Intro to Screen Readers
Screen readers are software applications that transform the code behind visual user interfaces into synthesized speech.
Screen readers can also transform the code behind visual user interfaces into Braille on a refreshable Braille display. See a refreshable Braille display in action in this video from the University of Washington: University of Washington DO-IT Program Video showing a Braille Display (22 seconds)
When screen readers speak all of the content on the page without stopping, the content is presented in a particular order, called the reading order.
Screen reader users usually use keyboard keys to navigate. For example, in most screen readers, you can press the h key to move from heading to heading, following the reading order. Screen readers also provide access to buttons, links and other controls. For example, a screen reader user might press tab to move through active elements on the page, hear "Link, Glossary," and then press the Enter key to activate that link.
There are many reading options and commands. When detailed analysis is needed, screen reader users can even step through sentences by word and through words by character.
Screen readers are available for desktop computers, laptop computers, tablet computers, mobile phones, music devices and more. This includes touch screens like iPad and iPhone, where users use gesture to control the screen reader.