Screen reader Tips and Tricks/Topic for Next Meeting of the Philadelphia Computer Users’ group for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Whether visually impaired computer users work with JAWS, Window-eyes, Zoomtext or some other form of access software, our screen reader or screen enlarger is a program that we work with every time we turn on our computers. It’s an essential piece of software; without it, we would have no access to what we type or to what is on our screens.
Most of us can use that trusty piece of software enough to save our lives and get things done. We pretty much know how to read emails, Web pages and documents by using arrow keys or by scrolling through the material by clicking with the mouse. However, what if you need to go beyond just casual reading? What if you encounter an email message, loaded with so many links and tables that it’s difficult to find the actual message that you wanted to read in the first place. With Web pages getting busier with more extra material, it can seem like quite a chore to find the exact piece of information that you know is probably there but all you hear is link this, link that, link, link, link, heading 1, top frame, frame end and you’re ready to just give up and throw the computer out the window. We’ve all been there. When this happens, do you know how to get past the links, headings and advertising to find what you want? Do you know how to silence all of that unneeded stuff, trying to distract you?
Screen readers and screen enlargers have shortcut keys and other features which allow you to zero in on what you want, happily skipping past what you don’t care about. Do you have hotkeys that you use to do this? If you don’t know them, you probably should. I know that it seems like blind computer users are always asked to memorize tons of shortcut keys but having a few in your head will transform you from a frustrated Web surfer to someone who can zip around the Web, nearly as fast as a sighted person. It’s not impossible and it may take some practice but anything worth it usually does.
this is the topic I plan to discuss during the next telephone meeting of the Philadelphia computer Users’ Group for the Blind and Visually Impaired. If you have a favorite hotkey or technique that you use to make your computing life easier, feel free to share it with us. If you don’t have any and need some handholding before today’s computer becomes tomorrow’s trash, ask and we’ll try to help. I also want to discuss how to obtain help and support on getting the most out of your preferred screen reader and enlarger. Producers of these programs offer lots of resources and I’d like to talk about what they are and how to easily find them.
The meeting takes place on Friday, March 28 at 8:00 PM. All who are interested in this topic are welcome to join us, whether you’re a seasoned expert or a frustrated novice. the number to call is
(712) 432-3900
When asked for your conference ID, enter
391 477
followed by the pound key.
Bring along your favorite screen reader or screen enlarger and join us. I hope to talk with you during our next meeting.

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