A Different View of the Screen

by Donna J. Jodhan

In most cases, when a blind employee navigates their screen, they do so using their keyboard exclusively. Whereas a sighted employee uses their mouse to point and click, a blind employee uses their keys to do the same. They depend on shortcut keys to get them where they need to be on the screen.

For sighted people, their dependence on a mouse is almost exclusive and for a blind employee, their dependence on shortcut keys is almost exclusive. The tab, control, escape, and alt keys are a blind employee’s best friend. Or should I say a blind person’s best friends. Various combinations of these keys are also best friends and of course there is the find command to help a blind person find things quickly.

This is how blind people navigate their screen. In the workplace, a blind employee can be just as fast as a sighted person when navigating the screen. The one huge challenge comes when a screen freezes and a blind employee is unable to tell what is going on because their access technology software is unable to speak. Such situations would be during circumstances such as: A system crash, a hard drive failure, or a screen interruption. A blind employee would also depend on any sound that their computer gives off in order to help them navigate their screen and/or decipher what may be going on.

For someone with enough vision to identify colors, they may use their vision to help them identify such things as: Where the cursor is, an image of the screen, and maybe location of fields and icons and/or images. Some blind people use screen magnifiers to help them navigate while others use close circuit TV devices. It all depends on the level of vision.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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