and should not be considered useful only for those with vision. With a new approach, blind users can also interact with content as its logical structure intends.
As a result, the Here I Am screen reader is very suited for working with cutting-edge data formats, especially newly emerging Internet standards. Here I Am will serve as a powerful communication tool in the near future.
Currently, the framework is still in the planning stage. For those interested, a few prototypes are available that demonstrate uses of the framework for reading basic Web content, mathematics, and even sheet music. If you would like to help out in any way, please leave a comment in the forum or email the project leader directly: firstname.lastname@example.org. This project is especially in need of developers and testers to help refine the model.