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How the Blind Surf the Web

Go surfing with Myrna Votta, JAWS user extraordinaire from Lighthouse International, and find out what it's like to surf the Internet with sound.

Surfing with Myrna and JAWS

JAWS expert Myrna Votta took us on a whirlwind tour of some of her favorites sites online. You can read the transcript and listen to the audio (coming soon) of her experience on the Fresh Direct website. (Tip: Click on blue words below for definitions in our glossary on the next page.)

FRESH DIRECT DOT COM

Myrna: We're at Fresh Direct. Fresh Direct is a local thing in the New York metropolitan area — and maybe some things like this exist in other parts of the country — where you can do online grocery shopping. You can get fresh meats and beautiful fruit and beautiful vegetables. The good part of that for somebody who is visually impaired is that when you go shopping, you have to get someone from the store to help you or you have to hire somebody to come in and read the stuff to you because, you know, you just don't know what's on the shelves. You can't go poking around. So here's a site where I can go, pick out what I want, make my list, pay with my credit card, and they deliver. It's a pretty accessible site. It doesn't have a skip navigation (click for definition in sidebar below). Maybe some of its graphics are not alt tagged, but enough is right with it that you can actually use it.

. . . blank blank blank blank. . . [NOTE: all italics text is JAWS reading the screen]. I'm going to use a "P" to tell JAWS to take me to the next paragraph. Let's skip all these blank lines . . . Link. Graphic. Search. . . And there's search. Now, this is one I use a lot, because let's say I want to search for something. So I would do this. This is where I really want to be in the navigation bar. I know that there's a form field here, because if I want to search, I'm going to have to input something, right? So JAWS has this key called "F" that says take me to a form field. . . . Edit. . . And here it is. . . and below it . . . Find button. . . . so I'm going to come back up. . . . Edit. . . . I'm going to go into forms mode which takes it out of my buffer mode and makes it look like the real page to you. You can see the cursor, I'm sure. And I'm going to say. . . what do I want to find. . . I'm going to find peaches. White peaches. . . . W H I T E P E A C H E S. Tab. Find button. Enter. Forms mode go off. . . .

Okay. Forms mode is off. The page is now back in the virtual buffer. It's reloading itself. I'm going to go read my line, because sometimes the same page links and JAWS doesn't say them to make it more efficient for us. . . . Table head. Table head. Graphic link. Graphic link. . . . What we're going to do is I'm going to use "JAWS find" to see if peaches are here anywhere. . . . Version five. Enter. Fresh Direct dash. Search dash. Microsoft Explorer. Enter. Link: white peaches. Link: peaches and plums. Link: peaches. Link: white peach dash. . . . Enter.. . . Oh, that's it. I could have gone to the links list and done "W" by the way, too. But here I am . . . Fresh Direct dash white peach. Link: graphic. . . . Okay, I'm at the top [of the page]. I'm going to use my "Find Again" which means find the last thing you just found. . . . Link: peaches. Link: peaches. Link: New Jersey peach. . . . Ooh . . . Link: peach. Link: white peach. Link: three dash ripened peach. Link: farm fresh med dollar two point four nine slash lb.. . . So what it said was "med," which of course I know is medium. It's $2.49 a pound. . . . Blank. Edit three. . . . okay, they give you three to start with, but I could edit. So, I could put in something here, maybe I want four, or I could do this. . . . Link: Graphic. Enter. Increased quantity.. . . and that's what I'm going to do. . . . Link: Edit four.. . . and I could go on and on and on and on.

And then if I choose to buy it. Okay, let's say that's what I want . . . Link: visited link: Graphic increased. Lin: graphic decreased. Link: estimated edit one point six oh edit dollar three point nine eight. . . . So they estimated that it's going to be 1.6 pounds and it's going to cost $3.98. . . . Link: Graphic. Add to cart by add to cart link button.. . . Add to cart! And that's what I did.

. . . Enter. Page has 99 links. Link: graphic empty.. . . Now there's my confirmation. If I do an F3 again which means find it . . . Link: peaches. Link: peaches. Link: New Jersey peach. Link: white peach. Link: graphic. Edit quantity four. Options: farm fresh, med. Est price: dollar three dot nine eight. Blank. Blank. Blank. Table end.. . . And that's all that's in my cart. That white peach. So that is how you do it. And you keep adding and adding and adding and then you go checkout and pay — and you get your stuff.

Myrna Votta is the senior assistive technology specialist at Lighthouse International. POV Interactive would like to thank Myrna, Freedom Scientific and the folks at Lighthouse International for their assistance with this feature.

Editor's Note: JAWS text was edited to include punctuation for clarity on September 15, 2004. Original definition of "virtual buffer" was also replaced with correct meaning.





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One of the complaints that I heard constantly while I was making this film was that there are so few role models for people with disabilities in the media... The people in the film really wanted to tell their stories and I just opened the door.”

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