Re: News Sites Refreshing

Robin Frost

Hi Brad,
Bravo, well-done to you. There are days when wading through as many email lists as I’m on makes me wonder why I do it. And then there comes a gem of a helpful cogent thoughtful message such as this which not only informs but enlightens a topic from various angles.
Thanks again and well-done to you. This one is worth archiving. Thanks for it.
Robin (who will be investigating the ad blocker mentioned)

Sent: Sunday, January 3, 2016 5:43 PM
Subject: News Sites Refreshing
There's been a fair amount of discussion about pages refreshing. And while it's true that some pages do constantly refresh (and it's really annoying because JAWS gets hung up on reading the same things over and over again), it's important to know whether this is actually the problem you're experiencing. It may not be.

Yes, sometimes, especially on news websites, a refresh occurs periodically. The page's author can set the refresh to occur every ten seconds or thirty seconds or fifteen minutes (as is more likely the case). At one time JAWS used to tell you "This page will refresh in 900 seconds," but I haven't heard that in so long I don't know if that's still a thing. But sometimes when JAWS loses its place (and its mind) it's not because the page is refreshing--at least, not the whole page.

Sometimes the problem you experience is the ads on a page changing, jumping, flashing, moving, etc. In fact the ad frames in the page may be refreshing while the regular content is not. This tends to manifest itself in JAWS losing its place frequently, or perhaps JAWS reading the same line several times as you arrow down an article, or skipping a line, then going back to it. For the sighted among us, you can describe the feeling this way: You're sitting at a desk reading a newspaper, when somebody comes around the back of your desk and yanks the paper away from you by an inch or two--not enough to pull the paper off the desk, but enough to make you lose your place. So you adjust, you find your spot again, and, whammo, somebody else comes along and shoves the paper towards you. Again, you lose focus, so you start trying to find your place while somebody else shoves the paper in a different direction.

What's happening is that the ads are different sizes, they're causing everything to shift, or they're moving. For those of us who are blind, we may not realize that an ad has appeared that is literally obscuring the page for our sighted friends, but I'm told it happens frequently. They'll be reading and what they're reading gets covered up by an ad.

I say all that to say this: I used to hate, hate, hate clicking on news articles because of the frustration I experienced while trying to read them, and I have a super fast computer with lots of RAM, so it's not a problem of the computer getting bogged down. All that changed when I installed first AdBlock, and now that AdBlock no longer works with Firefox, I use Adblock Plus, which even has a version for IE although I've only used the Firefox version. It has changed my experience of reading news from all sorts of websites--TV websites, newspaper websites, online news sites, everything. JAWS rarely loses its place because the ads aren't jumping around the screen and bumping my page back and forth. I stopped experiencing crashes because of the flash ads. Honestly I can't remember the last time I encountered a page that made me feel like it was truly refreshing or reloading. It's very rare. A nice side benefit is I rarely have to wade through countless a frames and i frames.

Sorry that was so long, but I hope it helps some of you, both in terms of understanding why JAWS is behaving the way it is, and in explaining the experience to your sighted friends.

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