Accessible Software

Accessible Software and Assistive Technology are programs/tools designed to support students with disabilities and accommodations in order to make online coursework more accessible. Here is a list of the programs we either provide or can assist you with. If you are interested in learning more about accessible software for reading, writing and more, please come to the ICAT lab! Technology Assistants are available Monday-Friday for software demos and instruction.

    Text-to-Speech Software

  • Kurzweil 3000 offers a combined scanning and reading feature that is capable of reproducing text on screen as well as audio files of scanned text. Kurzweil 3000 also includes a number of study skills tools such as bookmarks, highlighting and sticky notes, which students can use to improve their reading comprehension.

    • Student Review: "Kurweil is an awesome program. The DRC uploaded all of my chapter readings from my textbook for me so I didn't have to worry about doing it. I am able to highlight and annotate on the pdf and the best part is that I can extract those certain highlights and annotations onto a separate blank document so that all of them are gathered on one document to go back and look at later. It has helped me a lot with my note taking and helps me focus when I read because I highlight as I read. Thank you for providing me with these resources as they have benefited and encouraged my learning experience here at UCSC. I really appreciate it."
  • NaturalReader offers customizable natural sounding voices, a very friendly user interface, and a floating tool bar that can be read from the internet and other tabs. This software is a free download that converts text format into spoken audio.  

  • Balabolka is a software that uses versions of Microsoft Speech API which allows for customization of voice, pitch/reading, rate, and can convert written text into MP3 files.


  • Speech-to-Text Software

  • Dragon Naturally Speaking is a voice recognition software program that allows the user to create documents with one’s voice. Users train Dragon with commands that will start and stop programs and control program windows. Dragon is known for being helpful for those who have disabilities that make typing or writing difficult.


  • Screen Enlargement Software

  • MAGic is screen enlargement software that displays text and images on a computer screen in a variety of magnifications and fonts. In addition, users can add background tint and reverse the colors on the screen for greater contrast.

  • ZoomText Magnifier enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen with perfect clarity, making all of your applications easy to see and use.


  • Other Assistive Software

  • JAWS (Job Access With Speech) Screen reader, developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse. 

  • Adobe Acrobat Pro is the industry standard PDF reader that allows for text editing and formatting. Useful for preparing PDF files for text-to-speech software.

  • Glean is a web browser application that allows students to capture high-quality audio recordings and, in real-time, annotate with labels and text notes. Audio will show up on a timeline and notes written are attached to points of time in the audio, allowing students to locate and playback important parts of the lecture with ease.
  • Android Live Transcribe App Icon; A green background with the outline of a white microphone, next to it is the outline of a sheet of paper with lines implying textLive Transcribe is an app that provides free, real-time, speech-to-text transcriptions to make everyday conversations more accessible among people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, using just your Android phone. Using Google's state-of-the-art automatic speech recognition technology, Live Transcribe shows speech and sound as text on your screen, so you can participate in conversations going on in the world around you more easily. You can type responses on the screen, get alerted when your name is spoken, and search within transcriptions.
  • Sound Amplification Android App Icon; A green background with the white outline of an ear and a curved line next to it representing sound
    Sound Amplifier enhances audio from your Android device, using headphones to improve listening clarity. Use Sound Amplifier to filter, augment, and amplify sounds around you and on your device. Sound Amplifier increases important sounds, like conversations, without over-boosting distracting noises. With two simple sliders, you can quickly customize sound enhancement and reduce background noise.
  • Google Text-to-Speech App Icon; A blue chat box with white quotation marks, above a white background with grey lines signifying textGoogle Text-to-speech powers applications to read the text on your screen aloud.
  • Voice Access Android App; A blue background with the white outline of a person next to white lines signifying speechVoice Access is an accessibility service that helps users who have difficulty manipulating a touch screen (e.g. due to paralysis, tremor, or temporary injury) use their Android devices by voice.

  • Imbedded Iphone accessibility functions

  • A photo of Apple iOS settings showing where users can find keyboard settings

    By turning on the settings in General settings ->keyboard, you can activate the live transcription function. The live transcription function is a default dictation keyboard setting. To use it you would just click the microphone button on the keyboard whenever you type.

  • A screenshot of a description of Apple's accessibility software "Siri", the photo reads: "Siri can do a lot more than set alarms and call your friends. With Shortcuts, it has the power to use your favorite apps to help you get things done with just a tap or by saying, 'Hey Siri.' Want to check the ETA of the next train on your commute? Or reorder a latte just the way you like it (iced, sugar-free vanilla, with soy)? Siri now works hand in hand with a range of apps- and even suggests actions at just the right time. Custom phrases let you do it all by asking Siri."The voice action equivalent for Apple would be Siri, in conjunction with the equally beneficial Shortcuts app. Read the description in the picture for more details.

  • iPhone Apps

  • A screenshot of the Apple iOS webstore depicting the page to download SpeechifySpeechify is an intelligent text-to-speech audio-reader that turns your reading material into interactive audiobooks so that you can save time, retain more information, and stay focused. Like your own personal reading assistant, Speechify can read books, documents, and articles while you cook, work out, commute, or any other activity you can think of.
  • A screenshot of the Apple iOS webstore depicting the page to download Hear BoostHear Boost gives you enhanced hearing and recording ability to easily capture far away conversations. Hear the world around you in an enhanced way like you may have never heard it before. Listen and record up to 200x what your microphone normally delivers.