In this 11 minute video I show you how to navigate around a dialogue box using the screen reader NVDA.
I show you all the keyboard shortcuts that you need in order to access all of the important features of any dialogue box for when you are opening files and folders or saving files.
The video includes a full set of subtitles, but if you want to read from a full transcript instead then please find it below.
Start of Video Transcript
Hello and welcome to this video.
In this video I want to demonstrate how to navigate around a dialogue box using NVDA.
But just in case you are unfamiliar with NVDA and screen readers, let me just introduce them.
NVDA is a free screen reader.
A screen reader is a great piece of software that gives computers, smartphones and tablets a voice in order to help people who have a visual impairment or who are blind access these devices more independently.
I have created other videos about the screen reader NVDA and I have grouped them together in a playlist which I will link to below.
A piece of technical information is that I am recording this video on a laptop running Windows 10 and my version of NVDA is 2016.1
The process should be the same if you are using Windows 7 or 8 and if you are using a different version of NVDA- as long as it is fairly recent.
Let’s turn NVDA on.
I will press the Windows Key and the D key in order to access my desktop.
Now I will press the N key in order to select NVDA and then I press enter.
So before we start, let me clarify what I mean by a dialogue box.
A dialogue box is a box that appears on your screen when you instruct your PC to so something- such as save a document, open a document, or search for a document.
There are many more actions that we take that will cause a dialogue box to appear and so they are a regular feature of our computer lives.
Luckily for us, all dialogue boxes have the same structure even if their contents are different- and they do always seem to be full to the brim of files and folders.
On the screen now is a dialogue box that I has appeared after I pressed the control key and the s key in order to save a document.
NVDA reads out the type of box “Save As” dialogue before then quickly telling you where the cursor is focused “file name” and it provides some other details
Now the same thing happens if I want to open a file by pressing the control key and the o key.
NVDA reads out the type of box “Open” dialogue before then quickly telling you where the cursor is focused “file name” and it provides some other details.
This demonstrates that dialogue boxes have consistent structures.
Now there are many different areas within a dialogue box that you will need to access at one point or another.
And you can access the different parts of the dialogue box by pressing the TAB key which will take you forwards through each part of the box in turn or you can use Shift and TAB to go backwards through each part of the box in turn.
There are 10 elements to a dialogue box and they are; file name box , files as type box , open button, cancel button, address documents toolbar, search box, organize button, tree view, items list and name header.
So let’s have a look at the different parts.
The file name combo box is the name of the file that you want to open or save. It is labelled as a combo box because you can choose from a variety of suggested locations.. To access these options press your down arrow key.
Pressing TAB again takes us to the “Files As Type” box. Again this is a combo box because there are different file types to choose from. NVDA will read out the different file types. To access these options, press your down arrow key.
Pressing TAB again gets us to the “Open” button. NVDA describes this as a split button because if you press your down arrow then you are given a choice between opening two different versions of documents. If I am honest I am not quite sure what the difference between these two choices is!
Pressing TAB again takes us to the Cancel button. If you press Enter at this point, the dialogue box closes, like so…
Pressing TAB again it takes us to “address, documents toolbar”. This tells us the location of the files that we are accessing on the computer. I am currently in the “documents” folder. If you press your down arrow, a menu expands displaying other locations to access documents from on your PC, such as the desktop.
Pressing the TAB takes us to the search box. You can search for a file in the current location.
Pressing TAB again takes us to the “organize” button on the “command module toolbar”. Pressing the down arrow gives us access to changing the physical layout of the box, by choosing to display a details, preview and navigation pane. The default layout just displays the navigation pane.
Pressing TAB again takes us into “tree view” or a detailed view of all the different folders within “This PC”. This tree view essentially gives a much more detailed look at files and folders than is possible from the address bar, that we accessed earlier.
Pressing TAB again takes us to “items view list” which gives us access to individual files and folders.
A final press of the TAB takes us into a header, of file names in which we can sort out the files into alphabetised lists, which I don’t need to do as I have so few files!
And that is it. My detailed overview of how to access a dialogue box with NVDA.
If you have any questions or difficulties after watching this video, or want to join in with the discussion please do so below.
What parts of a dialogue box do you tend to access the most? Let me know.
Thanks for watching.
End of video transcript