[Athen] JAWS reading Math equations element-by-element.

steve.noble at louisville.edu steve.noble at louisville.edu
Mon Apr 18 05:55:14 PDT 2016

First of all, the current version of JAWS ignores MathPlayer completely, as FS recently developed their own native math speech. A much better speech navigation experience will be obtained if you open the files you are creating within Firefox and use NVDA with MathPlayer. Actually, you don't even have to export the Word files...providing the student also has Word, MathType, NVDA and MathPlayer installed on his/her computer, then the Word documents can be read directly with full math navigation capability. If the student doesn't have MathType installed (it isn't free, but it is relatively inexpensive), then you'll have to keep exporting the docs to some type of HTML+MathML configuration. But either way, the ability to navigate element-by-element within a math expression will be much richer with Firefox+NVDA+MathPlayer. You can get IE11 to work with MathPlayer, but it requires using the Enterprise Mode, so unless there is some other compelling reason to use IE, it is usually simpler to just stick with Firefox. If one simply has to use JAWS, then you'll have to use IE and won't be able to use MathPlayer's speech navigation (unless you are using an old JAWS version, before they switched to their own math speech).

Hope that helps...

--Steve Noble
steve.noble at louisville.edu
From: athen-list [athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] on behalf of Khaleel Eksheir [Khaleel.Eksheir at uncc.edu]
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 8:25 AM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Athen] JAWS reading Math equations element-by-element.


I have a student who is legally blind and doing a Master Degree in Math. We convert Math textbooks (MS word files) for the student using MathType, and we publish to MathML "HTML +MathML +MathJax" settings. The final result is an "htm"" file which the student opens using IE 11 with MathPlayer 4 plugin installed.

The student uses JAWS to navigate the published Math file. When running JAWS to read all the equation (Insert Down-Arrow), it reads the equation accurately. We had difficulty making JAWS read element-by-element of the equation even if (Ctrl Right-arrow) were pressed. The only way to allow JAWS read element-by-element is by clicking on the "Enter" key. This opens an equation window. The student then clicks (Ctrl Right-arrow) keys to read element-by-element. But when doing so, JAWS skips some important functions such as the square root, so it doesn't say square root, but jumps to the content of the square root. This happens especially if the equation is a square root of a square root.

I was wondering if anybody came across such issues, and how it was solved? How to read the equation element-by-element? What would be the best practice when using MathType? Is there any other tool that was tested and would work? The student is doing a Master Degree in Math, and the Math books are full of equations. The student is having difficulties capturing all the information when JAWS say it all at once; therefore, reading element-by-element is the only way to understand the formulas.


Khaleel Eksheir, MSc.ESM | Assistive Technology Specialist
UNC Charlotte | Fretwell 230Q | Office of Disability Services
9201 University City Blvd. | Charlotte, NC 28223
Phone: 704-687-0042<tel:704-687-0042> | Fax: 704-687-1395<tel:704-687-1395>
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