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    The Premier AT Conference

Browsing the Web With a Screen Reader

Description
The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate various ways in which users of screen readers browse the web. Content creators will learn about things they can do to make the browsing experience more enjoyable for users who are blind or who have significant visual impairments. The format will be lecture with demonstration. The presenter will use both a desktop and a mobile screen reader to give participants an idea of how blind people navigate web sites, and the presenter will also offer several practical suggestions to content creators. The Worldwide Web has become an integral part of society. Individuals use the web for everything from shopping and entertainment to research to employment. Perhaps nothing has changed society more since the invention of the steam engine and the subsequent industrial revolution than the creation of the web. But without a doubt, the web is a visual place. Graphical information proliferates, and the ability to use a mouse to navigate web pages and choose items is assumed. What happens when people who are blind need to, or want to, browse the web? Fortunately, there are several screen readers which enable people who are blind to navigate the visual morass of the web and which also offer keyboard alternatives to using the mouse. Some of these screen readers come at a cost while others are free. These screen readers include, but are not limited to, JAWS for windows, NVDA, Microsoft Narrator, System Access, and Supernova in the Windows environment. Voiceover is a screen reader for the Mac and IOS devices. TalkBack is a screen reader for Android devices, while Chromevox is a screen reader for the Chromebook and for using Chrome on a Windows PC. Orca is a screen reader for Linux. While this list may not be conclusive, it can be seen that there are many possibilities for those who wish to navigate the web using a screen reader. Screen reader developers and manufacturers have made it possible for blind people to work and play on the web. Through the use of keyboard shortcuts and the concept of the virtual buffer, they have made it fairly easy IF web developers and content contributors keep a few things in mind while developing websites. The use of proper semantic markup and the proper labeling of graphics make web browsing a fairly routine process for blind people who have learned to use their screen reader efficiently. While blind people are unique and each individual has her/his preferences for browsing the web, there are certain aspects of web navigation that are commonly used. For example, many screen reader users like to browse a page by navigating from heading to heading. Sometimes screen reader users bring up a list of links, while at other times they prefer to read an entire page or a section of the page line by line. In this presentation, browsing the web with a desktop computer and an iPhone will be demonstrated, with emphasis being made to the commonalities shared by many people who are blind as they navigate. The presenter has over thirty years of experience using a screen reader and has been actively browsing the web for employment and enjoyment for over twenty years. He will also discuss common difficulties found by screen reader users as they browse the web, complete forms, and perform other day-to-day activities on the Internet. In addition, this presentation will offer ten suggestions for content contributors. These suggestions are steps that can be taken relatively easily in order to improve the web browsing experience for those who use screen readers.  
Audience
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Disability Specific
  • Employment & Human Resources
Audience Level
Beginning  
Session Summary (Abstract)
The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate various ways in which users of screen readers browse the web. Content creators will learn about things they can do to make the browsing experience more enjoyable for users who are blind or who have significant visual impairments.  
Session Type
General Track  
Topics
  • Blind/Low Vision
  • Cognitive & Learning Disabilities
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Employment & Workplace
  • Web

Presenter

  • Keith Bundy
    Siteimprove, Inc.

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