Graphic of title: Web Browsing Basics with Screen Readers

Web Browsing Basics with Screen Readers

Learning how to navigate around a computer with screen reading software can feel like a huge challenge. Getting around on the internet can feel even tougher.

If you’re like me, the first time you really sat down to learn to use a screen reading program like JAWS on a Windows computer, you felt a little overwhelmed by the auditory feedback.  Beyond that, I felt completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of commands I needed to know to be able to adjust settings and get around the computer!  Well, over time I became comfortable using a few basic navigation skills: the Tab key and the arrow keys.  These seemed to serve me well enough within programs, where I could get around file menus and File Explorer save menus.  I even used the shift key to move backwards in these menus!

Well, basic proficiency aside, I found these skills completely inadequate when I found myself needing to navigate to and about a webpage.  Tabbing from selectable links simply wasn’t efficient enough, and it skipped over non-selectable items.  Similarly, the arrows (up and down, in particular) literally navigated the virtual cursor to EVERY item on the page, a very arduous task that went for a long time until I might run across the content I was looking for.

In the end, I learned a few more skills for navigating more efficiently around on webpages.  I hope these quick tips can help you out and save you time and frustration that I went through! 

These are my JAWS internet browsing tips! Do you have any others that you like to use?  Please share those below in the comments!

By AllenHHuang

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