100 Days of A11y

Day 40: Practice with NVDA

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Today I found myself doing a lot of testing with the NVDA screen reader on PDFs at work. So, I made a diversion from my plan to code a custom modal tonight, instead to document what I was learning throughout the day.

I should note that this was not my first encounter with NVDA. It has been my go-to screen reader for testing webpages during the past year. On that note, this post does not go in-depth about all the things NVDA, but rather points out things I hadn't spent time learning during these quick experiments I've done in the past.

Things I accomplished

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Review of shortcuts I knew

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Task Shortcut
Start reading continuously (from this point on) Insert +
Stop reading Ctrl
List all headings, links, and landmarks Insert + F7
Next line (down arrow)
Next character -or- Next input option (radio buttons, selection list) (right arrow)
Quit NVDA Insert + Q

What I learned today

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On top of all these new shortcuts and tidbits, I was reminded that I am not a screen reader user. When I was trying to solve a "problem" within a remediated PDF document, I finally concluded that it wasn't the document's problem, but rather the way I was using NVDA as a novice screen reader user. Listening to the PDF with JAWS, which gave me the results I expected, I decided to abandon the issue I thought the document had. In doing so, I'm relying on the fact that I am not that user, and the appropriate tags given to the document would allow real screen reader users to make their own decisions while still being able to access all the content within this document.