In-Process 20th November 2020

NVAccess - November 20, 2020 - 12:06

Now that NVDA 2020.3 has been out for a while and well received, we are working towards the next release on NVDA. In fact, work on that started well before NVDA 2020.3 was even released. We are not quite up to a beta version yet this week. So, it’s an excellent opportunity for another longer walkthrough we don’t always have room for. This time, some tips on using object navigation to get the most info in Windows 10s settings. First though, NVDACon:

NVDACon 2020

We are now a fortnight away from NVDACon 2020! Robert and the team have a heap of great things lined up for us. First, an exciting announcement! The Keynote speech will once again be translated into Spanish. There are also new presentation formats and talks. Importantly, there are lots of opportunities to meet and chat with fellow NVDA users.

In In-Process recently, I have been sharing memories from NVDA’s past. So, for my NVDACon memory this week, I thought I’d go right back to the early days of NVDACon. NVDACon 2014 was the first NVDACon, held on 1st March 2014. Initially conceived as a biennial event, there were two NVDACons held in 2014 and again in 2015. The recordings are available on: https://www.nvdacon.org/past-conferences

For a bit of a trip down memory lane then, here is the NVDACon Keynote from six years ago.

Using object navigation in Windows settings

Windows 10s settings have a lot more options than many people realise. Not all these options are easy to navigate. While you can use tab and the arrow keys to get around settings, this can skip some information which can be important.

There are several ways to open Windows settings. You can open settings with WINDOWS+i. The focus stars in an edit box where you can search for a setting, or you can tab through the major categories. Alternatively, press the WINDOWS key and type the name of the desired setting. For instance, “Make everything bigger” or “wifi settings”.

Let’s have a look at Wi-Fi settings now:

  1. Press WINDOWS+i to open settings. The focus starts in a “Find a setting” search edit
  2. Press TAB to move to the list of settings
  3. Press the RIGHT ARROW to move to “Network and Internet”
  4. Press ENTER to load the Network and Internet settings
  5. Press TAB to move to the search edit, “List, Status 1 of 8”. This is a list of sections in the network and internet settings, with Status being the first section
  6. Press TAB again to move to the “Properties” button
  7. NVDA reads the name of the network. There was other information above this button on the screen which wasn’t read. Press NVDA’s “Move to previous object” command to move back through the items. This command is NVDA+numpad 4 if using NVDA in desktop layout. The keystroke is NVDA+shift+left arrow if using NVDA in laptop keyboard layout. NVDA reads the total amount of traffic over this network in the last 30 days. That is, how much data your PC has downloaded or uploaded over this Wi-Fi network in the last month.

  8. Next, press TAB to move to the “Data usage” button
  9. Press ENTER to load the data usage by app for the current network
  10. Press TAB to move through the options. The focus moves past “network”, “enter limit button”, “Reset usage statistics button”, and “Get help”, to “Give feedback”
  11. The network is a list of available networks, with the current network selected. Under this drop-down is text explaining that a data limit can be set. This is useful if you have a limited data plan for your Wi-Fi. Note that the limit set here only applies to data used by THIS PC. Data used by other devices on this Wi-Fi network is not counted here. From the “enter limit” button, use the “Move to previous object” command to read the explanatory text.

    From the enter limit button, use the “Move to next object” command to move through a list of apps. Each app is followed by the amount of data used by each in the past month. The highest usage is at the top.

  12. Finally, press ALT+F4 to close settings

That’s all for this week. Until next time, stay safe and well, and Let Us Know on Twitter what new Windows settings you explore!

Categories: partners

In-Process 6th November 2020

NVAccess - November 6, 2020 - 12:59

Welcome to November! We’ve continued to get great feedback on NVDA 2020.3. Users appreciate the stability and performance improvements, and new and updated features. First off this time though, let’s go to Russia:

NVDA Certification in Russia

Anatoliy Popko is a well-known Russian accessibility expert. Recently, Quentin had the opportunity to Chat with Anatoliy and find out about some of the exciting projects he is involved with.

The video is a little longer than some of our other pieces, but it’s a fascinating story. It was great to hear about the work they are doing in Russia, and how integral NVDA Certification has been to their training. Read the Transcript or Watch the Video of NVDA Certification in Russia.

Wherever you are in the world, if Anatoliy’s story has inspired your becoming an NVDA Certified Expert, we’d love to have you on the list!

Visit https://certification.nvaccess.org/ to find out more. Sitting the certification test is free and without obligation. If you would like to purchase your certificate once you pass, you are most welcome to do so.

If you feel you would like to prepare a bit more before sitting the exam, we would recommend studying the “Basic Training for NVDA” module. There is nothing in the exam which is only documented in Basic Training for NVDA, but just about everything in the exam is covered in the module. Basic Training for NVDA is available in Human-Read MP3 Audio, Hardcopy UEB Braille or Electronic Text.

Text: “There is a trend, a very noticeable one, to move from commercial screen reader solutions to NVDA”, in purple on a white block, on an orange background.

NVDACon 2020 NVDACon is rapidly approaching with exactly one month to go. There is still an opportunity to Submit an NVDACon Presentation idea and the organisers would love to hear from you.

Digging through the old NVDACon archives in the 23rd October Edition of In-Process was fun, so I’ve had another look this week. This week, I’ve found an NVDACon memory from last year, a Lightning Talk by Minako Nonogaki of Japan. She is presenting a demonstration of the Orbit Reader Braille display with NVDA.

Lightning talks like Minako’s are usually between 15 – 30 minutes, so presenting doesn’t have to be an hour long session. In fact, you can even go as short as a 30 second “Thunder Clap”. Are you an add-on developer, or a user with a great tip to share? Even a quick Thunder Clap would be a great way to quickly share your news with the NVDA Community. Get in Touch with the NVDACon Organisers to Express your Interest.

NVDA’s Document Formatting Settings

There are a couple of new features in NVDA 2020.3 on NVDA’s document formatting settings screen. So what are these settings, and how do you use them?

NVDA’s Document Formatting screen lets you set what information is reported when reading a document. This can include changes in the font, text size, or paragraph alignment. Reporting of features such as lists, headings, and links can also be enabled or disabled. Note that when this formatting information is not reported, the underlying text is still read. Similarly, Single Letter Navigation Keys such as L for list, i for list item, H or 2 for headings or K for links still jump to those elements. To highlight the difference, I thought I’d use Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia. In Wikipedia, virtually very sentence is dotted with links to other articles. Following the links from article to article can be a fascinating and informative read. Here is how the start of today’s “On This Day” section of the main page reads by default:

heading level 2 On this day link November 6 : link Gustavus Adolphus Day in Estonia, Finland and Sweden ( link 1632 ); link Finnish Swedish Heritage link Day in Finland link graphic George Eliot George Eliot list with 5 items link 447 – A powerful earthquake destroyed large portions of the link Walls of Constantinople , including 57 towers.

NVDA’s Document Formatting settings control which of those elements are reported. In the paragraph there was a heading, a list, a graphic and a number of links. If we disabled each of those, and read the text again, NVDA would read:

On this day November 6 : Gustavus Adolphus Day in Estonia, Finland and Sweden ( 1632 ); Finnish Swedish Heritage Day in Finland George Eliot 447 – A powerful earthquake destroyed large portions of the Walls of Constantinople , including 57 towers.

The text reads more smoothly, but it is not clear where links are, or the list, or that “George Eliot” is an image. (further down in the list of events, it notes that her first story was submitted for publication on this day in 1856).

To enable or disable options in NVDA’s document formatting settings, press NVDA+control+d to open the Document Formatting settings. Or, open NVDA’s settings and press CONTROL+TAB to the “Document” page. New in NVDA 2020.3 is the ability to toggle reporting of graphics, and also highlighted text in web browsers.

That’s all for this week. Do keep Letting Us Know how you are going with NVDA 2020.3. Until next time, stay safe and well!

Categories: partners

NVDA in Russia

NVAccess - November 5, 2020 - 17:23

Anatoliy Popko is a well-known Russian accessibility expert. Recently, Quentin had the opportunity to chat with him and find out about some of the exciting projects he is involved with. The interview is available as a video, with the transcript of the conversation below that.

Quentin: Anatoliy Popko, tell me a little bit about yourself

Anatoliy: Well the difficult part about that question is a little bit. 38, totally blind, NVDA user for last 4 years plus something. And I’ve been always very loud and articulate about the accessibility, digital accessibility here in Russia. I live in Moscow; I am one of the co-authors of Russian digital accessibility standards. We took WCAG 2.1 and basically translated it into Russian and there now since April 1st, 2020, it was enacted. So, it is an official document now, and I take a little bit of pride that I was a tiny part of that accessibility movement. And, of course, I help Russian charities to run various projects related to blind and vision impaired users. And one of them does require NVDA certification, so that is cool.

Quentin: That is cool. So why are you using NVDA certification? What do you have Russian certified NVDA users for?

Anatoliy: Well, actually, there is a very strong Russian speaking community of blind and vision impaired users. There is a trend, a very noticeable one, to move from commercial screen reader solutions to NVDA. So, I would assume, I don’t have any exact figures, but my estimation is that NVDA is the primary screen reader for the majority of the Russian blind computer windows computer users.

Text: “There is a trend, a very noticeable one, to move from commercial screen reader solutions to NVDA”, in purple on a white block, on an orange background.

There is a fund, and the fund is called Arts science and sports. And one of its programs or subdivisions is called special view. Those wonderful ladies behind special view. They came to me and tried to address me with a question if there is anything that I would do, having the resources, for blind and vision impaired community in Russia, and especially in terms of computer skills, so to say. And yes, I came up with the idea to actually unite a few prominent Russian IT trainers, because I know a lot of them throughout Russia and to start one on one distance learning sessions trying to actually expand the current level of expertise and knowledge of using the technology. Because you know I also run the dialog in the dark project and I really hate it when blind people avoid using various technology which they could have been using. But they just avoid it for some reasons that they don’t know how to use it and that really decreases their performance and that annoys me enormously. I just think that something needs to be done about that

Quentin: You said NVDA is now the most popular screenreader in Russia. Do you know why that is? Is it a cost issue?

Anatoliy: One of the major issues, it is cost related, yes. NVDA is actually a good product. It has updates, three or four updates per year. It runs fast, and there’s really no point in not using it. That’s the key I guess.

NVDA is actually a good product… It runs fast, and there’s really no point in not using it.

Quentin: You mentioned the Dialog in the Dark. Tell me a little bit more about Dialog in the Dark.

Anatoliy: Dialog in the Dark has a few formats. So one of them is business workshops, where sighted persons are taking to the complete darkness, and they conduct a real business workshop to develop their soft skills, so that is the key objective. And another type of events is exhibition. So, there is a specially darkened space. Sighted people enter it and of course they instantly stop seeing, stop relying on their vision, which usually provides up to 80 or more percent of the information about their surroundings. So then they have to cope anyhow with the reality. While in exhibition they go from one location to the other and then the locations may vary a lot. So there is a street, there’s a park, there is a summer house, there is a maybe a short trip on a boat with real water outside and they go to some bar buy some soda or snacks, and that is an hour long journey. Once they come out they have a chance to talk to the blind guide, their guide, to ask whatever questions might arise out of their experience and that is also something very important as a as important as personal experience can be.

Quentin: Fantastic, and you’re also involved in G3ICT’s Smart Cities for All.

Anatoliy: A little bit, yes. Because I’m trying to push Russian IT community for greater digital accessibility, and those efforts were recognised by G3ICT and smart cities for all program and they approached me and asked if I would be willing to take my efforts on the next level. I happily agreed, and after the interview, they accepted me in their country representatives. So I am representing Russia.

I’m trying to push Russian IT community for greater digital accessibility, and those efforts were recognised by G3ICT.

I really am a vocal person. I try to be reasonable and sensible but when I see how much blind and vision impaired people can do and the only reason why they aren’t doing that is just digital barriers that could be easily, or relatively easily put away. That just always strikes me as some unfairness, some deep unfairness on a very deep level and I start to ask, to convince people to make their product accessible and actually to get them acquainted with screenreading software. I always say, well if you use Windows then just download NVDA screenreader. If you use any other platform like maybe MacOS then press command+F5 key. Just take a look at how it’s working, and yeah, so far I’d say there have been a few successes on that way, so we’re moving forward.

Text: “Digital barriers that could be easily, or relatively easily, put away. That just always strikes me as some unfairness, some deep unfairness” in purple on turquoise.

If you use Windows then just download NVDA screenreader.

Quentin: Fantastic. Moving forward, that’s good! So that brings us back to your project, working for the Arts, Science and Sports foundation charity, as the accessibility consultant for the Special View program.

Anatoliy: Yep, and so the idea behind the project is to actually get together those users, blind and vision impaired users who want to expand their knowledge, their IT related skills, and those blind and vision impaired IT trainers who can provide, who can teach how to use the computer and that’s the idea behind it. And one of the questions which arises right away: How can be we sure that those IT trainers, themselves have the expertise and knowledge that they can use the computers, good enough? And NVDA Certification became one of the first challenges for those IT specialists to overcome. Because that was a challenge.

How can we be sure that those IT trainers, themselves have the expertise and knowledge that they can use the computer, good enough? NVDA Certification.

That was the first thing I myself did. I passed the exam and thought that it was mildly difficult. Well it was difficult, but not so much, and I thought that OK well if IT trainers who would teach blind and vision impaired community in Russia would have this internationally recognised certification, that would be just cool. So, I kind of set that as an entry barrier. So those people who want to train others, have to pass the exam.

Because they live all across Russia and I think only one of them is in Moscow so all the others, all the other 10 are located in various other cities from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. And everywhere in between, in any cities.

They were passing the exam. I really am proud to say 11 of my peers, totally blind, Russian speaking and Russian living users, NVDA users, have been able to pass the exam. And actually, a little more because, when I shared what I was doing with friends of mine, because I have a lot of blind and visually impaired friends, all over Russia, even those who didn’t, who weren’t particularly interested in becoming an IT trainer, they were like “ah , what do you say, they NVDA certification system?, Aha, ok, and I know for sure at least a couple of guys who are not directly engaged in my project, they also went to NVDA certification system and passed the exam. Just to make sure that their knowledge of the best screenreader for Windows platform is sufficient enough just to get self-esteem, that’s funny!

Passed the exam. Just to make sure that their knowledge of the best screenreader for Windows platform is sufficient enough.

Quentin: That’s fantastic, and it really goes to show the dedication of the people you’ve got working with you there So the project that you’ve got started there, to teach others. What will you be teaching?

Anatoliy: The topic range is actually quite extensive. Because there is not only Windows OS itself, basic function like changing options and using file explorer, this kind of stuff but there’s also of course various internet related functions starting with internet browsing, email clients then of course there is Skype, Zoom and all those communication systems, and then there is a huge block related to Google applications, Google suite, Google documents, Google sheets, Google calendar, tasks, Gmail itself, whatever because like those pieces of software they are being used in corporate environment just about everywhere and if there is a chance, a possibility for employment for a blind and visually impaired person, then those tools are a must to master, so to say. There is no way of avoiding this kind of software. And of course, we also, are aiming at providing some knowledge for Mac OSX operating system, and we even want to go as far as to start actually to support Blind and visually impaired freelancers who want to organise and to create their own websites so using some content management system like WordPress, Drumola, Joomla, Drupal or whatever, you name it. That is going to be the real help to blind and vision impaired Russian community because they would have access to the knowledge and expertise of IT of prominent IT Russian trainers. Those IT trainers who are blind and vision impaired persons themselves they would get an opportunity for vocational employment. So they would be able to earn some money. And those corporate structures that are responsible enough to hire blind and visually impaired persons, they can just address that project with a proposal to train their blind personnel to use the software so they wouldn’t have any more doubts than necessary, if this blind person can use this particular software. I think also that might also be important.

If there is a chance, a possibility for employment for a blind or visually impaired person, then those tools are a must to master.

But the idea behind the project is that the charity foundation actually covers the costs of training sessions. So it pays to the IT trainers and blind and vision impaired users receive knowledge free of charge you know only the only requirements are their basically their motivation. So hopefully that would give opportunities to those people who can not really get hold of any substantial knowledge for their education or employment otherwise.

Quentin: Definitely, and that ties in with our own philosophy at NV Access, that the cost for a blind user to be able to use the computer should be no more than for anybody else. Which is exactly why we make NVDA available for free to begin with.

Anatoliy: Yep, and I would like to take this opportunity if I may to really thank you guys. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to NVDA project. Because it’s been evolving rapidly, and the work you’re doing is really fantastic and I’m sure there is a lot of Russian, well I know for sure that there is just hundreds, if not thousands of blind Russian users that would gladly say thank you for your work for your dedication for your NVDA because it really does make a lot of difference in how we use computers. Why we use, where we use them. It does open doors for education, for employment and it kind of like lays the foundation for us to start talking about digital accessibility because like right now we can address all the interested developers. Ok take a look at NVDA website and just download that free screen reader software and just run it. See for yourself what your website or your application looks like. And we can use it just freely on any computer and that, that’s a lot. That really does make a huge difference. That motivates at least me to talk about digital accessibility to push the corporate environment, the IT developers forward and to you know create even more education and employment opportunities for the blind and vision impaired, that’s what we’re doing here. That’s important.

Text “I would like to take this opportunity if Imay to really thank you guys. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to NVDA project” in purple on turquoise.

Quentin: That is important and that’s a really fantastic initiative that you’ve got going there.

Anatoliy: Well thank you.

Quentin: And thank you.

Categories: partners

In-process 23rd October 2020

NVAccess - October 23, 2020 - 07:04

The big news this time around is the release of NVDA 2020.3. The new version came out last week, so by now many users with NVDA set to “Check for updates” will have already updated. So, let’s dive right into that first up:

NVDA 2020.3

NVDA 2020.3 includes several large improvements to stability and performance. These improvements are particularly evident in Microsoft Office applications, and in VS Code. There are new settings to toggle touchscreen support and graphics reporting. The existence of marked (highlighted) content can be reported in browsers now. There are new German braille tables, and fixes for users of various sound drivers.

NVDA 2020.3 is a recommended update for all users. Please read more and download from the NVDA 2020.3 Release Announcement:

If you are an existing NVDA user, you can also update by pressing NVDA+N, then H for help, then C to check for update.

NVDACon

NVDACon is coming up in just over a month. To get in the mood, I thought I would share some snippets from previous years in the lead up. Recordings from previous NVDACon conventions are available at from the NVDACon Past Conferences page.

Here is a recording from 2018, featuring Tony Malykh. Tony is the author of NVDA Add-ons including SentenceNav and IndentNav. Listen to Tony’s NVDACon 2018 Presentation. If you would like to try Tony’s add-ons out yourself, they have been updated since 2018. They both have new features and work with the current NVDA 2020.3. You can find both on the NVDA Add-ons:

Or go directly to the SentenceNav or IndentNav pages on the NVDA Add-ons site.

What has been your favourite NVDACon memory? Let us know, and we’ll feature more highlights in a coming edition of In-Process.

If you’re an NVDA user or add-on developer, you might also feel inspired to submit your idea for a talk. We’d love to hear how you use NVDA or what you’ve been working on at this year’s NVDACon. Please get in touch with the NVDACon organisers, as they’d love to fit you in!

Don’t forget: mark December 5 and 6 in your calendar for NVDACon 2020.

Reporting formatting information

Many users know that pressing NVDA+f reports the current formatting information. If you press this twice, it presents the information in a text window. This command has undergone a subtle change in NVDA 2020.3. It now reports the information at the caret or system focus.

If you are scratching your head thinking it always did that, you will not notice any change. In fact, NVDA+f used to report formatting information for the text at the review cursor. The review cursor follows the text caret by default, so is usually at the same place as the caret or system focus. It is possible to move the review cursor on its own, or to set the review cursor to not follow the system focus. To still find out the formatting at the review cursor, rather than system focus, press NVDA+shift+f.

The review cursor works closely with object navigation. These features can access text and objects not available with the regular text carat. Text such as read-only dialogs, or labels which are not attached to their control, so don’t get read.

There is a section in our “Basic Training for NVDA” module which covers the review cursor. There is also a complete section on Object navigation. The module covers everything from the basics to advanced functions like configuration profiles. You can purchase “Basic Training with NVDA” individually in a range of formats from the NV Access Shop. It is also available as part of the “NVDA Productivity Bundle“. The bundle includes the Word, Excel and Outlook modules, and telephone support. You can find both the individual modules and the bundle in the NV Access shop.

That’s all for this week. Have a spooky Halloween, and we’ll be back again in early November.

Categories: partners

NVDA 2020.3 Released

NVAccess - October 13, 2020 - 20:21

NV Access is pleased to announce that version 2020.3 of NVDA, the free screen reader for Microsoft Windows, is now available for download. We encourage all users to upgrade to this version.

NVDA 2020.3 includes several large improvements to stability and performance, particularly in Microsoft Office applications. There are new settings to toggle touchscreen support and graphics reporting. The existence of marked (highlighted) content can be reported in browsers, and there are new German braille tables.

Please note, after updating any software, it is a good idea to restart the computer. Restart by going to the Shutdown dialog, selecting “restart” and pressing ENTER. Updating software can change files which are in use. This can lead to instability and strange behaviour which is resolved by rebooting. This is the first thing to try if you do notice anything odd after updating.

While downloading NVDA, please consider becoming a monthly donor. Contributions like yours help NV Access continue our important work.

We also have a range of training material in the NV Access Shop to help you increase your skills with NVDA. Start with the popular Basic Training for NVDA in electronic text, audio and braille. Save with the NVDA Productivity Bundle. This includes Basic Training, all our Microsoft Office training, and telephone support.

Download NVDA 2020.3

To find out what’s new in this release, please visit What’s new in NVDA 2020.3

Close-up photograph of NVDA logo in notification area.

Categories: partners

In-Process 9th October 2020

NVAccess - October 9, 2020 - 13:07

We’re very close to a new NVDA version! The first release candidate is out, so let’s start with that:

NVDA 2020.3 Release Candidate

Following on from the beta releases over the past few weeks, NVDA 2020.3 RC1 has been released. This is a release candidate, and unless any critical issues are found, this will be identical to the 2020.3 release. I would encourage everyone to Please Test This Release Candidate.

There are improvements to stability and performance, particularly in Office. There is a new German Braille table, and eSpeak-NG has been updated. There are new touchscreen options, and we’ve added new emulated system keys in the input gestures dialog.

More highlights and download links can be found in the NVDA 2020.3 Release Candidate Announcement.

Updated Job advertisement

NV Access is still seeking to appoint a Full-Time Software Engineer to join our small team. Your work will focus on improving our NVDA screen reading software and related online infrastructure, including feature implementation and bug fixing. You must be an Australian Resident (For Tax Purposes). We have updated the advertisement with new details. So, for all the information, and to apply, please refer to our Full Time Software Engineer Job Advertisement.

Code of conduct

NV Access has always been lauded for upholding the highest moral and ethical standard. We have recently formalised this ethos into a code of conduct. This code of conduct doesn’t comprise anything unusual or surprising. Indeed, there isn’t anything listed which wasn’t already standard behaviour, either for us, or for the NVDA community overall. You can find a copy of the code of conduct in the main NVDA Files Repository on GitHub. The direct link to the Code of Conduct itself is https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/blob/master/CODE_OF_CONDUCT.MD. Going forward, this will be the code of conduct for NV Access owned forums, such as our GitHub repository. We would encourage other NVDA-based communities to consider adopting similar codes of conduct, which you are welcome to base off this document.

NVDACon 2020 call for topics

NVDACon 2020 is fast approaching. Robert Hänggi, the chair, has posted a Call for Topics Letter to the Community, calling for submissions for the conference.

There are a number of new presentation types and lengths, so if you haven’t presented before, or been worried that your presentation might not be the right length or style, Have a Look at the Call For Topics For NVDACon 2020, there’s sure to be something to suit!

Another of the NVDACon organisers, Derek, is looking into the possibility of live streaming sessions on YouTube. Because YouTube has the provision for visuals as well as audio, Derek would like to know what you would have as visuals with each presentation? Email info@nvdacon.org with your thoughts and suggestions.

Reading foreign languages:

Jen Jesso of the Provincial Resource Centre for the Visually Impaired in Vancouver has put together a handy guide for Setting up NVDA to Read Foreign Languages. These are very useful for anyone who uses NVDA with multiple languages regularly.

New Accessible game

Many people have been following the progress of the Tau Station project. The project has made it to Kickstarter now and is seeking backers. Tau Station describes itself as an “MMO Biblio RPG”, an expansive and beautifully written science fiction novel and a grippingly immersive, massively multiplayer role-playing game. If that sounds like the kind of thing you’d enjoy, then you might consider backing Tau Station on Kickstarter.

That’s all for this week. NVDA 2020.3 will either be out, or very close to it by the time our next In-Process comes out. In the meantime, do please try the NVDA 2020.3 Release Candidate and Let Us Know what you think.

Categories: partners

NVDA 2020.3rc1 available for testing

NVAccess - October 6, 2020 - 22:03

The Release Candidate (RC) of NVDA 2020.3 is now available for download and testing. We encourage all users to download this RC and provide feedback. Unless any critical bugs are found, this will be identical to the final 2020.3 release.

NVDA 2020.3 includes several large improvements to stability and performance, particularly in Microsoft Office applications. There are new settings to toggle touchscreen support and graphics reporting. The existence of marked (highlighted) content can be reported in browsers, and there are new German braille tables.

Categories: partners

NVDA 2020.3beta4 Available for Testing

NVAccess - October 1, 2020 - 23:08

Beta4 of NVDA 2020.3 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Changes since Beta3:

  • “Automatic focus mode for caret movement” setting is now compatible with disabling “Automatically set focus to focusable elements”.
  • Reverted change to SAPI5 synth driver which introduced regressions.
  • Updated translations for many languages.

Changes since Beta2:

  • Major performance improvements in Visual Studio Code.

Changes since Beta1:

  • Updated translations for many languages.
  • Small corrections to the changes file.
  • Ensure that ‘Microsoft Sound Mapper’ entry under output devices is translated.
  • Handy Tech Active Braille with joystick is now supported.
  • Certain SAPI5 voices (such as Ivona) no longer skip speech.

NVDA 2020.3 includes several large improvements to stability and performance, particularly in Microsoft Office applications. There are new settings to toggle touchscreen support and graphics reporting. The existence of marked (highlighted) content can be reported in browsers, and there are new German braille tables.

Categories: partners

Numpad Nav Mode

NVDA add-ons - October 1, 2020 - 03:57
  • Author: Luke Davis (Open Source Systems, Ltd.)
  • Download stable version

Numpad Nav Mode is an NVDA add-on, which allows you to easily switch your keyboard's numpad between NVDA's navigation controls and the non-screenreader Windows navigation controls.

The normal functions of the PC number pad, with numlock off, are: page up, page down, home, end, four-way arrow keys, and a delete key. But NVDA completely takes over the numpad, to provide review keys, mouse controls, and object navigation controls. This is true even in laptop keyboard mode, which duplicates those functions on non-numpad keys for those who do not have a numpad.

However some users do have a numpad on their laptop, and would prefer to use it for Windows navigation purposes, especially because some laptops do not provide home, end, or other such keys. That is where this add-on can help. Additionally, some desktop users may sometimes find it convenient to use the numpad for those keyboard functions rather than the normal keys, which this add-on enables.

How it works

With numlock off, no matter what keyboard layout you are using, this add-on will let you press Alt+NVDA+NumpadPlus (which is usually the long key second up on the right), to quickly and easily switch between the normal NVDA navigation controls, and the classic Windows navigation controls. This key can be remapped under Input Gestures, in the Input section.

Note that this add-on doesn't disable the use of numpad insert as an NVDA modifier, if you have it set as such. If you want that feature, please let me know, although you can manually turn off numpad insert as a modifier in NVDA keyboard settings.

If you would prefer to have NVDA start with the Windows nav mode active by default, you can configure that in NVDA configuration. Go to NVDA's preferences, then settings, and find the Numpad Nav Mode settings panel. There you will be able to select a checkbox to turn Windows Nav Mode on by default when you start NVDA. To get there quickly, press NVDA+N, P, S, then N one or more times until you hear "Numpad Nav Mode".

New features

I encourage you to email with any feature suggestions, or other use cases that I haven't listed here, or just to let me know you find the add-on useful!

Inspiration

This add-on was the direct result of requests I've seen from users over the years, and a GitHub discussion in #9549. With thanks to @Qchristensen and @feerrenrut.

Categories: partners

NVDA 2020.3beta3 Available for Testing

NVAccess - September 24, 2020 - 20:55

Beta3 of NVDA 2020.3 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Changes since Beta2:

  • Major performance improvements in Visual Studio Code.

Changes since Beta1:

  • Updated translations for many languages.
  • Small corrections to the changes file.
  • Ensure that ‘Microsoft Sound Mapper’ entry under output devices is translated.
  • Handy Tech Active Braille with joystick is now supported.
  • Certain SAPI5 voices (such as Ivona) no longer skip speech.

NVDA 2020.3 includes several large improvements to stability and performance, particularly in Microsoft Office applications. There are new settings to toggle touchscreen support and graphics reporting. The existence of marked (highlighted) content can be reported in browsers, and there are new German braille tables.

Categories: partners

In-Process 24th September 2020

NVAccess - September 24, 2020 - 07:32

Well we made it to the equinox I promised last time around! It’s now either Spring, or Autumn (or Fall), and hopefully the weather is nice where you are.

NVDA 2020.3 Beta 2

Text “BETA 2” in turquoise over a dark background on top of the white on purple NVDA logo.

The first news this time around, is the release of a Beta Version of NVDA 2020.3, two, in fact. Last week we released NVDA 2020.3 beta 1, and this week we have released a second beta. NVDA 2020.3 includes several large improvements to stability and performance, particularly in Microsoft Office applications. There are new settings to toggle touchscreen support and graphics reporting. The existence of marked (highlighted) content can be reported in browsers. There are also new German braille tables.

We’ve been asked whether we recommend people install the beta. The answer depends on your own skill level and desire to test new features. Of course, every effort is made to ensure the beta works smoothly. The main reason for having a beta, however, is for people to test it before releasing the final version. If you do test it, please ensure you have a way of returning to your previous stable version if things don’t work. Most users can test features by using the beta as a temporary or portable copy. The temporary copy is the one which starts when you run the downloaded file. Choose “Continue” to keep running that copy and test what you’d like to check. If you “Create portable copy”, you can specify a folder (on your hard drive or a removeable USB) to setup a copy of NVDA on. This works like the temporary option, except changes to settings are saved in that copy. You will need to either create a shortcut or specifically run it from that folder each time. Either way, again it won’t interfere with your installed version.

Read the full what’s new, and download the beta from the NVDA 2020.3 Beta 2 Announcement.

NVDACon

This year’s NVDACon, the online conference for all things NVDA, is fast approaching. One of the great things about NVDACon, is that it is organised and run entirely by users!

This year’s NVDACon will be held the weekend of the 5th / 6th December, with the theme “Bridging the Distance”. The NVDACon organisers are currently calling for submissions. Options range from “Thunder clap tweets” to full length sessions and everything in-between. Contact info@nvdacon.org with your session ideas!

Software Engineer Sought

We’re Hiring text in purple with sunburst decorations

NV Access is seeking to appoint a Full-Time Software Engineer to join our small team. Your work will focus on improving our NVDA screen reading software and related online infrastructure, including feature implementation and bug fixing. You must be an Australian Resident (For Tax Purposes). For all the details, and to apply, please refer to our Full Time Software Engineer Job Advertisement for all the details and to apply.

How has NVDA benefitted you?

As this turbulent year continues, we want to hear your good news. Please Email Us and tell us, how has NVDA benefitted you during the pandemic? We’ve had excellent responses to this question so far from our Twitter and Facebook followers. We’d love to Hear From You also!

Google Summer of Code

This year’s Google Summer of Code has ended, and we’re pleased to share the final report from our student, Shubham. Shubham created proof of concept Image captioning and Object detection add-ons for NVDA. Note that these are proof of concepts which may provide the basis of future work in this area. They are not themselves finished and polished products. Read Shubham’s Full Report now.

NVDA in the charts

Missa Ultima album cover

Finally, this week, an interesting use of NVDA, by a musician. Ádám Márton Horváth contacted us recently to ask about artistic use of NVDA. He has just released a new album, titled Missa Ultima. He describes it as “an experimental mass, with an apocalyptic topic and feeling, imagining the last day on Earth”. In creating the vocal part of the musical mass, Ádám used NVDA. He then transformed it, using effects and distorting it into the musical tracks. The final result evokes the feeling that these voices are singing in their own way.

Missa Ultima is now available on Ádám’s Bandcamp page.

Have you used NVDA in an interesting way? Or has NVDA benefitted you during the pandemic? Have you tried the latest Beta of NVDA 2020.3? Either way, please Let Us Know!

Categories: partners

NVDA 2020.3beta2 Available for Testing

NVAccess - September 23, 2020 - 00:36

Beta2 of NVDA 2020.3 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

Changes from Beta1:

  • Updated translations for many languages.
  • Small corrections to the changes file.
  • Ensure that ‘Microsoft Sound Mapper’ entry under output devices is translated.
  • Handy Tech Active Braille with joystick is now supported.
  • Certain SAPI5 voices (such as Ivona) no longer skip speech.

NVDA 2020.3 includes several large improvements to stability and performance, particularly in Microsoft Office applications. There are new settings to toggle touchscreen support and graphics reporting. The existence of marked (highlighted) content can be reported in browsers, and there are new German braille tables.

Categories: partners

NVDA 2020.3beta1 Available for Testing

NVAccess - September 14, 2020 - 19:30

Beta1 of NVDA 2020.3 is now available for download and testing. For anyone who is interested in trying out what the next version of NVDA has to offer before it is officially released, we welcome you to download the beta and provide feedback.

NVDA 2020.3 includes several large improvements to stability and performance, particularly in Microsoft Office applications. There are new settings to toggle touchscreen support and graphics reporting. The existence of marked (highlighted) content can be reported in browsers, and there are new German braille tables.

Categories: partners

In-Process 7th September 2020

NVAccess - September 7, 2020 - 06:56

Well we made it to Spring down here in the southern hemisphere! And welcome to Autumn, or Fall, you those of you up North of the equator. For those who start seasons at the equinox rather than the 1st of the month, you’ve still got until the 22nd.

NVDACon

The NVDACon committee are currently busy planning for NVDACon 2020. If you’re interested in presenting at NVDACon, it’s a great time to start thinking about what you might like to share. If you haven’t been to NVDACon before, find out all about it at The NVDACon site. On the site, you can also listen to previous conferences.

Speaking of previous years, here’s a way you can help NVDACon with no public speaking involved. One of the organisers, Derek, is uploading all the previous conferences to YouTube. To make them accessible to all, the plan is to use YouTube’s autocaptioning feature to get started. He is then looking for volunteers to go through and correct any errors in the autocaptioning. If you are interested in helping, please do Email the NVDACon organising committee.

Accessible Graphs

We recently encountered a new accessible graphs project. The output includes audio cues as well as spoken information while navigating. The project is available to anyone to incorporate into their work.

Read more on the Accessible Graphs Project Homepage.

Try their Accessible Stocks and Currencies Demo.

You can also Incorporate Accessible Graphs Python Code directly into your own work.

Accessible Space Station RPG Zine

I like to browse the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, and every now and then I come across one with an accessibility angle. This one is a role playing game (RPG), so rather than moving around a board or dealing cards, each player takes the role of a character (on a space station, in this case). Players then decide what actions they want to take, all of which helps affect the way the game progresses. This game also has a solo mode. Like many other RPGs, it comes as an electronic download. While there shouldn’t be any reason such files aren’t accessible, we all know that isn’t always the case. This particular author has put in effort to ensure that the files are screen reader accessible, and is also providing a version optimised for those with dyslexia or low vision. So I thought it was worth a shout out for that. The campaign is in its last 48 hours though so you’ll need to get in quick if you are interested.

Read more on the Orbital Kickstarter Campaign Page.

Making software accessible

I often get asked about making NVDA work with a piece of software. Sometimes there might be something we can do to improve things within NVDA itself. Most of the work of making software accessible is best done by the developer of the software itself. Almost everything involved is simply good software design. These improvements benefit all users of the software, not only screen reader users. It is less work to fix the original software than to have the screen reader try to work around problems. As well as that, improving the original software makes it accessible to all users, not only NVDA users.

There are two parts to making software accessible to screen reader users. One is being able to get around with the keyboard, and the other is having the right information reported.

For keyboard navigation, it is important to have controls in a logical order. At its simplest, this might be when a user moves around with TAB or the ARROWS. Where useful, controls should have keyboard shortcuts or accelerator keys. For instance, consider video call software. It is much more efficient having a shortcut key to answer a call than needing to tab 20 times to get to the answer button.

Most screen reader users don’t use the mouse. Anything which ONLY works with mouse is going to be problematic. A lot of standard controls already work fine with both keyboard and mouse. You can press TAB to move a standard button and press ENTER to activate it. If a shortcut key has been defined, you can press that to activate the button from anywhere on that screen. Many controls have a letter underlined to show that you can press alt and that letter. In a save dialog, for instance, the “Save” button has the “S” underlined. With such a dialog open, you can press alt+s to activate that save button.

With controls such as buttons and edit boxes, it is best to use an existing standard control than create a new one. Pre-defined controls have things like labels, tab control and screen reader accessibility built-in. If you make a new thing you want to act like a button, you can make it accessible, it just tends to be more work. The same is true for combo boxes, edit boxes, checkboxes and so on.

A control with an attached text label, such as a standard checkbox, tells a screen reader all about itself. When creating a custom check box, a lot of this information may need to be setup by hand. This includes what it is (a checkbox), what it is for (the text in the label) and its state (checked or unchecked). Most environments offer properties for controls, such as a “label”, “name” or “description”. Ensure this field is descriptive will make it usable for screen reader users.

NVDA is free for anyone to use. We are quite happy for developers to download it and test it with their programs. Try to navigate your app and use the features of it with the keyboard. NVDA should read enough to tell you where you are at any point. NVDA’s tools menu has a “Speech Viewer” which displays in text what NVDA reads aloud. This can be very useful for anyone unfamiliar with Text-To-Speech (TTS) voices.

That’s all for this week. Stay safe, and we’ll be back again soon!

Categories: partners

Zoom Accessibility Enhancements

NVDA add-ons - September 6, 2020 - 00:34
  • Authors: Mohamad Suliman, Eilana Benish
  • Download stable version
  • NVDA compatibility: 2018.4 to 2020.2

This add-on improves the experience of using Zoom for NVDA users by providing keyboard shortcuts to Handle alerts for Different events While In a meeting, make the process of remote control much more accessible and smoother, and more.

keyboard shortcuts for controlling alerts In meetings
  • NVDA + Shift + A: cycles between different modes of reporting alerts. The following modes are available:
    • Report all alerts mode, where all alerts are reported as usual
    • Beep for alerts, where NVDA will play a short beep for every alert displayed in Zoom
    • Silence all alerts, where NVDA will ignore all alerts
    • Custom mode, Where the user can customize which alerts they want to have and which not. This can be done using the settings dialog of the add-on, or by using the dedicated keyboard shortcuts for that

The following shortcuts can be used to toggle on / off the announcements of each type of alert (note that this will be effective when custom mode is selected):

  • NVDA + Ctrl + 1: Participant Has Joined/Left Meeting (Host Only)
  • NVDA + Ctrl + 2: Participant Has Joined/Left Waiting Room (Host Only)
  • NVDA + Ctrl + 3: Audio Muted by Host
  • NVDA + Ctrl + 4: Video Stopped by Host
  • NVDA + Ctrl + 5: Screen Sharing Started/Stopped by a Participant
  • NVDA + Ctrl + 6: Recording Permission Granted/Revoked
  • NVDA + Ctrl + 7: Public In-meeting Chat Received
  • NVDA + Ctrl + 8: Private In-meeting Chat Received
  • NVDA + Ctrl + 9: In-meeting File Upload Completed
  • NVDA + Ctrl + 0: Host Privilege Granted/Revoked
  • NVDA + Shift + Ctrl + 1: Participant Has Raised/Lowered Hand (Host Only)
  • NVDA + Shift + Ctrl + 2: Remote Control Permission Granted/Revoked
  • NVDA + Shift + Ctrl + 3: IM chat message received

Note that you need to leave reporting all alert types selected (in Zoom accessibility settings) to have the add-on function as expected.

Keyboard shortcut for Opening add on Dialogue

NVDA + Z Opens the add-on dialog !

Using this dialog you can :

  • See which alerts are announced and which aren't
  • Select the types of the alerts you want to be announced
  • Choose alerts reporting mode
  • Save custom changes
Remote control

after a remote control permission is granted, NVDA + O will move the focus in /Out of the remote controlled screen

Note that the focus should be on one of the meeting controls to be able to remote control the other screen

An Important note

Currently the feature of custom alerts mode where the user can choose which alerts they want to have and which not works with Zoom only when the user interface language is set to english.

Categories: partners

In-Process 20th August 2020

NVAccess - August 20, 2020 - 13:13

It’s the 20th of August, which is the 232nd day of the year. Based on my calculations of 2020 so far, I calculate there are now only 10 days and 16 months until the end of the year! So, let’s get right on with some news which is more positive:

Our first Ecuadorian Expert

Last week we published a story on Carlos Esteban Martínez Macías. Carlos is our first NVDA Certified Expert in Ecuador, and, at 15, one of our youngest! The story has received a lot of positive comments and conversation. We wanted to highlight it here for those who haven’t yet had the chance to read it. Indeed, we would call him, Carlos, an ‘Ace’ of Technology in Ecuador.

Carlos Esteban Martínez Macías holding NVDA Certified Expert Certificate and with hand on PC keyboard

If you’re not familiar with the NVDA Certified Expert program, it’s a great way to demonstrate your proficiency with the World’s Favourite Screenreader. The exam itself is challenging, but free for anyone to sit. Once you pass, and want to be recognised as an NVDA Certified Expert, the cost is $100 AUD. That gets you a certificate you can print, and public listing on our NVDA Certified Experts list. Importantly, your support also helps keep NVDA completely free for anyone in the world who needs it.

CSUN 2020 Going Virtual

One of the biggest public events we generally do each year is the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference. Held in California, CSUN is one of the world’s largest assistive technology conferences. This year, unfortunately, we weren’t able to attend because of Covid-19. To ensure everyone can attend next year, CSUN have announced the 2021 CSUN Conference is Going Virtual. We look forward to being able to attend again!

After reading the 2021 CSUN Conference Announcement, you can also follow the #CSUNATC21 Hashtag on Twitter to join in the conversation.

NV Access Now Hiring

A reminder that NV Access is seeking to appoint a Full-Time Software Engineer to join our small team. Your work will focus on improving our NVDA screen reading software and related online infrastructure, including feature implementation and bug fixing. You must be an Australian Resident (for tax purposes). We covered some questions on the position in In-Process, 6th August 2020. Go to the NV Access Seeking Software Engineer Job Advertisement for all the details and to apply.

OneCore Improvements

Lately, we’ve been highlighting new features in NVDA 2020.2. If you haven’t yet updated, please do read the full NVDA 2020.2 Release Notes. One new feature is an improvement in performance when using Windows OneCore Voices. Often called OneCore, these voices are the default synthesizer in Windows 10. OneCore has improvements in both performance and clarity over the older SAPI5 voices. If you haven’t tried OneCore in awhile, it is worth another look.

Earlier this year, we added a Rate Boost option to NVDA (in NVDA 2019.3). We highlighted the features of that option in a Video Premiered in In-Process 6th March 2020.

To set your synthesizer, press NVDA+control+s to open the synthesizer dialog. Use the arrow keys to select a synthesizer, and press enter to keep the change and close the dialog.

Speaking of speech, let’s look at a couple of other NVDA voice settings you might not have tried recently.

Synth Settings Ring

The most common voice options for the current synth can be set from the Synth Settings Ring. There is a demonstration of this in the Video on Rate Boost. The keys are slightly different between Desktop and Laptop keyboard layout. I’ll start with the Desktop keyboard layout keys. To move to the next setting in the Synth settings ring, press NVDA+control+right arrow. To move to the previous setting, press NVDA+control+left arrow. Press NVDA+control+up arrow to increase the value of the current setting. Press NVDA+control+down arrow to decrease the value of the current setting. Using Laptop keyboard layout, add shift to those keystrokes. Press NVDA+control+shift+right arrow to move to the next setting, for instance.

When changing to a new synthesizer, this is a great way to get a feel for what options works best for you. If you make a change and don’t like it, or can’t understand the voice, DO NOT QUIT NVDA! Press NVDA+control+r to reset NVDA to the saved settings. Unless you saved the settings specifically, this will revert any unsaved changes. NVDA’s default option is to save changes to settings on exit. So, exiting NVDA when it isn’t working correctly will actually save those changes.

Audio ducking

Audio Ducking is an option which lowers the volume of all other sounds on the computer, to make it easier to hear NVDA. This option can be set so that other sounds “Duck when outputting speech and sounds”. That lowers the sound from other programs only while NVDA is actually speaking. You can set NVDA to “Duck always”, which lowers the volume of everything else whenever NVDA is running at all. The default option is “off” – so NVDA does not adjust the volume of other programs.

You can change between these three settings at any time with NVDA+shift+d. Alternatively, the audio ducking option is available on the Synthesizer Dialog. Note that audio ducking is only available when NVDA is installed, and only on Windows 8 or 10.

Eloquence and Other Synthesizers

NVDA uses OneCore by default on Windows 10, and also comes with eSpeak-NG. If you can’t get either of those just to your liking, remember to check out our Extra Voices page. We have links to many third party synthesizers. Code Factory’s Eloquence and Vocalizer bundle is popular with those coming from other screen readers. Acapela, Nuance Vocalizer, Infovox4 and Next Up’s Ivona are popular with those who want something different. There are also synthesizers designed for specific languages. These include Russian, Mongolian, and south Asian languages. If you know of a synthesizer we haven’t listed, please do Let Us Know.

That’s all for this week, stay safe and well everyone!

Categories: partners

Carlos, an ‘Ace’ of Technology in Ecuador

NVAccess - August 14, 2020 - 11:32

At 15 years old, Carlos Esteban Martínez Macías one of our youngest NVDA Certified Experts. He is also our first NVDA Certified Expert from Ecuador, a South American country between Peru and Colombia.

Carlos shared some of his experiences and plans for the future, and we’re excited to bring them to you, in his own words:

Carlos Esteban Martínez Macías holding his NVDA Certified Expert Certificate and with his hand on PC keyboard

I began to use NVDA in December 2012, when I had 7 years old. The government in Ecuador gave a laptop for the blind people, and these computers had NVDA. Well, I knew that the name is NVDA in March 2013.

I used NVDA all the time in this laptop. In September 2014 this laptop was broke and I return to my first laptop, but now with NVDA. In this time, I don’t use internet and my version of NVDA was 2012.3.1.

In March 2016, I had a new laptop with Windows 10 and my father updated NVDA to the version 2016.1. In the years 2015 and 2016 I read the user guide and the what’s new section. I explored all functions of the NVDA core.

In my opinion, NVDA is the better screen reader for Windows.

In 2017 I began to use internet and began to install add-ons in NVDA. In October and November, I teaches the use of NVDA in a university of my City (Portoviejo), the UTM (Technical University of Manabí, in Spanish “Universidad Técnica de Manabí”) and began to write post in the website of NVDA in Spanish (www.nvda.es). I like help to the users with the use of this screen reader.

NVDA have a very good community. Some users says that NVDA yet need enhancements in Microsoft Office, for example, and the community of developers work always with enhancements, new features and corrections.

Now, NVDA is my first screen reader. I use NVDA in all moments in my laptop, and other commercial products not are necessary. I am 15 years old and use NVDA in the study with Office, in these moments also use NVDA for the videoconferencing of the virtual class. Also, I use NVDA in my house, and I recommend always this screen readers to all users.

Carlos, un ‘As’ de la Technologia (“Carlos, an ‘Ace’ of Technology” from El Diario Newspaper, 30/06/2020

My knowledge about NVDA led me pass the exam NVDA certified expert, and 17/06/2020, I received my certificate. I am the first Ecuadorian that have the certification of NVDA expert. Thanks to NV Access!

Well, after of the school I go to study a career related to music, and also study computing. My objective is to help with accessibility consulting.

Thank you Carlos for sharing your inspirational story!

Carlos is a regular contributor to the Spanish NVDA site, and on mailing lists, including the NVDA mailing list. For Spanish speakers, Carlos can be heard here talking about the use of web applications with NVDA, and in particular Gmail:

https://ivannovegil.cf/podcast-nvdaes/media/2019-10-27_11-cemm.mp3

If all that is not enough, Carlos is also an accomplished pianist. He has been recognised as one of the better classical pianists in Ecuador. So, to finish, here is a video from Facebook of Carlos Esteban Martínez Macías playing Flight of the Bumblebee.

Categories: partners