Screen Reading technology is a way of converting text on the screen into synthesized voices. Screen readers only read pure text. Images, or text embedded into a photo will not be read.
JAWS is one of the 3 competitive PC screen readers on the market. Window Eyes and NVDA are the other two. Window Eyes is now owned by the same company that owns JAWS, and NVDA is a free, open source screen reader.
JAWS has been around since the early 90’ and is currently developed by Freedom Scientific.
It was designed primarily for the work environment – Word, Excel, Outlook – the Microsoft Office Suite.
• JAWS comes in two versions – home and professional.
• It is the screen reader that is most recommended and where the most support is available
Firefox is better than Internet Explorer with JAWS, and possibly even in general.
Many of the keyboard commands you use with JAWS are not specific to JAWS, as they are native to the Windows Operating System:
• Not all keyboard commands use the JAWS/Insert key.
• Control alt page up or page down will temporarily speed or slow down speech in JAWS but not globally across the computer. When you exit the program it will reset to the original speed.
• Some keys do different things when you have Navigation Quick Keys turned on when browsing the internet.
Forms mode on the Internet:
• You have to hit enter or the Space Bar before you can start typing in the edit boxes. When you hit the Enter key after typing your search string it will activate the Search Button and conduct the search.
• The second type of edit field is a multi-line edit box. You can use the Enter key to add a new line. You have to tab to the Search/Next button to move things forward.
Quick Navigation keys – single letters that will move your cursor to different places on the screen. To turn Navigation Quick KEYS ON OR OFF HOLD DOWN THE JAWS KEY AND PRESS THE LETTER Z. :
• H is for all Headings, and the first 6 numbers on the number row will access Level 1 through 6 Headings.
• L is for list.
• I is for items within a list.
• U is for unvisited links.
• V is for visited links.
• T is for tables.
• F is for form fields, but for clarification a form field is a button, edit box, check box, radio button, etc. so it’s not as specific as the other keys listed.
• E is for edit boxes.
• B is for button.
• X is for checkbox – use space bar to select the item you want to check.
• C is for combo boxes.
• M is for frames – skips past ad frames.
• K is for markers, and Control shift K will set a marker in a specific spot. They may not remain when Web-sites are updated or changed.
• Control f – Jaws find – type a phrase you are looking for and it will bring you there
Also, three more useful keys:
• Jaws Key + f7 brings up a list of links.
• Jaws key + f5 brings up a list box of form controls.
• Jaws key + f6 brings up a list of headings
Other JAWS resources:
• FS Reader is a DAISY Player that installs when JAWS is installed on your computer, and that can be used to play the JAWS Tutorial/Help files.
• Had is a Text Editor that installs when JAWS is installed on your computer. It has a Spellchecker built-in, so if you don’t have MS Word this can be used to create documents, or to read RTF and TXT files.
• JAWS key plus F1 will show you things dependent on where you are. If you are on a Web page it will list all the quick Navigation keys. Escape key will get you out of this mode.
• JAWS Key plus Number Row 1 will turn on and off Keyboard Help, it is a toggle. You can then press any key or key combination to find out what the keys are and JAWS will explain their function.
• JAWS key plus the letter H will give you a list of keys you can use where you are – Type Escape to exit this window.
JAWS key plus the letter J will launch the Jaws Menu, Options, utilities, languages, about, and help:
• Press the Alt Key to open the Menu Bar, then down arrow through the Options Menu to Basics, there you will find the following adjustable items;
Tutor messages helps by telling you your jaws command options and how to activate them. You can turn this on or off.
Access keys – you can turn this off if you know all your commands and don’t need a reminder
• Tutorials are in the Jaws menu under help – You will find Training audio files that will play in FS Reader.
• The PC cursor is your regular cursor on the screen, or the curser that types letters in your documents, web pages etc.
• Jaws cursor doesn’t show up it’s just where you are on the screen, and is otherwise known as your Mouse Curser.
• JAWS Key plus Escape refreshes the screen visually to show them where you are.
Topic for next time – GPS Technology
September 21, 2016
Other ideas that were suggested:
• Overview of Safari on the IPhone.
• Cover the GTT Facebook Group.
• Backing Up along with storage options such as One Drive or Dropbox – Cloud storage
The Albert A. Ruel Road to Blindness
A 21 year old man stood on the beach at the Sproat Lake Provincial Park with friends early in May of 1977, and upon gazing across the lake found the Gulf Oil sign missing from the dock-side filling station there. When this fact was shared with his companions they glanced at him with puzzled looks and said, “No Albert, the sign is still there”.
That was the beginning of a road through confusion, anger, isolation, loneliness and discovery for me. It all began with a visit to a local Optometrist who could see that my vision wasn’t right, but that corrective lenses wouldn’t help. He then referred me to a General Practitioner, where I received a clean bill of health and an additional referral. This time to an Ophthalmologist. Immediately upon peering through the dilated pupils, Dr. McKerricher was able to see the problem, Retinal Vasculitis.
Now, you would think that all would start to improve at this point, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, CNIB, from 1918 until 1985 only served the needs of people who were “Legally Blind”, a level of vision loss I wouldn’t reach until November of 1979. The words of Dr. McKerricher still echo in my mind today, “Albert, I don’t know what has caused this and nothing we’ve tried is helping to stop it, and you’re not blind enough for me to refer you to CNIB”!
In the middle of this transition from 20/20 vision to “Legally Blind” came the Motor Vehicle Branch and it’s rules of the road. On August 3, 1978 I drove a car for the last time as my vision had reached the level at which operating a motor vehicle became too dangerous, further intensifying feelings of fear, isolation and anger. Sadly, through this period the only available guidance and support was through family and friends, but not the experienced professionals I needed at the time. Although these support systems are critically important they can often be smothering and facilitating, rather than encouraging and supportive.
With gratitude, and some trepidation I finally was able to access CNIB services in November of 1979, and the world opened up then. There I was able to meet other blind people and receive the daily living and mobility skills required to live independently in this sighted world. I learned elementary braille and began to discover technology as necessary tools of independence.
Thankfully, in 1985 CNIB’s National Board altered the course of service to visually impaired Canadians forever. They added a third prong to their Mission Statement, “To promote sight enhancement services”. This opened the door to all Canadians who were beginning to lose sight, as well as those who had a fear of vision loss to access the full range of CNIB Support and Rehabilitation Services. So now, whether it’s someone’s Mother who is experiencing Macular Degeneration, or an Uncle experiencing the affects of Glaucoma, all have the ability to seek information, guidance and support as all involved deal with the fear and anxiety that accompanies such life altering experiences.
With the help of professional Rehabilitation Workers and Employment Counselors I was able to continue traveling independently within my own community, and even more remarkably anywhere in the world I desired to go. I managed to attend College in Nanaimo and New Westminster, as well as traveling to the Mayo Clinic and to doctor’s appointments in Nanaimo and Vancouver without assistance. All of this while living with some usable vision, but not yet needing a white cane for travel.
During the mid 1980’s I was a stay-at-home Dad and did all that was required of that challenging work, from changing diapers to preparing meals, and from cutting the grass to maintaining our home. I even took a woodworking course through Alberni’s Adult Education program and built and restored several pieces of furniture. Of course the 1958 Chevy Impala in the garage was my pride and joy, and I devised ways to do much of the work it required.
I also joined and participated in many community activities, like the local Car Club, and a disability support group that catered to the needs of people with many different disabilities. Of course, continued participation in family life remained of critical importance through this period.
In 1989 a secondary condition began to extinguish the vision that remained, which set into motion a new stream of professional rehabilitation services and supports. By the spring of 1990 Glaucoma had turned out the lights completely, and the darkness I had feared so desperately was upon me. Strangely though, I found this to be a great relief rather than the tragedy I had imagined it would be.
Through several professional rehabilitation sessions, and by joining peer mentoring and advocacy groups I was able to come to terms with this strange feeling, and to learn additional skills and strategies for living with no visual cues of the world around me. This is also about the time that I decided to explore CNIB as an employer, and to see if I could provide the sort of guidance and support to others that had been my pleasure to receive. Those 14 years were a wonderful experience of ongoing discovery for me, as teaching may be the best way to solidify one’s own learning. In other words, those we assist through this transition in turn help us all as we develop best practices and improved service.
Following a 14 year career with CNIB I also served the blind community as the first National Equality Director employed by the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), and as a Basic Computer Literacy Trainer with the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB). Most recently I have enjoyed coordinating the CCB’s newly launched Get Together with Technology Program in Western Canada, which brings to the fore my passion for assistive technology and the power of peer mentoring.
Without sight I have continued to travel far and wide, with trips to Conventions of and for the Blind in Anaheim California and Melbourne Australia, as well as to many events and activities in Toronto and Vancouver. Of course my work has taken me to many communities throughout Western Canada, and most particularly nearly all regions of BC and on Vancouver Island. None of which would have been possible without the services and support of organizations like CCB, AEBC and CNIB.
For most people blindness generates a fear of extended movement, both within one’s home and community, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Independence comes from personal desire and increased skill. Many community organizations can assist with both through their mentoring and skill development programs. I remember always that life has little to do with what happens to me and 100% what I do about/with it. There is a quote I like to use from the National Federation of the Blind in the USA, “With adequate skill development and opportunity blindness can be reduced to the level of a nuisance”, and nothing could be closer to the truth.
Helen Keller said many years ago, “There is nothing more tragic than someone who has sight, but no vision”. She also challenged the Lions Clubs of the world to become the “Knights of the Blind, and to take up the crusade against darkness”. I too joined a Lions Club in 1992 and continue to work on the crusade that Helen Keller began in the 1920-s.
View all posts by Albert Ruel
4 thoughts on “GTT Vancouver Summary Notes, The JAWS Screen Reader, August 17, 2016”
Re the item, partially quoted here: âImages, or text embedded into a photo will not be readâImages, or text embedded into a photo will not be read refers to trying to read text on a video image. I understand why this text cannot be read by a screen reader. However, I wonder if the ORCAM can be used to take a photo of the TV screen. If so, would the ORCAM identify the video text, and read it for you? By the way, Clinton Miller, a friend, has been working, for it seems decades, on developing a way to read âLEDâ, âLCDâ, or other visual displays that do not have audible options. I intend to contact him to suggest that he try the above approach – using ORCAM. Re tomorrowâs conference call, another friend and I intend to listen in tomorrow night, and chime in with relevant topics for discussion on future GGT calls. Jim E-mail: email@example.com
Thank you Jim. We will receive a demonstration of the OrCam device next week at our GTT Vancouver meeting so will ask the question of the presenter.
Albert: Thank you for providing these notes regarding JAWS keystroke combinations. As you stated, the key combination of CTRL + ALT + PAGE UP/DOWN will increase/decrease the rate of speech within an application for as long as the user is within that application. Pressing the key combination of CTRL + WINDOWS key +ALT + PAGE UP/DOWN will permanently reset the speech rate within JAWS for all application, even after the computer is shut down. However, as is the case with all other settings, the speech rate can be changed at any time in the future using the same keystroke combination. This shortcut eliminates the arduous task of navigating the JAWS Options/Basic/Voices settings. R/
Thank you Rob. That is very helpful.
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