Ever wanted to meet royalty? Creators of screen reader NVDA Mick Curran and Jamie Teh will get the chance this Saturday when Kate and Wills come to visit!
Mick Curran and Jamie Teh, inventors of the non-profit screen reader Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA), will attend the royal welcoming function this Saturday 19 April and rub shoulders with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
We chatted to Mick about their company, NV Access, and how he felt about being in the same room as the royal couple.
What is NVDA and what makes it different to other screen readers?
NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) is software that reads out the text on your computer screen, thus allowing blind and vision impaired people to use a computer independently for work, study and leisure. With the help of NVDA, people without sight can use many popular programs to perform tasks such as word processing, emailing, chat, reading the news, Internet banking and shopping, managing finances, and much more.
NVDA is certainly not the only “screen reader” available. However, it stands out from the crowd in several important ways. These are portability (allowing a user to carry it around on a USB key and use it on public access computers in libraries, universities and net cafes), that it has been translated into more than 40 languages, and the fact that it is entirely free! These points ensure NVDA can be used by anyone, regardless of their language, location or economic status.
Are you excited to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?
It is certainly a great privilege to have been invited to be in the presence of their Royal Highnesses, both from a personal perspective and as a representative of NV Access and the work we do.
Have there been special requests or requirements expressed to you about the event?
Obviously with a reception such as this, there have been certain security precautions put in place, a particular dress code mentioned, and some small reminders on protocol. But other than that we are not aware of much more than the fact that this will be just an enjoyable luncheon.
On that dress code – we hear it’s supposed to be quite strict. What will you wear to meet the Prince and Princess?
It will be a suit for me, though apparently no tie required.
What do you hope to speak to the royals about?
Given that there are around 220 people invited, it is rather unlikely that we could expect a personal meeting. It is certainly already enough that NV Access has been included in this event among several other charities representing Queensland. However, we are aware that both their Royal Highnesses include the disadvantaged as one area that interests them in the charitable sector, so if the opportunity was to arise, we (as charity directors and as blind people ourselves) would be most honoured to outline how NV Access and the NVDA software is providing blind and vision impaired people around the world with the tools necessary to get an education or seek employment.
These are two things that would be extremely hard or impossible to achieve for those blind or vision impaired people in developing countries without access to software such as ours.