Welcome to 2024! I hope the year is starting off well for you. The NV Access team are all back on deck and looking forward to a fantastic year. If you have written to us over Christmas / New Year and not yet got a reply, bear with us! We’re still catching up on correspondence, and will get back to you shortly.
First up this year, we have a new release! NVDA 2023.3.2 is a security patch release, so the only change from 2023.3 is this one fix (and yes this is the second fix to fix the fix that wasn’t fixed in the first fix). All the exciting features we’ve started talking about for 2024.1 are NOT in this patch. New and exciting features and updates are all still coming in the 2024.1 beta (more below).
So, what does this patch which fixes the patch fix, fix (I think that’s enough of that)? “An issue was fixed (ok one more) that prevents possible system access and arbitrary code execution with system privileges for unauthenticated users.” Do check out the 2023.3.2 release announcement for the full details and download links.
Note that we have not yet (as of In-Process being published) released the technical details. These will be on the NVDA security advisories page once available – thank you for your patience!
NVDA 2024.1 Beta 5
Along with the new 2023.3.2 patch release, we also have a new 2024.1 beta – now up to NVDA 2024.1 Beta 5! There have been many updates since Beta 1. The one I’ll highlight to start with, is that yes, the security patch from 2023.3.2 is included in 2024.1 Beta 5.
Other updates since Beta 1 include:
- Security patch from 2023.3.2 (I know, I said it twice)
- Bug fix related to logging
- Add-on store stability
- Fixes for combo-boxes (in iTunes & web browsers particularly)
- Updates to documentation and translations
- Speech mode fixes
- Battery time reporting and mouse echo improvements
- Updates to translations
What is new in 2024.1?
I listed the full “highlights” in In-Process when the first beta came out, but it is quite extensive. So, here is the dot point version of the highlights:
- New On-Demand speech mode (& ability to choose which speech modes to cycle with NVDA+s)
- New native selection option in Firefox, allowing copying of formatted information
- Bulk actions in add-on store (eg enabling multiple add-ons at once)
- Moved audio output device and ducking options to audio settings panel, NVDA+control+u
- eSpeak-NG, LibLouis braille translator, and Unicode CLDR have been updated
- New Thai, Filipino and Romanian braille tables are available
- Many bug fixes, particularly for the Add-on Store, braille, Libre Office, Microsoft Office and audio
Note that is only the HIGHLIGHTS. The full NVDA 2024.1 Beta 5 release announcement has a much more comprehensive “What’s new” link with ALL the changes.
- NVDA 2024.1 (Beta and later) breaks compatibility with add-ons made for NVDA 2023.3 and earlier
- Windows 7, and Windows 8 are no longer supported. Windows 8.1 is the minimum Windows version supported
WebAIM Screen Reader User Survey
The 10th WebAIM screen reader user survey is now open, but only until the end of January. This survey is important for several reasons. As the largest survey of its kind, it is good for getting a sense of what is popular. More than that, many organisations use the data to help inform choices and priorities around accessibility. We encourage all users of NVDA to complete the survey and have your views heard.
Welcome Gerald Hartig as NV Access’s New Chief Technology Officer
On 9th January 2023, Michael Curran, NV Access founder, posted the following announcement, copied here in full:
“We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Gerald Hartig as the new Chief Technology Officer at NV Access. With over a decade of expertise in software engineering and product management, Gerald brings not just technical proficiency but also a unique personal perspective to our team. His dedication to accessibility is fueled by his experiences as a parent of children with special needs, aligning perfectly with our mission.
Gerald’s responsibilities at NV Access include:
Defining product strategy and roadmaps for NVDA and related services.
Engaging with our user and open source developer communities to understand their needs and coordinate contributions.
Prioritizing issues and projects to streamline development and ensure maximum impact for all users.
Implementing innovative solutions to enhance NVDA’s global reach and effectiveness.
Overseeing technical infrastructure to ensure stability and security.
After 17 incredible years of working full-time on NVDA, I am excited to begin to transition these responsibilities to our new Chief Technology Officer. This change will enable me to dedicate my time to technical consulting for NV Access and its partners, but importantly also allows me a much-needed break to spend time with my family and contemplate new directions in life. Rest assured, my commitment and belief in NVDA stays as strong as ever, and I will continue to support its journey in every way I can. I am confident that under Gerald’s product leadership, NVDA will continue to grow and break new ground in accessibility technology.
Please join me in welcoming Gerald into our community, and I very much look forward to watching the next chapter for NVDA and NV Access unfold.
- Michael Curran, NV access Founder”
Thank you to our supporters!
We work hard to ensure the longevity of NVDA as a free screen reader for anyone who needs it, anywhere in the world. This important value has helped us reach well over 250,000 users worldwide. We couldn’t do this without support from many wonderful organisations and individuals who donate to NV Access. Some donate as a one-off donation, and many setup a recurring regular contribution.
This time around, we would like to highlight two organisations who have supported us recently:
#ID24 – Inclusive Design 24
“Inclusive Design 24 (#id24) is a free 24-hour online event for the global community. It celebrates inclusive design and shares knowledge and ideas from analogue to digital, from design to development, from planners to practitioners, and everything and everyone in between.”
“Xero is Accounting software made for small businesses and sole traders.”
Thanks to both organisations for your support! And thank you too to all those who quietly donate in the background, without wanting recognition – we see you and thank you as well!
If you would like to donate to NV Access, we’d love to have your support – whether a one off donation or recurring. You can donate any amount too, it doesn’t have to be a lot. We are a registered charity in Australia. Donations in Australia are tax deductible.
That’s all for this time around. Do download either the stable point release, or the latest beta, and do share your thoughts in the NVDA user group. We’ll be back at the end of the month, as we get closer to the final release of NVDA 2024.1