Spencer McLean <smclean@...>
Since joining this list about a week ago, I've noticed a great deal
of negativity about JAWS. I don't want to downplay its problems
-- it has a few. And it seems like many on this list have encountered more
difficulties than I have which, naturally, puts one in a gloomier frame of
mind, not only with regard to the application itself but also to its future. Yes, JAWS's pricetag is waaay too high, its scripts are meager, its
glitchiness is frustrating, its documentation is lackluster, its tendency
not to do what you set it to do is legendary... But... It has some pretty
awesome features as well.
- navigating via SelectAGraphic/Paragraph/Heading features have
- revolutionized the way I read webpages. Experience with these can get me
- to the content faster than sighted people, provided that I'm at least
- passingly familiar with the website in question. SelectAParagraph is
- probably my favorite feature in JAWS. Go to any News site, click on an
- article and tell me that SelectAParagraph doesn't rock. You avoid all the
- mess and get right to the targeted content. For me, it's almost replaced
- placemarkers which were never reliable anyway given the rate at which
- webpages are redesigned.
- Personalized settings for webpage? Fantastic! I hate inline frames. If
- there are any Slate Magazine fans on this list, having to bump over that
- stupid Facebook inline frame to read articles drove me bunkers until I
- found out how to turn that off in CTRL+JAWSKey+V. And Slate. Com isn't the
- only site that puts that Facebook inline in inconvenient places. And for
- those like me who've been all-but-driven to madness by SayAll's obsessive
- need to vocalize Same-Page links on Wikipedia pages, you can turn that
- off under the Links branch in personalized settings. And the best part is
- that you can customize these settings for individual websites.
- Finally, some of the navigation keys are pretty sweet. Visited links is
- the most useful, for me. Going right to that spot you typically visit and
- hitting enter, so click. Going right to placemarkers on webpages that
- don't update a lot? Nice. Jumping to lines on a page? Paging through
- paragraphs? I use them all to get through the mess.
My intention is not to chastise. Like I mentioned above, JAWS has
its problems and its important to point them; I recognize that. So for all
of you who've held Freedom Scientific to account over JAWS's issues, I raise
my glass to you. But it has some pretty amazing navigational features as
well and I don't want that to be forgotten in the din.
PS: Does anyone know if the JAWS developers have any intentions of
implementing that Voiceover-in-Safari feature for the Mac which keeps all
webpage menus closed until you click on them to open them? If that wouldn't
clean up web browsing for Jaws in IE or Firefox...