Day 75: Screen Reader Keystroke Comparisons, Part 1

Sporadically, I’ve used some of my study time to test out using assistive technologies (AT) like screen readers, speech recognition, and high contrast mode. I’m circling back to AT because I’ve hit the section in the WAS Body of Knowledge that stresses testing with AT in order to better understand how people who use AT may experience your website. This will be a fun week for me because I enjoy trying out AT and broadening my perspective to how users encounter webpages.

Thing I accomplished

  • Added NVDA, JAWS, Narrator, and VoiceOver (Mac) keystrokes to a new (offline) comparisons spreadsheet I’ve started working on.

What I learned today

  • NVDA and JAWS have many similar keystrokes and shortcuts, although I’m not sure why NVDA uses “D” for going to the next region, when JAWS uses “R” which is easier to remember.
  • Oh! Deque has a cheatsheet for JAWS Keyboard Shortcuts for Word. I’ll have to take a closer look this week.
  • JAWS has several different cursors to toggle between, dependent on context.
  • Narrator has a specific mode for developers to use during testing.
  • Keyboard accessibility is not enabled by default on a Mac. Accessibility and screen reader test results will be inaccurate if you do not enable keyboard accessibility in the following two places:
    1. System Settings: Keyboard > Shortcuts > Full Keyboard Access > All controls
    2. Safari Settings: Advanced > Accessibility > Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage.
  • Switching between Mac and Windows keystrokes just feels awkward. Imagine a screen reader user switching operating systems!

Recent interesting A11y articles