Navigating the Internet

When using a computer as your primary communication tool, the internet is where you’ll be spending much of your time. Whether you want to send email, research any topic, purchase items from your favourite stores, access entertainment, keep in touch with family and friends or learn a new skill, the internet is the tool which millions of us reach for every day.

DATA Australasia can help you operate the screen reader of your choice so that all these things are available to you. However, learning to do this takes time and effort, partly because of the vastness and complexity of the internet and partly because of the complexity of screen reading software. DATA Australasia can help you with both these things.

Seeing the Wood from the Trees

People with full sight take in large chunks of information at any one time. Imagine you’re in a forest and you can see many different trees all around you. You can identify those trees by name and you can navigate to any tree you choose, knowing how the ground will change and sure in the knowledge that you can negotiate any unexpected traps like deadfalls, marshy ground or tangled vines.

Now imagine that you can only see one tree at a time. You don’t know what’s beyond that tree until you physically move there. Additionally, you can’t always identify the tree by name once you do lay eyes on it and you certainly can’t prepare yourself for unexpected changes in the environment. So in order to avoid becoming frozen in place you use your senses, knowledge and a good deal of luck to move forward.

Screen reading software must necessarily operate in this way because it can only ‘see’ whatever happens to be under the cursor. This means that it must do major background processing to ensure that you don’t have to read an entire page every time you execute a command — and sometimes, it has to guess. 

If the page is designed inclusively or accessibly, a screen reader has the required algorithms and associated commands to help you get where you want to in the shortest possible time. Some screen readers can list all the hyperlinks, headings, forms and buttons on a page and these commands are easily learned. Other screen readers can eliminate extraneous information on a web page so that you only ‘see’ the main block of text. DATA Australasia can help you decide on the screen reader(s) which best suit your needs and budget.

However, as many websites are not inclusively designed, the screen reader has to try to guess the kind of information you might want, just as you would in that forest. Most screen readers have sets of commands which will help you work around these traps, too.

In each case, it is possible to learn the skills which will make you an effective and efficient user of the internet, and DATA Australasia will help you.

Using one or more screen readers on your choice of computer, tablet and/or phone, DATA Australasia can give you the skills you need to navigate the vast internet efficiently and productively.

Talk with us today about your requirements.