Back to playing with assistive technology. I wanted to mess around with speech input software, but I started the process and realized that will be a weekend project, due to the learning curve. So I settled on working in JAWS today to continue learning assistive technologies and what experience they provide.
Note: JAWS is really robust and considered top-notch in the screen reader industry. By no means, am I an expert at using JAWS. However, I need more practice with it, since I lean more heavily on NVDA for screen reader testing.
Things I accomplished
- Practiced basic keyboard shortcut commands for JAWS with Deque’s JAWS Keyboard Shortcut Cheatsheet while navigating the web via Internet Explorer.
- Added a few basic shortcuts to my screen reader keyboard shortcut cheatsheet.
- Watched Demonstration of JAWS Screen Reader (YouTube).
- Watched Table Accessibility with a Screen Reader (YouTube).
What I learned today
JAWS stands for “Job Access With Speech”.
The cursor on the screen blinks REALLY fast when JAWS has been activated.
Some of JAWS basic keyboard commands are very similar to NVDA’s (or vice versa). That was extremely helpful when experimenting with it. That made me happy when thinking about one of my blind friends that recently made the switch from JAWS to NVDA. It likely made her transition a whole lot easier! (now I’ll have to ask her about it)
I used Insert + F3 a lot to move more quickly through a page’s regions and interactive areas. I liked how many options I had on their built-in navigation feature. However, I did accidentally discover a browser difference with Virtual HTML Feature when I switched over to my Firefox window to add notes to this post (colors are funny because my system was in High Contrast Mode at that time).
Firefox with Insert + F3:
IE with Insert + F3:
The built in PDF reader in IE didn’t seem to register any regions with the Deque cheatsheet, like NVDA with Firefox did. So I couldn’t quickly navigate between tables within the browser.
I really like how I could sort links by visited, unvisited, tab order or alphabetically! Plus, I could either go to link or activate the link as soon as I found it in this list.
JAWS had a few more customization choices than NVDA:
My bad: I inadvertently found a few photos on a site I manage that needs some alternative text because they are not decorative.