Ever since the initial release of the Skype client in mid 2003, people from all around
the world have used it to initiate high-quality voice and text conversations, send
and receive files, and stay in touch with one another. The visually impaired community,
likewise, has used Skype since then to facilitate equal communication with each other and their sighted counterparts.
However, as the service has grown, so too has the program. For years, screen reader
users have kept up with Skype’s ever-morphing interface either with custom patches,
scripts, or apps. While largely successful, such utilities must be constantly maintained
as any new version of Skype can, and often will, cause previously working scripts or apps to stop functioning properly.
In mid 2011, Skype announced its SkypeKit developer program. This service allows
program developers to directly access nearly all Skype services without the additional
need of traversing its user interface. Developers, therefore, can create their own
interface to Skype and seamlessly integrate it into their own products. And, because the underlying Skype services are much less likely to change on a whim, GW Micro
decided to take advantage of this service and create a simple, elegant, fully accessible
interface to Skype which is designed with the visually impaired community in mind.
Having full control of the user interface also means that unlike the official Skype
client, GWConnect’s interface will not dramatically change from version to version.
When you learn how to use GWConnect today, you can be confident that your knowledge will continue to apply in the future as new versions are released. Why GWConnect?
GWConnect will always make the Skype service available to blind and visually impaired computer users regardless of new versions of Skype that are released. GWConnect is a demonstration of the power of interfacing with Window-Eyes.
All blind and visually impaired users who are running Windows can use GWConnect at no cost. Even those consumers not running Window-Eyes can still download and use GWConnect.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding GWConnect.
If you continue to have questions or require assistance after reading this section,
please use the information in the “Contact Information” section to reach a GW Micro support specialist.
Do I have to install the official Skype client to use GWConnect?
No. The GWConnect setup contains everything required to interact with the Skype service.
You may, however, install the official Skype client and switch between the two programs at your own discression.
Do I have to be a Window-Eyes user to run GWConnect?
No. GWConnect will work with all recent versions of Windows screen readers and magnifiers. GWConnect is written to allow all blind and visually impaired people, regardless of screen reader preference, to have an easy, accessible Skype experience. How much does GWConnect cost?
GWConnect costs nothing. It is available for free at
Can I sign up for the Skype service with GWConnect?
Absolutely. To sign up for Skype, simply open the “Sign In” window from under the
Skype menu and click the “Sign up for Skype” button. You will be taken to the account
sign up web page at Skype.com where you can create a new account. When your account
has been successfully created, enter your new Skype username and password into the sign in window, click “Sign In,” and you can begin using Skype immediately. Why does my password disappear when I open the sign in window?
The part of GWConnect responsible for handling communication between the GWConnect
user interface and the Skype service handles all password storage and management.
As such, GWConnect itself never stores your password for any reason. Thus, if you
have GWConnect set to automatically sign in to your account and you have instructed
it to remember your password, the program will do so until you manually sign out.
Whenever I talk to someone, the rest of my Windows audio gets turned down. How do I fix this?
Windows Vista and Windows 7 include a feature where the operating system automatically
ducks any background audio whenever services such as GWConnect are used. This has
the unfortunate consequence of also turning down your software speech synthesizer. To disable this:
1. Press the Windows key to open the Start Menu.
2. Enter “sound,” and press the Down Arrow until you reach the Control Panel applet. 3. Control-Tab until you reach the “Communications” tab.
4. Your keyboard focus lands in a group of radio buttons. Press the Down Arrow until you reach “Do Nothing.”
5. Press Alt-A to activate the “Apply” button.
6. Press Enter to close the dialog.
Now, when you make or receive Skype calls, your Windows audio settings will be left alone.
Why can’t I send or receive video calls?
The version of the Windows Skype runtime which we are permitted to ship does not
support either sending or receiving video calls. Skype has promised to make an updated
version of the runtime available in the first half of 2012 which will support video
calls. GWConnect will be updated to support these features when the new runtime is available.
Can I run GWConnect and the official Skype client at the same time? Certainly. However, be aware that you must be logged in to separate accounts for each client if you intend to run both versions of Skype on the same computer. If
you attempt to sign in to your account on both GWConnect and the official Skype client,
one or both programs will generate a database IO error. You may, however, sign in to your account on multiple machines with no issue.
Will I be able to use third-party plugins (such as call recorders) with GWConnect?
No. Third-party plugins which utilize the Skype desktop API are currently not compatible with custom Skype clients– including GWConnect.
Do others on my contact list have to also run GWConnect before I can call them?
No. Your contacts may use any Skype client which supports voice calls and/or text chatting such as GWConnect, the official Skype client for Windows, or even Skype
for other operating systems such as Mac OSX, iOS, Android, and Linux. In the end,
GWConnect is simply an accessible front-end to the same Skype service used by millions of people around the globe every day.
Verified Virus Free by ClamWin AV
Supported Languages: English, German, Swedish, Turkish
Minimum Version: Window-Eyes 7.0
1/27/2012 1:28:29 PM
GWSkype is now GWConnect. Please uninstall any version of GWSkype that may be on your machine prior to installing GWConnect.
GWConnect is now available in German, Swedish, and Turkish.
Fixed a problem where sending voicemails could fail.
Fixed a problem which could cause the recent events window to become unresponsive.
Recent versions of modern screen readers are now properly detected and used where possible.
Fixed an issue where sound effects would play through the call out device instead of the notification device.
Worked around a problem where conversation windows would sometimes not open if a contact’s status could not be determined.
Sending and receiving files with non-Latin characters should work now.
Fixed an issue where certain events, such as contact online status changes, would cause the ringing sound to stop playing if an incoming call request was visible. It is once again possible to send files from within text chat windows.
The hang up command (accessed either from within the GWConnect main window or via
the global hotkey) now also activates the “Stop and Send” button in an open voicemail window.
When making outbound Skype calls, the ringing sound now plays when the remote participants’ status changes to ringing instead of when the call is first initiated.
The outgoing ringing sound now stops playing if a Skype call is automatically forwarded to a landline or mobile phone.
Fixed a rare case where GWSkype wouldn’t always hang up successfully on any active conversations while the program was shutting down.
If a call is placed to someone who has enabled voicemail on his/her account, the
voicemail dialog will now open if the call is not answered. Previously it would only open if a voicemail was initiated from the contact list.
Like recent events, the list of incoming voicemails from the Skype menu is now sorted
in descending order; that is, the most recent messages will be at the top and the oldest at the bottom.
Fixed a problem where GWConnect wouldn’t display the incoming call dialog if a previous call failed to answer in time.
If GWConnect runs with advertisements, the ad text has been varied to be much less repetitive.
GWConnect would sometimes play an alert sound but failed to show an associated incoming authorization dialog. This has been fixed.
If placing a call from inside a chat window brought the user to voicemail, GWConnect still thought a call was active. This has been corrected.
Merging conference calls has been improved.
When rejecting incoming calls, GWConnect now sends the caller to voicemail if the logged in account supports this feature.
When a conference call was created, the mute/unmute microphone menu item would sometimes remain disabled. This has been improved.
Silencing incoming or outgoing chat messages spoken by SAPI synthesizers now works correctly.
Chat windows opened via the Conversations dialog from under the Skype menu no longer open minimized.
The status change time-out has been increased from 10 seconds to one minute. Accounts with large contact lists should load much more quietly.
Preferences are now automatically saved when clicking OK in the Options dialog and whenever the user signs in to Skype.
Read more about GWConnect
Date: 1/27/2012 1:26:19 PM
Ever since the initial release of the Skype client in mid 2003, people from all around