A guide for Jaws users, written by Chorlton Workshop for hsbp. More guides are available on the Jaws Guides page of the VIP Software Guides website.
HTML stands for hypertext markup language. Hypertext means that there are links between different parts of the text. This is achieved by means of hyperlinks, normally referred to just as links.
Examples of documents written in HTML are web pages, some emails, help pages, and stand-alone documents such as this one.
The basic building blocks of HTML are called elements. The most important elements are given in the following list, and are described in detail in the subsequent sections:
Every HTML page has a title. It isn't part of the contents of the page, but is shown in the title bar of the web browser which is being used to read the page. The full text of the title bar is in fact: “page title” - “browser name”. For example, the title of this page is “HTML Guide”, so the title bar text will be something like “HTML Guide - Internet Explorer”.
If the page written in HTML is part of a website, then its title should follow the following conventions:
As usual, you can read the title bar using Insert + T, but when reading an HTML page, Jaws also tells you the current heading. In addition, Jaws also reads the title when you use Ctrl + Home to move to the top of the page.
Headings divide the page up into sections, and provide the overall structure of the page. Each heading has a level number, and level 1 is the highest level.
Normally, the first heading on a page is a level 1 heading, and this describes the overall content of the page. The main subsections of the page are introduced by level 2 headings. If any of these main subsections have subsections, then they are introduced by level 3 headings, etc. For example, the level 1 heading on this page is HTML Guide. The level 2 headings are Introduction, HTML elements, Title, Headings, etc. The section with the level 2 heading Form controls has a subsection introduced with the level 3 heading Forms mode.
As noted earlier, if you press Insert + T to read the title bar, Jaws also tells you the current heading.
There are three types of list:
At the start of a list, Jaws says the number of items in the list, and at the end, Jaws says list end.
An item in a list can contain a list, and this list within a list is called a nested list. And a nested list can also contain a nested list etc. The degree of nesting is specified by the nesting level. If a top level list contains a list, then the nested list's nesting level is 1. If a list with nesting level 1 contains a list, then the latter list's nesting level is 2. Etc.
On websites, nested lists of links are often used for navigation. The top level list of links are for the main sections of the website. If you are in one of these main sections, then the item for this section contains a list of links for the sub-sections of this section. For example, on the BBC History website, the navigation to various topics uses a nested list. If you're in the Science & Discovery topic, then the navigation list looks like this:
If a list contains a nested list, then Jaws tells you this at the beginning of the list. At the beginning and end of a nested list, Jaws tells you the nesting level.
Note that when using I and Shift + I to move between the items of a list, nested lists are ignored.
A link consists of a group of words, or an image, and a web address which is stored behind the scenes. When you open the link by pressing Enter, you are taken to a location specified by the web address. The types of web address stored in the link include the following:
If you are reading a line at a time, then each link appears on its own line.
Your browser keeps track of the pages you have visited. When you read a link which has the address of a page which you've already visited, Jaws says “visited link”.
On a web page, a form is a section of the page which contains controls for user input. These controls are the same as the controls which appear on dialog boxes, and examples are edit boxes, buttons, combo boxes etc.. These controls on a web page are often called form controls.
Jaws has two modes of interaction with a web page. The one used most of the time is called virtual pc cursor mode, and in this mode you can use all the usual keystrokes for reading text. There is, in fact, no text cursor on a web page, but Jaws behaves as if there is one. Whilst in virtual cursor mode, you can also use navigation quick keys. For example, pressing the key H moves you to the next heading. (Full details of the navigation quick keys are given in the separate HTML Page Navigation guide.)
For buttons and check boxes, there is no conflict between the keystrokes used for interacting with them, and the keystrokes used in the virtual pc cursor mode for reading and navigation. In the case of radio buttons there is a conflict, but there is a way of getting round it. So you can interact with these form controls whilst still in virtual pc cursor mode, as described in the Buttons, check boxes, and radio buttons section below.
However, for edit boxes and combo boxes, many of the keystrokes for interacting with them are also used in the virtual pc cursor mode for reading text and navigation. For example, if the focus is an edit box and you press the key H, the Jaws will move to the next heading, rather than enter the letter h into the edit box. The solution is that Jaws can be switched into a different mode whilst you are interacting with form controls. In this mode, called Forms mode, all keystrokes are interpreted as interacting with form controls. You can't use any of the Navigation quick keys, but you can still press Tab to move to the next control or link. When you are positioned on a Form control, you can go into Forms mode by pressing Enter. You can leave Forms mode at any time by pressing Numpad Plus or Esc. In addition, Jaws automatically takes you out of Forms mode if you move to another page — for example, after you have typed some text into a search box, and pressed Enter.
Up until Jaws version 10, the only way of turning on Forms mode was to to so manually by pressing Enter when focussed on a form control. However a new feature in Jaws 10 is Auto Forms mode. With this option, if you navigate to edit boxes or combo boxes in certain ways, which are described in detail below, then Forms mode is automatically turned on. Similarly, when you navigate away from one of these controls, Forms mode can be automatically turned off. By default, the turning on or off of Forms mode is indicated by two different sounds, rather than the words Forms mode on, and Forms mode off. Auto Forms mode is enabled by default, but you can switch it on and off, and set other related options as described in the next section.
The full details of when Forms mode is automatically turned on or off when moving to or leaving edit boxes and combo boxes is as follows:
In Jaws 10 you can set whether Auto Forms mode is on, and other options related to Forms mode using the Adjust JAWS Options dialog:
You can interact with buttons, check boxes, and groups of radio buttons whilst in virtual pc cursor mode, without needing to switch to Forms mode:
A table can have two optional features:
If you are reading a page line by line, then this is the information Jaws will read to you for a table:
You can read the cells in the table using the standard reading keystrokes. In this case, the table reads as if each cell begins a new line, and the cells are read in order, row by row.
There are also specific keystrokes for reading and moving around tables, which are given in the following sections.
|Read current cell||Alt + Ctrl + Numpad 5|
|Read cell to right||Alt + Ctrl + RIGHT Arrow|
|Read cell to left||Alt + Ctrl + LEFT Arrow|
|Read cell below||Alt + Ctrl + Down Arrow|
|Read cell above||Alt + Ctrl + Up Arrow|
|Read first cell||Alt + Ctrl + Home|
|Read last cell||Alt + Ctrl + END|
The keystrokes for reading rows depend on the version of Jaws being used.
|Read current row||Windows Key + Numpad 5|
|Read next row||Windows Key + Down Arrow|
|Read prior row||Windows Key + Up Arrow|
|Read current row||Windows Key + Numpad 5, or Windows Key + Comma|
|Read next row||Windows Key + Alt + Down Arrow|
|Read prior row||Windows Key + Alt + Up Arrow|
The keystrokes for reading columns also depend on the version of Jaws being used.
|Read current column||Windows Key + Period|
|Read next column||Windows Key + Right Arrow|
|Read prior column||Windows Key + Left Arrow|
|Read current column||Windows Key + Period|
|Read next column||Windows Key + Alt + Right Arrow|
|Read prior column||Windows Key + Alt + Left Arrow|
When you're in a table, to move to the end of a table press > (Shift + Period), and to move to just before the start of a table press < (Shift + Comma).