Henshaws Website Screen Reader Hacks

Our website has been optimised so that it can be navigated with a screen reader. We wanted to make it as efficient to navigate as possible, so we have incorporated various elements so you can navigate to the sections you want with ease. Below we outline some of the most commonly used screen readers, and how you can navigate different elements of our website.

Elements

Headings

We have divided pages into sections, and each section is marked by a heading, so you can easily and quickly browse the page and find what you’re looking for.

We have also used headings at different levels, so that headings at level 1 indicate the page’s main title, headings at level 2 indicate large subsections, headings at level 3 indicate sections within those subsections, and headings at level 4 indicate even smaller subsections.

Lists

Our website contains navigation menus so you can easily navigate to sections of our site. These menus are formatted as lists, so you can easily find them.

We have also used lists in some of the main content, to indicate what we offer, when relevant.

Buttons

The navigation menus, and some sections,  can be expanded and collapsed, and this is done using buttons. There is also the Search button, and buttons on the home page for changing slides that summarise our different services.

Regions

Regions divide websites into sections to separate major areas of a page.

For example, on our website, if the menu is expanded, the primary navigation region will appear. There is also the main region where the main page content is.

Frames

Frames are used when content is uploaded elsewhere, and embedded into our website. A frame is used to house our current vacancies function, and YouTube videos that we have embedded are also contained within frames.

Screen Readers

JAWS

JAWS is a screen reader for Windows devices, including laptops and desktops.

JAWS is developed by Freedom Scientific, and is distributed in the UK by Sight And Sound Technology.

JAWS is available for free in 40-minute mode, or you can purchase a full license – the price of JAWS varies depending on the type of license you purchase.

JAWS works with various web browsers including Chrome, Edge and Firefox.

To navigate web pages, you can use navigation quick keys – this means pressing letters on the keyboard to navigate through certain elements. Below are some navigation quick keys for navigating through our site with JAWS:

  • H: Navigate through headings
  • 1-6: Navigate through headings at the corresponding level: 1 for headings at level 1, 2 for headings at level 2 and so forth
  • L: Navigate through lists
  • I: Navigate through items within lists
  • R: Navigate through regions
  • B: Navigate through buttons
  • M: Navigate through frames

If you press Shift alongside any of these quick keys, you can navigate through the corresponding element in reverse order, for example pressing Shift alongside H will navigate you through headings in reverse order.

Some other useful JAWS keystrokes:

  • JAWS Key + F6: Display a list of headings – press Enter on the heading you want to navigate to.
  • JAWS Key + F7: Display a list of links – Pressing enter will activate the selected link. You can Tab across to the ‘move to link’ button and activate that button if you just want to move to the link but remain on the page you are on.
  • Control + JAWS Key + L: Display a list of lists – pressing Enter will move you to the selected list.
  • Control + JAWS Key + R: Display a list of regions – Pressing Enter will move you to the selected region.
  • Control + JAWS Key + B: Display a list of buttons – Pressing Enter will move you to the selected button; you cannot actually activate a button from this dialog.
  • JAWS Key + F9: Display a list of frames – pressing Enter will move you to the selected frame.

The JAWS Key is either the Insert, Caps Lock or Scroll Lock key, depending on your settings.

NVDA

NVDA is another Windows screen reader. It is completely free, and is distributed by NV Access.

NVDA works similarly to JAWS, in that the commands for navigating web pages are similar. However, there are some differences. Below are some useful keystrokes for navigating our website with NVDA:

  • Navigate through headings: H, or 1 through 6 to navigate through headings at the corresponding level
  • Navigate through regions: D
  • Navigate through buttons: B
  • Navigate through lists: L
  • Navigate through items in lists: I
  • Navigate through links: K
  • NVDA Key + F7: Display a list of elements: This includes links, headings and regions.

Similar to JAWS, when pressing a single letter command to navigate through a particular element, pressing Shift navigates in reverse order.

The NVDA Key is the Insert key or Caps Lock key, depending on your settings.

VoiceOver

VoiceOver is a screen reader for Apple products including iPhone, iPad and Mac products. Unlike JAWS and NVDA for Windows, VoiceOver is already installed on Apple devices, and is completely free, so no installation or purchasing a license is necessary.

iPhone and iPad

If navigating our website using an iPhone or iPad, and using touchscreen, swiping left and right with one finger will navigate you through the entire site including focusable and clickable elements, and blocks of text. Swiping right with one finger is for navigating forward, while swiping left navigates backwards.

Navigating through specific elements is best done using the VoiceOver rotor.

The VoiceOver rotor allows you to navigate screens in different ways, for example by character, word or line. The VoiceOver rotor can also be used to navigate to specific elements on web pages, including headings, links and form controls.

To use the VoiceOver rotor, first you need to set it to the option you want, for example navigating to headings. To do this, do a circular motion on the screen with two fingers, as if turning an imaginary dial on the screen. Then swipe down with one finger to navigate to that element, or up to navigate in reverse order, for example if you have headings selected, swiping down with one finger will navigate you to each heading.

You can customise what rotor options are available to you from the Rotor settings.

To access the Rotor settings, go to the Settings app, then select Accessibility, then VoiceOver, then Rotor.

Mac

Navigating a web page using a Mac is similar to navigating a web page using JAWS and NVDA. Below are some useful keystrokes for navigating our website with a Mac:

  • Navigate through headings: Control + Option + Command + H
  • Navigate through lists: Control + Option + Command + X
  • Navigate through links: Control + Option + Command + L

If you add Shift to any of these commands, this will navigate you through the corresponding element in reverse order.

TalkBack

TalkBack is the screen reader built into Android devices, such as smartphones and tablets. TalkBack works in a similar way to VoiceOver, but some of the gestures differ from the VoiceOver equivalents.

When navigating web pages, Google defines the different options as reading controls.

To navigate to a particular reading control, first do a one-finger swipe up then down to navigate through the reading controls, or down then up to navigate through the reading controls in reverse order. If your device supports multi-finger gestures, you can navigate through the reading controls by swiping down with three fingers, or swiping up with three fingers to navigate through them in reverse order. Reading controls you can select from include headings, links and controls (this includes form fields, buttons and menus).

You can also customise what reading controls are available from the Customise Menus section of the TalkBack settings.

Once you have selected a reading control, swipe up and down with one finger to navigate to the specified reading control.

For example, if you select Headings, swiping down will navigate to teach heading, and swiping up will navigate to each heading in reverse order.

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