Graphic of blog title: JAWS Topics: Basic Navigation

JAWS Topics: Basic Navigation

In order to use a screen reader like JAWS, you need to know the basics to navigation.

In order to become an independent screen reader user on the computer, you will need to know how to navigate.  Today, I will discuss the most basic skills for moving around in Windows to locate and open programs.  We will stop short of discussing how to navigate within various programs.

To start, I will be assuming that you have a mastery of the keyboard and can touch type from the home row when oriented correctly using F and J.  It is critical to know key locations so that you can correctly enter shortcuts, etc. for navigation.  I am also assuming that you understand fundamentally what a screen reader does, in that it not only can read out the contents of the screen, but it can also read out, or narrate, your keystroke actions.

Let’s begin on the Windows desktop.  Visually, there is a background image, and there are several icons sprinkled around.  At the bottom of the screen is the taskbar; to the left is a Windows logo start button and search bar, and to the right there is the system tray of other programs and settings.  What we usually want to do is open a program up, and over time we may have several needed programs opened up.  We will address methods for opening a program, as well as how to switch between them.

There are two options for opening a program:

Once you have at least two programs open, you may want to switch between them.  The best way to do this is to use the program switcher shortcut, Alt + Tab.  Specifically, you should hold Alt down and then press Tab until you hear the program you wish to switch to; let go of Alt to switch to that program.  If you have more than 2 programs open, pressing just Alt + Tab without holding Alt down will switch you between the two most recently used programs.

That’s it, hopefully a simple start to moving around to the programs you need and want to use on the computer!  Did it make sense?  Are you running into any questions?  Leave a comment below and I’ll see how I can help!  Feel free to also check out my other posts by clicking on my Blogger name link near the top of the page.

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