DIgital COMPetence Screenreader NETwork (Dicomp

Published on: 11/05/2010

The DICOMP-S.NET project mainly aims at supporting the digital competence of blind and visually impaired people in Europe, a group that is still facing considerable discrimination regarding their participation in modern training and education processes; the DICOMP-S.NET project will therefore, for the first time, make available a free screen reader for blind and visually impaired people in Europe and, in an extensive dissemination campaign, distribute it directly to the target group.

Further to this, blind and visually impaired tutors will be properly trained to be able to support blind people in the use of the screen reader and to solve problems;  the tutor training will be partially done via an e-learning application. An essential requirement for the free screen reader is its compatibility with the new Microsoft operating system Vista to be accessible by the target group.

Description of target users and groups

Main target group of this project are blind and visually impaired people. This group is still experiencing major difficulties and discrimination in participating to training and to the education process in general.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

In a first phase, the screen reader, which is already available and operative, will be made available to the individual project partners from the various partner countries for intensive target group pre-testing. Necessary adaptations and country-specific remarks will be made in a unified assessment protocol; they will be integrated into the screen reader programme code by one partner organisation. At the same time, a tutor training will take place in each country, to allow blind and visually impaired people to work as tutors for the new screen reader and to support the target group with the use of the screen reader. In order to generate high relevance for the individual partner countries, the screen reader and all texts and tools concerned will be translated into the respective partner languages.

While the future tutors will be trained through an e-learning-based application and in joint face to face tutor meetings, a big and broad information campaign regarding the screen reader will be launched with the help of all networks and target group associations. The project has the ambition to disseminate the use of the screen reader and its tools throughout Europe and to give blind and visually impaired people, for the first time, the possibility to be part of a e-Europe.

Technology solution

Technology choice: Mainly (or only) open standards

Main results, benefits and impacts

The  project results were the following:

  • Creation of a free screen reader in all partner languages, including all accompanying documents (menu navigation, help texts, manuals);
  • Tutor training for blind and visually impaired people for the screen reader, partially via an e-learning application; 
  • Dissemination through  national information campaigns;
  • National road - shows for the screen reader;
  • International conference and symposium.

Return on investment

Return on investment: €49-299,000

Lessons learnt

We have successfully implemented the free screen reader in the partner countries in their respective languages. The most important element of the project was a good tutor training program in support of blind and visually impaired persons.

Scope: Pan-European