Free screenreader software to assist the blind and visually impaired

Over on David Wilcox’s Designing for Civil Society site, David recently reported about Roger Wilson-Hinds, who was demonstrating screenreader software at the e-democracy conference. The screenreader (known as ‘Thunder’) not only reads text out loud, but also can increase the text size for those that can see. It also helps with managing information, RSS feeds, podcasts and much more.

David wrote:

“One of the most interesting people I met at the e-democracy 07 conference was Roger Wilson-Hinds, who was demonstrating some amazing screen-reading software for blind and visually impaired people called Thunder. Amazing because Thunder works really well, and because it is free.
Roger explained to me that in the past such software has cost £700, but he and his wife Margaret are passionately devoted to providing it free to any blind person. They cover their costs by undertaking project work, which in their first year has brought in £150,000. Both Roger and Margaret are blind.
What they need now are public bodies and others to work with them on promoting the software, and also making their own sites more accessible.”

If you head over to David Wilcox’s article about his meeting with Roger, you will also be able to see / hear an interview and a demonstration of how Thunder works so easily.

At present the screenreader is only available for windows platforms and is free for home use. The easy to use software can be downloaded for free and installed and up and running in a matter of minutes from

On the website it describes the application as a reading aid and restores the ability to write, keep up to date with information, learning and work, while remaining within the mainstream of Society. CIC is a not for profit company delivering free talking screenreader computer software to blind people anywhere in the world for their personal use at home.

Roger also regularly writes and you can follow his blog at the Blind Blogger.

I hope that one day I will also meet Roger who is an inspiration to many, and has helped so many people be able to lead a more inclusive life with his software to help those that are blind or visually impaired to use the internet easily and take part in a modern society.