How I Read the DAISY Planet with a Screen Reader
I am a visually impaired person and I use screen reading software to work on the computer. My primary screen reader is JAWS although I also use NVDA and have some exposure to SuperNova and WINDOW EYES.
All screen readers now provide a set of keystrokes for basic navigation in web pages and an additional set of quick keys that help in increasing the speed of navigation and reading.
Depending upon how the website has been designed, a screen reader user can access the information in several different ways. It is possible to quickly check all the links on the page, or jump to different headings or simply read the page from start to end.
I have been reading the DAISY Planet, the monthly newsletter from DAISY Consortium for several years now. I now know that the DAISY Planet is structured very well and that it is totally accessible for screen reader and keyboard only users.
Every month I receive an email informing the release of the new issue of the Planet. I click the link in the email to open the DAISY Planet newsletter in the web browser.
After the page has loaded, I use the quick key for heading navigation, which is the letter "H" in case of both JAWS & NVDA to quickly skim through the Content. Every time I press the letter “H” my screen reader jumps to the next heading, reads out the text and also informs me the level of the heading for example "WIPO Treaty: Reflections & Reactions, heading 2".
After reading all the headings I get an overview of all the content in the new issue of DAISY Planet and make up my mind on the articles that I want to read. I continue using the heading navigation quick key to jump to the article of my interest. . If by chance I jump past the heading I want to read, I can backtrack easily by using the key combination "SHIFT + H". When I have found the article I want to read, I use the "READ ALL" command of the screen reader. On pressing "JAWS/NVDA key + DOWN ARROW" the screen reader reads aloud all the text under the selected section.
Sometimes when I want to read the article carefully I use the paragraph reading keystroke "CONTROL + DOWN ARROW" instead of the READ ALL keystroke. When I come across a link that I want to open and read, I choose to open it in a new window so that I can return to the article I was reading. To do this I press "SHIFT + ENTER" to activate the links. The linked content opens in a new browser window. After reading it, I close it by pressing "ALT + F4" and focus returns to the DAISY Planet and precisely to the link I had activated. I then continue to read the article with text reading keystrokes.
I generally skip the Index section which contains links to the featured articles and different sections in the newsletter. Instead of using these same page links I choose to jump to those articles/sections using the heading quick navigation key.
All the images in the DAISY Planet have a suitable alt text which my screen reader picks up. The concern for accessibility of the DAISY Planet editor is also evident from the fact that all the sections in the newsletter have been marked up with appropriate heading level tags.
I understand that other screen reader users may like to read the DAISY Planet in a different way. Whatever approach you prefer should work well because the newsletter web page is properly structured, has meaningful link text and adequate image descriptions. It also has skip links and an index at the top to help navigate directly to the main content or the desired article or section.
Text is available under the terms of the DAISY Consortium Intellectual Property Policy, Licensing, and Working Group Process.