VoiceOver Vs. JAWS
Hi, I have not used JAWS in a long time, and am now having to use both Mac and PC.
I like the feature of not having to interact as much with PC as is required with Mac. It is nice how the tab key can be pressed with JAWS and it will automatically go to the next field or button whatever it might be. I am wondering if there is a way to change the settings with VO so that it responds in a similar way and does not require turning Quick Nav keys on and off. Perhaps it has been so long since I used JAWS that I am forgetting that there is more interaction required than I am thinking.
Thank you for your help.
As others have already said, this is a complex question. I used JAWSexclusively until about 4 years ago. Voiceover excels in some areas, while JAWS excels in others. I use my Mac most of the time for school, and I use Pages exclusively for productivity. JAWS was just too buggy for me, and the constant upgrades weren't worth the time or the money.
Another thing to consider is that JAWS has some features valuable for college students who have to do a lot of writing. The main feature is the text analyzer. This is an invaluable tool for doing writing. It can help you find things like extra spaces in your writing. For example lets say at the end of your sentence you typed a space then placed the punctuation mark then you put another space to start your next sentence. JAWS text analyzer can find this for you so you can fix it. In the end it boils down to what you are going to do with your computer. Another question to consider is what ecosystem you want to be in? Do you want to be in the Appleverse or in the Windows universe?
In considering bothJAWS vs. VO the real question is not "accessibility" but "useability".
Yes, many aplications are "accessible" using either JAWS or VO. That means that you can find most elements and/or information on a web page or application.
The real question for me though is how "useable" either system is. Just because you can find elements and read what is on the screen doesn't mecessarily mean that it will be efficient, productive, and easy to perform a given task. Especially for students and professionals, the "useability" question is very important. They are likely to use more advanced features of programs and need to perform their tasks efficiently in order to keep up with classmates and colleagues.
Some of the features that are built into JAWS that may be real productivity enhancers for some include features such as "Flexible Web" (that enables you to customize what is shown on busy web pages and how yu can navigate them more efficiently, etc.), "Text Anlyzer" (which someone mentioned above), "built in OCR" (to read items that are not text and screen readers can't catch from the UI), "ResearchIT" (some useful tools for finding common information), ability to find lots of third party scripts for special aplications that don't work well out of the box, ability to read info based on custom colors set frames for reading special info, etc.
I don't think VO has any of these special productivity features and/or the ability to customize feedback for the user nearly as much as JAWS does.
Anyway, just something to consider.
This is JAWS most incredible resource: scripting.
An app doesn't work the way you want or the way you need? Go ahead and make a script.
May be it is not scriptable but may be it is and if this is the case you can become yourself more productive or incredibly extremely more productive .... an app doesn't work good on mac? You sit down and start crying, nothing else to be done.
By providing a model where the screen reader functionality might be very well changed or extended the JAWS manufacturers had put theirselves a part from the rest and thankfully other Windows screen readers, even late, followed the goode example, see Window Eyes and NVDA ....
This is something Apple needs to provide: a way of eficiently navigating programatically and obtaining information from Cocoa framework elements and make an api available to script VoiceOver. When this becomes true there will be almost no limits for what VoiceOver can do.
They're moving, fixed hotspots on El Captan and bla bla something Windows Screen readers already provided almost fifteen years ago ... let's take a look at what is comming next.
I have used both however, use jaws at work.
as people have said it would really depend what operating system you want touse.
Jaws costs a lot but its worth it.
Oh and shout out to kingdekka
For me it's VO all the way. When I first started using JAWS back in the day I loved it. That was the only screen reader I knew at the time, and I thought all the features were so cool. For instance, I can remember switching between the different languages just to hear how Eloquence handled them. I also had great experiences with HJ's and then FS's tech support back then. But it seems that over the years, their tech support has gone downhill. In addition, it seems JFW has become more bloated. I used to help a sister out who up until recently was also a JFW user, and in order to change one simple setting such as the voice used for reading text we had to go through a lot of seemingly unnecessary steps. With VoiceOver all one has to do is go into the VoiceOver utility and search for the desired setting, or use the hotkeys. Some of the AppleCare technicians even know VoiceOver too. Price is also a big factor here for me. It seems VO is updated along with the OS, and no extra cost is involved. That's how it should be imho. So while VO may seem a bit overwhelming at times, I'm sticking with it for the foreseeable future. If I ever run Windows on here, I'm getting NVDA and perhaps System Access.
as someone who's used both myself, I have to say that voiceover stomps jaws all day. Big up to Brian Mcglashan.
I agree with the previous poster about voiceover. I love the simplicity of VO and how the entire mack OS is simple as well. If you know IOS, the learning curve wigth VO isn't that hard to grasp. However, the curve is deep, and frustrating at the beginning. Like people have said on here I was a JAWS user since I was in grade school. That's all we ever used in those days. Ever since I have gotten my mack I've loved it despite all of the frustration. I admit, I had thoughts of switching to windows a few times. Now, I would never go back.
I totally agree with the previous couple of comments. I was a window-eyes power user back in the 90s and up till 2009-10. Then I switched to the mac and have loved it ever since. While there is a steep curve in terms of learning VO, it is well worth it. Simplicity and ease of use is the key. Plus, you don't have to always switch to the virtual cursors and mouse cursor, thank god! Lol, but yes, if you are thinking of switching to the mac, I would encourage you to look at the various resources on here to see if that is really what you want to do.
HTH, and good luck!
I switched to the mac less than a year ago.
I use pages for some editing and writing. I export the documents to ms. word format if I want to share them with a windows suer.
I admit that I'm still learning about advanced features but pages seems to have come a long way.
I also use numbers and it works pretty well.
I very rarely use keynote but once had to use it to help with a presentation and it worked ok.
What really sold me on getting a mac was the fact that I could have both operating systems on the same machine. I could even create a virtual machine if necessary.
I also liked the built-in screen reader and it does help if you have an iPhone.
some of it was frustrating but I was eager to learn after I bought my mac.
I think voiceover is better than jaws. For one voiceover bugs are fixed a lot faster than jaws bugs, heck you're lucky if fs fixes any bugs at all, each version just gets worse and worse. If I could afford it I would switch to a mack. I think having a built in free screen reader is also an advantage.
I've been a long time Windows user now with ZT Fusion 2019. I picked up a new MacBook Air 13 Retina which just came out last week because I was hopeful that Mac caught up with JAWS and namely Fusion. I am however struggling to reach the efficiency in VoiceOver that I get out of Fusion. My biggest complaint with Fusion & Windows is their stability. I find Fusion to need a restart several times a day (I'm an Director of IT spending 10 hours a day online). Fusion is fabulous when it runs well. In VO I find that everything is less intuitive. For example in JAWS nav of a webpage is 'h' for Headers and it will tell you the heading level 1, 2, 3, etc 'p' for paragraphs, f for form elements; alternatively press 'tab' for whatever the next actionable item is. The 'insert' + Function keys for links, forms, open apps, heading or just to tell you the time and date are easy to remember and just 2 keys.
Please do correct me if I'm wrong but in VoiceOver everything involves more keys or rotor changes and flicks. For example navigation of many things including web pages or dialogs involves VO+Shift+up/down arrows to interact with or end interaction. This to me slows down my day. I believe it was Pete above who pointed out usability and efficiency.
I really want a "stable" system which it appears Apple VoiceOver has with MS Office 365 and other apps. But I find that JAWS / Fusion 2019 when running well slaughters VoiceOver. If anyone has cracked how to use VoiceOver in a fast paced enterprise setting to tackle thousands of tasks per day I'd like to hear it.
P.S. Long time iPhone user and I will say Apple VoiceOver on iOS is amazingly good.
I just got my first iPhone earlier this year, and I have to agree with the previous comment. I'm still learning, but have found VO on my iPhone 7 to be very responsive. I think I'm getting better at the gestures too.
I haven't read the above comments, so forgive me if this is all repetition, but...
This is kind of an impossible question to answer, because it's not just a comparison of two screen readers. It's a comparison of two completely different operating systems, and two different screen readers. So any feedback you get is going to be a mixed bag of things people like or dislike about Windows or Mac, plus things people like or dislike about JAWS or VO, and then plenty of unique interactions that arise between the two.
That said, personally, I left the Windows ecosystem for a Mac running VO, and have never looked back. I haven't run a modern version of JAWS on a modern PC with a solid state drive, so I can't comment on comparisons, but I can say that my VO on Mac experience has been more stable, more intuitive, and generally better for my individual use case than anything I experienced on Windows. But again...that's a purely subjective response, for my particular use case. Yours may be different.
I'd agree with the statement that you need to look at both items separately, operating system and screen reader. Windows and macOS are different by design, and do things differently, so sometimes what you are experiencing has nothing to do with the screen reader, but the actual design of the OS.
Then you need to consider your intended use, and what you plan to do on the system, and see if the screen reader on that system will let you be as productive as you can to do the task. VO is great, in that it's built in to the OS, it has support for allot of things out of the box, but then again, it isn't as productive under certain things. Try working with allot of files and moving things around or arranging folders for example. Having to interact with everything all the time is a real slowdowner IMO. Yes you can tab around, but who wants to tab 100 times to get to something? :) It can be done, but is it the most productive way? But then again, VO is snappy and fast (when properly configured/tweaked) and provides a tight integration to the OS. What it is lacking as someone has already mentioned, is a powerful scripting language with models that can extract and manipulate information and put the power user in controll!
JAWS on the other hand is expensive, and (this is my own opinion), hasn't had what I would consider much inovations in the last few versions, given the large team that FS/VFO/Vispero/(whatever it'll be called next year) has and all the resources and years of experience that they've had with the product. It also isn't perfect, as many applications on Windows still don't have JAWS access, and now with Universal Apps (win 10), you have to tab around to get anything done as well. So it will really come down to what you need, how you work, and what will be the better tool to get the job done; but I think that has been stated already lol.
I use both operating systems on a daily basis, and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, VO and JAWS have their strenghts and weaknesses. You could even apply this to Windows only! I use NVDA sometimes instead of JAWS because it has strengths that JAWS doesn't. So while we can give you our experiences and opinions, nobody can really tell you what is better, because the question is very subjective and has allot of variables involved. But thank God that we have choices! 20 years ago, you wanted to use a computer, JAWS 3.3/3.7 and Windows 95/98 were your only choice! lol
Now for my corrections:
1. If you format your mac, unless you have stuff saved on a completely separate hard drive or partition, iCloud/Google Drive/Dropbox etc, it *will* erase your user content along with the OS! I get quite a few macs for repairs in my shop, and just like any computer, if you "format the drive", all data is gone, regardless if it's Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Linux etc. So just to be clear, unless your data is backed up, if you boot your mac into recovery and use disk utility to format the drive, everything will be gone. If you reinstall macOS and don't save/backup, gone! It's just like resetting your iPhone/iPad, if you do a content erase/reset, will your photos, videos, texts, notes etc come back when you restart? Not unless you had them backed up to iCloud or some other place like a iTunes backup and then you restored it... :)
2. ProTools with VO. Vo can be used with PT, but you will need FlowTools to make it work, so while it is fair to say VO can be made to work with ProTools, it isn't "out of the box" like if you were using it with Logic Pro.
3. Finally, do not compare VO on iOS to the macOS. Yesit's VO, yes it's made by the same company, but they are different in that sometimes the macOS will go with unfixed bugs for various releases, while the iOS will get faster fixes. And again, not every mac app is as accessible with VO, as many of the app store apps on iOS are. I'm only saying this because I've had a few customers who wanted macs because they experienced VO on the iOS side, or they were told how great VO is on iOS and that it would be the same on the macOS, but then they were very disappointed to see that VO wasn't quite the same on the mac. Again, part of that was due to the fact that macOS is different by design and has things you need to get use to, especially if all you know is Windows. Some people have a hard time going from Windows XP to Windows 7, and that was in the same OS family! Likewise people didn't like changes from Windows 7 to Windows 8/8.1/10. When the design of how something works is changed, it will take getting use to or adapting to, or in some cases, leaving it altogether. I know of some people who switched to mac because they just hated Windows 10 that much lol.
Personally to me, these are all tools; just like I have a Dewalt drill that works great for drilling large holes in wood or concrete, I have a Hitachi drill that works great for putting in screws with precision. So I'll use Windows for one thing and macOS for the other, as long as I'm productive and can get the work done. Of course, if you don't have the luxury of having both, then you'll have to look at your use case, and determine which of the 2 will sute you best. That's why I always say, go to an Apple store, sit in front of a mac for a few hours and use it, do that a couple times, then you can dcide if it's usable for you or not. :)
What you don't want to do is try to go with Apple is better because... or Microsoft is better because... or VO is better because... jaws is better because... We all have different usage, skill levels, tolerance and abilities. What I might consider to be OK and usable you might consider unacceptable and unusable, or vise-versa.
I have a Dell Xps with Jaws and NVDA and a macbook air with voiceover.
But as others have said on here the learning curve for voiceover is very steep, even if you are an iOS user, and there are alot of multy-key combinations to remember.
I'm still getting used to it and I'm learning things about it every day.
I agree with everything that's been discussed thus far. I will give you my current thoughts.
VoiceOver and macOS are being neglected by Apple. Bugs have remained unresolved for years and Apple seems to have no interest in fixing them with minor or major macOS updates. Apple is no longer innovating when it comes to VoiceOver features. The last somewhat meaningful enhancement was made last year to PDF support. However, it isn't perfect and Apple has ignored repeated requests to fix the issues that remain.
Apple's focus is on iOS, and this is yet again demonstrated with the latest version of macOS. The group FaceTime feature in macOS has many unlabeled buttons. This is absolutely unacceptable! I have reported these issues to Apple, but they remain in the latest version of Mojave that was recently released. At this point, I don't know if I would recommend people to use Macs. The experience isn't completely awful, but it's been degrading for years and no one cares. I bet you Steve would be turning in his grave if he knew what these people were doing to the Macintosh. Someone somewhere decided long ago that macOS wasn't a priority anymore and it makes me sad and angry. VoiceOver has so much potential, but it's being neglected.
At this point, I'm more excited about Windows 10 and the strides Microsoft is making with Narrator. We can now walk up to any Windows 10 computer and get access that's almost as good as VoiceOver. The best part is Microsoft shows no signs of slowing down while Apple appears to have given up years ago. It's a shame.
Although Microsoft is making narator for W10 is not the same of voice over. The quality of the voice say all about it. Voice over has great voices and microsoft voice is difficult to follow. When Microsoft comes with voices that are similar to VO that will be great.
Both JAWS, and VoiceOver are good in their own ways.
I'm personally a VoiceOver user. I've used Microsoft word a couple of times with it, and was able to create files. Although this was last year when I had a subscription the the Office365.
As for emailing. The native mail app I've used for years, and works pretty well in my case. Of course one of the advantages with Apple products is that their software is working well with their screen reader.
I can't say much about Excel.
I've recently started using JAWS, because of my Job hunt. Some employers have needed the use of a Windows machine.
I've not had a chance to try my hands at using Office with JAWS, but when Window Eyes was still around I did use it with Office.
So to sum it up. Both are good in their own ways. I"m a VO user, but I'm OK with using JAWS if need be.