Making computers accessible – Ted Henter and JAWS

Ted Henter may not be a name that you know off the top of your head, but it was Henter's company HENTER-JOYCE, Inc. that developed the JAWS for Windows (JFW) Screen Reader Software. This software was first introduced as JAWS for DOS in 1988 followed by JAWS for Windows in 1995, and is used by computer users who are blind or partially sighted computer to access a whole world of information, education and job-related applications including browsing the web, reading or writing email messages, re-calculating spreadsheets or accessing information in a database.

"JAWS has been an integral part of my life since I started using it in 1997," says Jason Fayre, National Lead, Accessibility and Assistive Technology, at CNIB. "Not only do I use it personally, I have had the privilege to be able to work with countless individuals to assist them in making the most of the product in their personal and professional lives."

Innovations to the product included the use of a free, multi-lingual software speech synthesizer that allowed people to use JFW with any computer with a soundcard and speakers. JFW could also be used to read pages on the internet as if they were in a word processing document, and included the ability to copy and paste text from the web into other documents.

In 2000, Henter and his company were honoured for their work with CNIB's Winston Gordon Award.