Screen Reader users guide for DAISY forums

Original Author(s): Prashant Ranjan Verma

The forums on the DAISY website are fully accessible with screen reading software like JAWS for Windows, NVDA, Window Eyes and SuperNova. Persons with blindness or low vision can easily read existing topics on any of the DAISY forums or post new topics or comments using their preferred screen reader. Since all the forum pages have a predictable uniform structure, they are easy to navigate with screen reader keystrokes. The registration process for the forum is also accessible with proper labeling of form fields and no requirement of image verification.

In this tutorial various aspects of using the DAISY forums have been explained from the point of view of a screen reader user incorporating common keystrokes.

General layout of the DAISY forum pages

"Skip to main content" link has been provided at the top of all pages. Pressing ENTER key on this link will move the focus to the place where main content of the page starts.

Heading styles have been carefully used to label various sections on the page. The main content of the page always starts with Heading 1. You can use the quick navigation key of the screen reader for heading 1 to jump to the main content of the page. For example, if you are using JAWS or NVDA, on any of the forum pages press "1" on the keyboard to jump to the main content or press ENTER on the skip link at the top of the page.

The "Log in" and "Create account" links are present on all pages. If you are already logged in then the "Log out" link is displayed. Apart from regular text reading commands, you can use the keystrokes for links to find and activate these links. For example, with JAWS or NVDA press JAWS key/NVDA key + F7 to create a list of links on the page and then search for the required link by using UP/DOWN ARROW KEYS or by typing the first alphabet of the link name.

A "Search edit box" is present on the top right corner of all pages. You can use the quick keys for Form Fields navigation to jump to this edit box for typing the text string to search. If using JAWS or NVDA, press "e" to jump to the edit fields on the page.

Reading the forums

The URL for the list of DAISY forums is You can also click the forums link on the DAISY home page to checkout list of all forums. It is not necessary to log in to read the forum topics.

On the list of forums page, information on the forums is arranged in a table with four columns that is forum name, Total number of Topics, Total number of Posts and date of Last post. To read this information use text reading or table navigation keystrokes.

To quickly select a forum, skip to the main content of the page by pressing "1" and then press TAB to move to next link. Press ENTER on the forum name that you want to open and read. Try it out on this page.

On the forum page, the information about all the topics posted in that forum is arranged in a list where the topic name is marked as a heading 2. Besides each topic, total number of replies to it, date of posting and date of posting of last reply is mentioned. The best and quickest way to check out all the forum topics is to use the heading navigation quick keys of the screen reader. With Jaws or NVDA, press "h" repeatedly to read all the topics listed on the page. If the forum has more than 50 topics they are listed on different pages and you will find links for moving to different pages after the last topic on the page. Try it out on this page.

Each topic is also a link and pressing ENTER will open it in a new page with all comments posted for it. All the comments posted to a topic are also labeled as headings. So, after opening a topic to read, use the heading navigation keys to jump to the subject line of each comment or reply. Use regular text reading keystrokes to read any comment or reply. Try it out on this page.

Searching for information

It is a good idea to search for the information you want since browsing topics may be time-consuming.

On any DAISY forum page you can quickly locate the search box by using the edit field quick navigation key. If using JAWS or NVDA press "e" to jump to the search edit box and type the terms you want to find. Then press TAB and press ENTER on Search button.

The search results will be displayed on a new page. Use heading quick navigation keys to jump to the section "search results" and then use link navigation keys or text reading keystrokes to read the search results. Pressing ENTER on a link in the search results will open the page containing the searched terms.

Registering on the DAISY forums

You need to register or create an account in order to post messages on the DAISY forums. Follow the steps given below to create a log in username and password.

On any page on the forum press ENTER on the "Log in" link which is located near the top of the page. You can also click the "Register" link located at the end of forum topics to start the account creation process.

If you clicked the Log in link, then activate the "Create new account" link on the next page.

A form is displayed requesting your personal information. Use the screen reader quick keys for form fields to access and fill out this form. With JAWS or NVDA, you can press "f" repeatedly till the focus lands on the first field on the form which is "Username". Type the requested information and press TAB to move to the next field. Note that all the fields with an asterisk (*) are mandatory and the password must be at least 8 characters long.

On submitting this form with valid information you will receive an email with a link for verification. Press ENTER on this link. You will be directed to your account information page on the DAISY website. Here you can select preferences for using the DAISY website and email communication. Click the SAVE button at the end of the page if you make any selection. This marks the end of account creation process. You will be able to use your username and password to log in to any of the DAISY forums and post queries or comments.

Posting messages on the forums

To post a new topic or comment on any topic posted earlier in the forums you need to log in. On any DAISY forum page, press ENTER on the Log in link and then type in the username and password.

Now to post a new topic, locate and press enter on the link "Post new forum topic". A new page will open with a form for creating the topic. Use the form field navigation keystrokes of the screen reader to navigate through the fields. Enter a subject for your post, select the forum where this topic should appear and in the text box labelled "Body" type your message. Press the PREVIEW button to review your post. Press the SAVE button to submit your topic to the forum.

To post a comment to an existing topic, open the topic page. You may have also received a link to this page in an email. Now, activate the log in link and type in your username and password. The focus will return to the page containing the topic to which you want to comment. Below the topic text you will find edit fields where you can type the subject of your comment and text of the comment. Press the PREVIEW button to review your comment as it will appear on the web. You will be able to make changes to your comment by editing the text in the edit fields. Finally press the SAVE button to submit the comment to the forum.

Keeping track of forums

RSS feeds are available for each individual forum, to enable you to follow only the topics you are interested in. RSS feed for all DAISY forum posts and comments has also been provided on the DAISY forum list page. Press ENTER on the RSS icon that you want to add to your RSS reader and then in the page that opens choose an appropriate link to add the selected RSS.

This page was last edited by PVerma on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 22:49
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