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[Out of Date] Alternative Web Browsing

This page is out of date and is not being maintained.

The following current pages have similar information:

introduction - specialized browsers - screen readers - adaptive browsers - voice browsers - other access methods


This is a collection of pointers to information, and where possible, to demonstration versions of alternative browsing methods.

People with disabilities, whether temporary -- such as a slow connection or eyes "disabled" by having to watch traffic -- or permanent -- such as hearing, visual, physical or cognitive impairment -- use a wide range of alternative approaches, different from traditional mouse-and-screen-based browsers.

People with visual impairment or reading difficulties rely on speech output, Braille displays or screen magnification; and in many cases use the keyboard instead of the mouse. People who can't use a keyboard rely either on voice recognition for spoken commands, or on switch devices which can be controlled by head, mouth or eye movements. People whose eyes are busy with another task may need Web access using voice-driven systems. This page is intended to give you background and pointers to solutions for these scenarios.

The purpose of this collection is to reflect the whole range of approaches used for browsing. If you design Web pages, then this will allow you to try out a particular browsing method with specific sites as a way of checking how usable they are for a given browser, or combination of browser and screen-reader, voice-recognition, or other adaptive systems. If you are a user who may be interested in finding the most effective method for you, then you should also find useful information here.

The page is divided into five sections:


Inclusion of products on this reference list does not mean that they are endorsed by W3C. Products are listed in alphabetical order, with no quality rating. W3C provides the information on this page as a service to the Web community and in good faith. However W3C cannot verify the accuracy of all claims made by developers or users.


This reference list was developed by Peter Bosher (, for the WAI Education and Outreach Working Group. Information on other activities and resources of W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative is available on the WAI home page. Please e-mail any suggestions for improvements or additions to Peter Bosher with a cc to

Section 1: Browsers specifically designed for people with disabilities

For each of the following browsers, a brief description is given indicating which of the above adaptive features is supported. Browsers are english language versions unless otherwise specified.

Section 2: Screen-readers

A screen-reader is used to allow navigation of the screen presented by the operating system, using speech or Braille output, and should therefore enable use of any mainstream application. In the context of browsing this usually means that they are used in conjunction with Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer, or, less often, with one of the other non-disability-specific browsers such as LYNX and Opera, detailed in section 3. Listed below are the home pages of all the major developers of screen-readers for different versions of Windows, and including one for Macintosh. Many of these include support for MS-DOS, either as an integral part of the Windows version, or in conjunction with a stand-alone DOS screen-reader. They all provide demonstration versions.

Section 3: Browsers with adaptive technology

These browsers are all designed for general use, but are of interest because they may give enhanced accessibility in combination with particular adaptive systems, and some have enhanced screen magnification or navigation options.

Section 4: Voice browsers

These are systems which allow voice-driven navigation, some with both voice-in and voice-out, and some allowing telephone-based web access.

Section 5: Other access methods

We will be expanding this section to include links to reference lists of other access technologies such as screen magnifiers and voice recognition programs which can be used in conjunction with Web browsers.

This page was last updated 18 October 2005, and it is currently out of date. It may be updated in the future.

Thanks to Peter Bosher and Judy Brewer ( for maintaining this page in the past.

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