New Zealand-based Intergen has partnered with Microsoft to create a new online reader for the visually-impaired. ButtercupReader is a free application that reads text to visually-impaired and blind people, letting them better access digital books and the information contained within Word documents.
The only software needed to access ButtercupReader is Microsoft Silverlight, which is free and just takes a few minutes to download.
Intergen provides information technology solutions across New Zealand and the world based exclusively on Microsoft’s tools and technologies. The company worked with Microsoft and The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind and in a relatively short period of time developed an inventive application that is free, open-source software.
Chris Auld, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Intergen, says “Our goal with ButtercupReader is to show that Internet applications can also be accessible.
“Buttercup can be used worldwide by the publishing industry, the education sector, information providers and corporate trainers to make materials and products accessible to people with print disabilities such as blindness or dyslexia.”
Andrew Tokeley, the lead developer on the project says, “ButtercupReader and Silverlight enable people with print disabilities around the world, including those in developing countries, to better access the information contained within billions of Word documents, helping them to lead more independent and productive lives”.
Adaptive Technology experts from the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind helped Intergen to ensure that Buttercup provided a highly accessible experience for users with a wide range of print disabilities.
Kevin Prince, the Foundation’s Adaptive Technology Services Manager, says, “Buttercup’s design is exciting and intuitive to use.
“Intergen has done really clever things with all the interactive design interfaces and the result is a really sharp, well-designed experience. The key to it all is that it’s absolutely accessible – it can be there, ready to go on a web browser, with no special applications or expense required, he says.”