December 2012
The WebbIE 4 Beta is now available. Completely re-written in .Net, this is a more stable and reliable and modern WebbIE. Do check it out and tell me what you think.
July 2012
I've built a Windows Installer MSI for the Juice (iPodder) podcatcher client. It's a popular program - nothing to do with me - but it hasn't been updated for many years so the installer does not work on Windows Vista or 7. I've done an installer that ameliorates most of these problems.
June 2012
Thanks to changes by the BBC you will need to upgrade WebbIE to the latest version to use BBC iPlayer Radio. This is now version 7.0.1, in WebbIE 3.117.
A number of people have asked for updates for WebbIE - wondering why I haven't done a new version for a while. I've been working on moving WebbIE from the old Visual Basic 6 code to new .Net code, which is time-consuming. You can see the very first program here: BBC Live Radio.
May 2012
You can watch a great video about WebbIE on YouTube courtesy of a user who goes by the name of crippledcritic: WebbIE overview by crippledcritic on YouTube. Thanks!
August 2011
A new version of WebbIE mainly to fix bugs and inconsistencies with the Thunder screenreader.
I've done a webpage that will show you all the radio stations in the WebbIE Internet Radio Tuner program, so you can copy and paste the URLs into something else if you like. Internet Radio Tuner Radio Stations.

May 2011
New options in WebbIE for people setting up systems for other people, and the ability to scale the text size in Disk Explorer. This is all intended to make it easier for people trying to configure a WebbIE system for someone else. For example, you can now set WebbIE to display your bookmarks when it loads, so you can set up the system to show the main websites of interest.
PDF Reader now handles more PDF files. I don't know if it was just pdftohtml getting old, but more files seem to not work with it, so I've introduced pdftotext to handle them.
March 2011
Bug-fixing. RSS News Reader, WebbIE, BBC iPlayer TV (as always).
February 2011
Article on WebbIE at Ham Radio and Vision for Blind and Vision-Impaired Hams - thanks!
December 2010
Bug-fixing. Various different screenreader users have reported problems with WebbIE, cursoring around not saying what they expect. I think the problem is some code I put in to force Narrator and Thunder to speak when they weren't doing so. I've finessed this to only operate when Thunder or Narrator is running, which I hope will fix it. Hard to tell with all those different screenreaders and versions out there. Also fixes for Google search and BBC iPlayer age verification.
September 2010
The BBC has changed their Radio iPlayer pages, breaking my program, which in turn finally gave me the impetus to change to using their WMA streams as pointed out to me by a helpful user two weeks ago. Win win all round!
They changed the TV player as well, so I've had to fix that too. Sigh.
August 2010
Another new version of WebbIE, featuring iPlayer updates and a significantly improved WebbIE engine - more complex sites will work much better.
July 2010
Ivor Styles has written a guide to using the BBC iPlayer programs with the NVDA screenreader and has kindly sent it for publication here.
June 2010
Accessible World Tek Talk has a great piece on Accessible Podcatcher, describing the basics of how it is used. Accessible World Tek Talk presents Rick Harmon discussing Podcasting June 7, 2010.
May 2010
I've managed to add the local BBC Radio stations to the BBC iPlayer Radio programme, but there is a new Beta iPlayer program coming out so that might break things. I've also done some work on WebbIE to make it work better for users who use it with vision and magnification.
March 2010
Despite some work and appeals the BBC hasn't managed to produce a good way to access their radio stations. I've therefore hacked the BBC TV player to work for Radio stations - it does the same combination of screen scraping and mouse moving as the TV version. This is fiddly and fragile as an approach, but it's better than nothing. Get it in the latest 3.105 version.
January 2010
Fixed two WebbIE bugs: one is that when you moved around the page (e.g. skip links) then your screenreader might read the whole page from the top, rather than the new line, and the other is that some web pages caused WebbIE to crash (Yahoo! mail being one.) Get version 3.103 now!
December 2009
Well, after struggling with the tabbing mechanism and some user problems, I've given up for now on making tab move between links. So we're back to the old pre-3.11 WebbIE - tab just takes you from address bar to main text area. Also fixed Favourites which was a problem for some people.
More interesting are lots of improvements to PDF - passwords, rewrapping of text and page navigation.
November 2009
WebbIE 3.100, a few bugfixes. And some bad news: the BBC's removal of the Real Audio streams has not yet been fixed. So the BBC iPlayer Radio program will still just open the BBC webpage for the radio station rather than play it.
October 2009
WebbIE 3.97, quickly after 3.94. This is because the BBC has killed the Real Audio stations for radio, so I've had to quickly move to Windows Media Player streams in the new BBC Live Radio.
I've also uploaded from the Wayback Machine the exellent and informative pages written by Veli-Pekka Tätilä from Finland on various assistive technology subjects. Veli-Pekka Tätilä on Accessibility.
Oh, and WebbIE 3.98! Lots of people (well, geeks) ask for the tab key and heading shortcuts to work in WebbIE like in Internet Explorer, so I've done it that way. Also, updates and fixes to lots of programs, and a new Korean version!
September 2009
WebbIE 3.94, with lots of changes, notably a means of getting the BBC TV stations to play.
Added Turning off scripting errors to Support to show you how to turn off those annoying scripting errors that can pop up in some applications.
June 2009
WebbIE 3.89, using the new numbering system, is out. Bugfixes for everyone.
May 2009
WebbIE 3.8 is out! It's version 3.8.5, as of 19 May 2009. You get a new Calendar program, a newer working BBC iPlayer programme, and some really cool new features in WebbIE including the ability to not show numbers on every link!
February 2009
More bugfixes in 3.7.10!
January 2009
Couple of bugfix releases of WebbIE. Most notably in 3.7.9 (5 Feb 2009) I've made the update mechanism stop triggering Vista User Access Control (UAC). The update mechanism is fired once a week by any WebbIE program, so it will have looked to users like the WebbIE and Accessible programs were not Vista-compliant!
December 2008
We've managed to add dozens of local radio stations in the BBC iPlayer program, and fixed WebbIE's Google Search function among many other bugfixes in our latest update, 3.7.5. Download 3.7.5 now!
September 2008
Most of our support queries at the moment are about the BBC Listen Again and iPlayer. You'll find these two pages useful: RealPlayer and the new Flash for getting Adobe Flash working so you can listen to the BBC iPlayer programmes.
August 2008
A new version of the WebbIE and Accessible programs is now available to download, free as ever! Download the latest WebbIE 3.7.3. Here are some details of what is new in 3.7.3:
  • New BBC iPlayer Listen Again program. The BBC has changed their Listen Again service, so the old BBC Listen Again program has stopped working. This, and the briefly-lived iPlayer programs, have been replaced by this new BBC iPlayer Listen Again program. It lets you get all the programmes for the last week from BBC radio, and also lets you open pages containing BBC television programmes too. You will still need RealPlayer or Real Alternative installed to hear the radio programmes.
  • New Clock program. This is a simple program to tell you the time, chime, and set reminders. Thanks to Kevin Cussick for working on this one.
  • WebbIE improvements. You'll no longer get those annoying Script Error messages, Google search works again (it was broken at the end of August) and now lets you access the second page of results, and old programs are correctly removed from your machine. You'll be able to get more information on inaccessible Flash and Java applets on those few sites that provide it. You can go to web pages by pressing Control and O and typing the web address, just like Internet Explorer. And Window-Eyes users will find that WebbIE no longer steals the Control, Alt and W shortcut key.
June 2008
New article on accessible web design: Choosing the alt tag or attribute content.
April 2008
After much development and testing, a new version of WebbIE, 3.6, with lots of new programs (Accessible PDF, iPlayer, Make USB Sticks, new Gutenberg), bugfixes and improvements. Most of the WebbIE and Accessible programs have been updated: get the latest version now. Download.
October 2007
A busy couple of months working on WebbIE 3.5, but finally got it out of the door. Notable stuff includes fixes to Accessible BBC Listen Again, more feeds work in RSS News Reader, and some new programs letting you find podcasts and feeds and download podcasts to your computer. Check it out at the download page.
The BBC also sorted out their Radio Player problems this month, so lots of radio programmes that disappeared from the listings are back. You'll also need the new version to handle programmes on many times a week.
Many people have provided new translations of WebbIE, so another language is linked from the front page and we have more language support in WebbIE itself. Thanks!
Working on the next WebbIE release: do let me know if you have any queries, suggestions or requests.
August 2007
Think I've tracked down a tricky bug with WebbIE 3.3.6: on machines with the colour depth at 16 bits, WebbIE would not start up (a new icon, of all things). You can check out the Download page for how to get the latest, not-quite-released 3.4.0 if you're having this problem.
July 2007
WebbIE 3.3.6 is out: no, there is no 3.3.3 or 3.3.4, and 3.3.5 only lasted ten days. Fixed some bugs, improved the general user interface experience, and did a bunch of work internally so the programs will work better. There are also handy navigation sounds so you know when WebbIE is working and the crop page function is now really good at ripping out all that rubbish at the top of a web page and leaving the bit you want to read. Download WebbIE 3 now.
Over on the new development side we have Google RSS and Podcast Search, which lets you find RSS news feeds and podcasts and add them to Accessible RSS News Reader and Accessible Podcatchers, and Accessible Podcast Downloader, which lets you download your podcasts so you can listen to them when not on the Internet or transfer them to a personal MP3 player to listen on the move. Download Google RSS and Podcast Search and Podcast Downloader now.
The BBC Listen Again program is having some problems because the BBC Radio Player, from which the BBC Listen Again program gets the radio programmes, is in turn missing many radio programmes - especially those for Radio 7. Up to the BBC to fix, I'm afraid.
Finally, on a personal note, Alasdair has received his PhD from the University of Manchester and is now Dr. King. Some of his PhD research should find its way onto the site over the next few months.
April 2007
WebbIE 3.3.2 is now released. It fixes bugs with 3.3.0 and adds the ability to invert colours so people can work in white on black, which suits some people. We've also linked the Polish version from the front page now - thanks to Dorota and everyone who has helped with translation over the last few years!
If you check out Download you'll find Accessible iTunes: this lets you rip CDs and listen to them using iTunes from Apple.
February 2007
WebbIE 3.3.0 is now released. It's largely lots and lots of bugfixes: extensive testing has, we hope, produced the most reliable and useful WebbIE ever. Thanks to everyone who alerted us to problems. There is one new feature: if you have problems with HTML help files in Windows, you can now open them up in WebbIE and get all the contents through the normal WebbIE view. Do download WebbIE 3.3.0.
December 2006
A new version of WebbIE and the accessible programs. This one, 3.2.0, includes two new programs: Accessible Gutenberg lets you read books available for free from the wonderful Gutenberg Project, a website dedicated to bringing you out-of-copyright texts in a simple text format. Accessible Gutenberg lets you search through the book catalogue, downloads books for you and lets you read them simply and easily: it even keeps track of where you've got up to. Accessible Radio Tuner lets you listen to dozens of radio stations available around the world over the Internet: it comes with about 60 stations preset, but if you find one is missing from there and you want to see it included, just let us know and we'll try to add it. There are also bugfixes, as ever, and a new WebbIE feature: you can now type words straight into the address bar and WebbIE will do a Google search for you (standard browsers have done this for years, of course!) Finally, after many queries, I've updated my Windows '98 and Me version of WebbIE and included it in the installer, so if you have one of these old operating systems then you should find that you have a working WebbIE installed after you've installed the latest version. Happy New Year!
November 2006
Google changed its website and broke Google Search in WebbIE, so a new WebbIE 3.1.3 is now available to fix that. It also supports more links in more sites, such as Microsoft Hotmail, where advanced JavaScript it used. Finally, for non-English users, you can now change the user interface language (the text on buttons and menus) from within the Options menu in WebbIE.
Some users want to be able to use (for example) BBC Listen Again without installing WebbIE. None of the WebbIE programs "takes over" the computer, so you should not do any harm installing any of the programs, even if you never use it. However, for those purists out there, you can now select in the installer to install only those applications you particularly want on your machine.
October 2006
Several users contacted me to say they missed the ability of Accessible RSS News Reader to open web pages in WebbIE, rather than the default web browser: WebbIE 3.1.2 therefore uses WebbIE for displaying web pages linked from both RSS News Reader and Web Directory. Other users pointed out bugs with the show listing for Accessible BBC Listen Again and the new slider control in Accessible Podcatcher. Thanks for all your comments.
WebbIE now handles PDF files it encounters by trying to use Google to get a web page version, rather than the quite inaccessible Adobe PDF version. It won't work for every PDF file, but it's a lot better. Let me know what you think.
September 2006
All of the WebbIE applications get a bug-fix, update, and a new site design to make it easier for people to download and use WebbIE!
July 2006
The completely free, fully-featured new screenreader, Thunder from Sensory Software, is now available. Support for Microsoft Word and Excel, Outlook Express, Windows, and the Web through WebbIE: works with most synthesised voices, including non-English voices. It's powerful, easy-to-use - and completely free!