[Athen] Word form fields with JAWS

Karlen Communications info at karlencommunications.com
Tue Apr 2 07:31:12 PDT 2019

The template uses Content Controls which are inherently inaccessible. While
"some" progress has been made on improving their accessibility since they
were introduced with Office 2007, they remain mostly inaccessible. One other
issue that we often encounter with Content Controls is getting stuck in them
and not being able to get out, or inadvertently leaving a Content Control
without notification so we are typing in thin air.

There is a keyboard command to access the drop-down list: Alt + Shift + F12
and then use Spacebar to expand the menu. BUT JAWS does not announce that
focus has moved to the arrow for the drop-down nor do you hear anything that
tells you that the list is visible once you press Spacebar. You just have to
use the Up and Down Arrows and have faith that what you are hearing and
navigating through is the drop-down list.

Also, once you leave one of the Content Controls on the first page using
Tab, it is difficult to find them again.

If I ask JAWS for a list of objects in the document, there are a mix of Text
Boxes which seem to be used for captions on images and images with no Alt

Captions would only be in a Text Box if Text Wrapping is used and the images
are not inline.but the first example of a Text Box containing a Caption is
an image that spans the page from margin to margin so there is no need for
Text Wrapping. If you use Ctrl + Shift + letter O with JAWS, you'll get this
list of objects in the document. You hear things like "rectangle," "shape,"
Text Box" and "Picture."

As with the Content Controls, while there has been progress made in the
accessibility of Text Boxes, they are not fully accessible and the current
versions of screen readers and Text-to-Speech come across them in a hit and
miss manner.sometimes we can get focus to them automatically as we come
across them but most often not.

And both the improved accessibility of the Content Controls and Text Boxes
is NOT backward compatible! You must be using the current version of Office
365/Office 2016 or later subscription in order to take advantage of these
improvements. So if a student begins working on this template in a current
version of Office 365 subscription and wants to work on it at home or on a
laptop with an earlier version of Office, they will not have access to any
of the accessibility improvements in the Content Controls or Text Boxes.

.and as you can see, the improved accessibility isn't quite there yet for
daily use of either of these elements.

If someone gets a list of form controls in the document, included in the
list are the fields for the Tables of Content, Figures, Tables, and page
numbers but not the Content Controls so this method of finding them and
putting focus in them is not usable.

Cheers, Karen

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf
Of Brusnighan, Dean A.
Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 9:07 AM
To: ATHEN mailing list <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Word form fields with JAWS

Good Morning!

Our Graduate School provides MS-Word templates
<https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/research/thesis/templates.html> for
thesis and dissertation formatting. The templates they created make use of
Word form fields. A JAWS user wants to use a template to write his
dissertation, but says JAWS skips a lot of required fields.

When I opened one of the templates (attached), I found JAWS interacts with
edit fields just fine. However, I'm unable to get it to read combo boxes. It
will announce the name of the combo box, but it won't allow me to open the
list of options to make a selection. I'm not a strong JAWS user. Is there
something I'm doing wrong? Or are these fields just not accessible?



Dean Brusnighan

Assistive Technology Specialist

Purdue University


dabrus at purdue.edu <mailto:dabrus at purdue.edu>

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