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Screen reader users

This page provides some simple advice for screen reader users based on our experience with JAWS 5. We know that not everybody uses JAWS and not all JAWS users are using the latest version, but the advice and principles should be applicable to other screen readers and earlier versions of JAWS.

HTML settings

We recommend that you configure JAWS to use the following settings whilst on our site:

Useful keystrokes

The following keystrokes all find the next occurrence of a particular "something" (element) on a page. Using the Shift key at the same time will find the previous occurrence.

Useful keystrokes in JAWS
Key What it finds Why this is useful
H Heading Headings define the structure of our pages which means you can use them as a "table of contents" for a page and as a quick way of moving through their contents. Also see Useful Dialogs below.
T Table If JAWS finds a table on a page it will contain useful information. We have provided summaries for all our data tables and, where appropriate, captions. Also see Table Navigation below.
G Image We have provided alternative (alt) text for all images. Please see the note about Images below for more information on how we've used alternative text.
L List We have used lists throughout the site to structure listed information, and this includes the navigation links. Pressing L is therefore a quick way of getting to navigation links on any page - the global navigator is the first list on every page and the utility links are the last.
F Form field The only form on the site is the one on the Contact Us page. The F key can be a quick way to find out what fields are on these pages.

Images

We would like to have hidden purely decorative images from JAWS by using null alt text, but sighted Internet Explorer users rely on the alt text in order to see tooltips pop up when they hover their mouse over an image. We have therefore retained alt text on some decorative images for their benefit. For the same reason we also use the alternative text to provide a caption on photograph thumbnails.

Table navigation

Although you can listen to the contents of tables cell by cell by pressing the down arrow, JAWS gives you the ability to move your cursor around the table so you can read the table in much the same way as a sighted person. The keystrokes for doing this are in the following table.

Table navigation keystrokes in JAWS
Action Desktop Key Laptop Key
Down one cell Alt + Ctrl + Down Arrow Alt + Shift + N
Up one cell Alt + Ctrl + Up Arrow Alt + Shift + Y
Right one cell Alt + Ctrl + Right Arrow Alt + Shift + Period
Left one cell Alt + Ctrl + Num Pad 5 Alt + Shift + M
Read current cell Alt + Ctrl + Down Arrow Alt + Shift + Comma

Useful Dialogs

JAWS provides the very useful ability to list form fields, headings and links in dialog boxes. Not only does this give you a convenient summary of these elements but you also have the option of acting on them.

The keys used to display the dialogs and the actions you can perform are as follows:

Useful Dialogs in JAWS
Dialog Key Action
Form fields Insert + F5 Select
Headings Insert + F6 Move to
Links Insert + F7 Move to or Activate

See also