A Conclusive JAWS Testing Tutorial with Shortcut Keys

A screen reader is an assistive technology that helps people with disabilities such as blindness, low vision, and low vision. The screen reader displays various web page elements such as text, buttons, and images as speech and braille output. There are different types of screen readers for different environments. As one of the leading accessibility testing companies, we make sure to learn about the best tools. And JAWS is definitely one of the best options out there. So in this JAWS test tutorial, we will explore important hotkeys in JAWS and have a step-by-step guide to getting started with JAWS for testing purposes.

Did you know?

JAWS was created by Ted Hunter in 1989 a former motorcyclist who lost his sight due to a fatal car accident in 1978.

Ted Hunter - Founder of JAWS

Why JAWS?

Jaws (Job Access With Speech) is the most popular screen reading tool available on the market. It can be used to read content in documents, web applications, emails, e-books, etc. It is available in more than 10 different languages ​​and contains multilingual audio and Hebrew pronunciations that enhance the overall experience. It helps the visually impaired user to read content just by using standard keys, it has fast reading capabilities, and it has screen magnification options that make it a complete package. Therefore, we can use JAWS without any second thoughts to ensure that web pages are designed according to accessibility rules and regulations.

How is JAWS installed?

The installation process we will be covering is for a Windows device.

  • Download the latest version of JAWS from their official website.
  • Open the downloaded exe file.
  • Click Yes on the pop-up dialog that appears.
  • Click the checkbox to accept the agreements and click Install.
  • Once the installation is complete, close the window and restart your computer when prompted.

Now that we’ve seen the installation process, let’s take a look at the hotkeys you’ll need to know.

Hotkeys for JAWS:

S. No Describe keystrokes
1 start reading INSERT + DOWN ARROW KEY
2 stop reading control
3 Navigation address h
4 Direct address routing (H1 to H6) 1 to 6
5 Milestones s
6 To go to the main content area s
7 tables T
8 The data in the table Ctrl + Shift + Right / Left / Up / Down arrow key
9 List the
10 Items in the list I

We have listed only the most important hotkeys that you will need here. If you cannot find the shortcut set you are looking for or want to explore all the hotkeys, please use this file.

How is the JAWS exam performed?

To test a website using JAWS, you have to open a browser and go to the website you want to test and start using JAWS. Although it sounds simple, you may feel lost and not know what to do to get conclusive results. With our years of experience in providing the best web accessibility testing services to all of our clients, we have created this list that will help you get started with JAWS testing.

Mobility

Being able to access the entire page and understand the content is one of the most basic actions that every user should be able to do. You can check this by navigating the page with the TAB key to ensure that all interactive elements receive tab focus. Also check if non-interactive items are not receiving tab focus. Check if the focus order is left-to-right or right-to-left.

Just like how we try to go through the article by seeing headlines to get an idea, people using JAWS should also be able to do this. Since screen readers cannot convey the visual representation, be sure to check the title tag flow as if it was not in the order from H1 to H6.

Once this is checked, scroll the page down using the down arrow key and see if all the content reads correctly in a meaningful sequence without skipping any iterations or sections. You should also make sure that everything is working fine when you go back to the previous lines with the up arrow key.

Multimedia content alternatives

Websites are not shy about using multimedia content like photos, videos, etc. to make an impact. As a first step, check if all the images are in focus. If so, check the alt text (alt text) and see if it’s relevant and if it describes the image well enough.

Videos with audio comments or dialogues will not be a big problem as they can be understood by listening to the audio. But if the video is transcribed into text without any audio commentary, you should make sure to add JAWS-readable text for the user to understand. Likewise, if the video is fully visible, you can add an audio description to enable the user to at least get an idea. It is recommended that videos do not play automatically when the site is opened. So it should be possible to control the playback of videos using the keyboard.

Videos with audio commentary or dialogues will cause a big problem as they can be understood by listening to the audio. But if the video is transcribed into text without any audio commentary, you must make sure to add text that can be read by JAWS for the user to understand. Likewise, if the video is entirely dependent on the visual, you can add an audio description to enable the user to at least have an idea. It is recommended that videos do not play automatically when the site is opened. So it should be possible to control the playback of videos using the keyboard.

Other types of content

Internal and external links are very common on all web pages. So make sure the context change is clear and avoid ambiguous lines like “click here” or “read more” out of nowhere.

If there are any lists on the webpage, it will be read correctly only if the content is fed as an ordered or unordered list. Similarly, if there are any tables, you should check if JAWS reads all content with related rows and columns using standard keys.

Check if the table row and column headers are legible for each table cell to make it easier to understand. Check if all form fields, links and buttons are accessible when using the spacebar/enter.

Avoid visual dependence

It is common to make certain words, phrases, or even lines appear bold to emphasize their importance. But since they are just visual cues, a screen reader won’t pick them up. So be sure to use the ‘strong’ and ’em’ tags when needed. The same applies to any color variations used for the same purpose.

Yes, Captcha is an important feature of a website. But that doesn’t mean you have to use only the visual options as it wouldn’t be possible for JAWS to pick them up.

Although flashy signals and calls to action are from the past and can no longer be found on many websites, it is still important to check them out. JAWS will have a hard time if an image with download words is hovering over a vague hyperlink text like “Click here”.

JAWS General Test Exams

  • Make sure that your page contains an override block, main content, and a feature area.
  • Check if all ARIA attributes are implemented correctly.
  • Make sure there are no black hat SEO techniques like using hidden text to boost rankings as this will disable JAWS.
  • Check if the content is all in one language and if there are any different languages ​​used, mention them in your code to avoid confusion. It is also a good practice to use the language attribute to mention the language.

conclusion

We hope you found this JAWS test tutorial useful and you now have an idea of ​​how to test the accessibility of your website using JAWS. You can also check out our blog which explains how you can easily test your website for accessibility. Although these easy checks will not be enough, it is always a good idea to start because you achieve the dual benefits of satisfying the person with a disability of their right to information and reaching a wider audience.

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