Technical Support - Detail
Q: Why does JAWS sometimes speak the form field and label together and sometimes separately? Is there an optimal way for me to label form fields for accessibility?
A: Yes, use explicit labels or title attributes. Do not use implicit
labels. For example:
<label for=fname>First Name</label>
<input id=fname name=fname type=text>
<input title="First Name" type=text>
Avoid the implicit method shown in this example:
- The scripts are activated by clicking a link or clickable item and the script dynamically updates the HTML source.
- The scripts do not update the page without user intervention.
If you want to refresh your page, use the following method rather than using
<meta http-equiv=refresh content="nSeconds;URL">
Q: Why does JAWS sometimes read hidden text on an HTML page?
A: If there is text in a label which is explicitly linked to a form field, JAWS will read that text. This is one example for which JAWS reads hidden text.
Q: Why is heading level navigation different in JAWS 5.0? For example, in JAWS 4.5x, if I wanted to go to heading level two, I could do this immediately from any location on the page. Now, JAWS 5.0 says, "No level two heading in section."
A: In older versions of JAWS, while looking for all instances of a level heading, you might pass by higher level headings without realizing it. This behavior sometimes misrepresented the layout of the page.
In JAWS 5.0, when a page is divided into sections with headings, a level one heading marks the beginning of a section, a level two heading marks the beginning of a subsection within that section, and so on. If you press 2 to move to the next level two heading, and there are no more level two headings in the current section, JAWS says, "No level 2 heading in section," even if other level two headings are present elsewhere on the page in different sections. For example, if you start at the top of a page and search for a level two heading, and there is a level one heading a few lines down with no intervening level two heading, then you'll hear this message.
To try this new feature, go to the HTML challenge on the Freedom Scientific Web site and try the Navigation Challenge. Try navigating using 1, 2, and 3 to go to heading levels one, two, and three. Then try using H and SHIFT+H to browse through all the headings.
Q: What is the difference between the TITLE attribute and ALT attribute for links?
A: A TITLE attribute can be used with many different tags. For example:
<a href="somewhere.html" title="some link">this is a link</a>
In the example, the <A> tag has a TITLE attribute. Some tags can have both a TITLE and ALT attribute, such as <INPUT> tags for edit boxes, combo boxes, lists, and buttons. If a tag has both a TITLE and ALT attribute, JAWS can be instructed to read one rather than the other.
Q: I thought the alt text for a text link was the phrase that pops up when you hover your mouse pointer over a link. Sometimes it is different, giving more information than the screen text for that link. Does the onMouseOver option use this ToolTip?
A: Actually, when you hover the mouse pointer over a link, it may be the TITLE attribute that is actually displayed. The onMouseOver attribute specifies an action that occurs when a user moves the mouse pointer over the link. This may or may not display a ToolTip. So, if you see a ToolTip and there is no onMouseOver attribute for that link, then you are really seeing the TITLE attribute. However, if there is an onMouseOver attribute, the ToolTip may be appearing because of that attribute instead.
If JAWS cannot find any title or screen text for a link, it looks at the onMouseOver
attribute. In the case of a mouse over which looks like the following example,
the text within the single quotes would be spoken by JAWS:
<a href="somewhere.html onMouseOver="someFunction('hello there')"></a>
Notice that this link has no screen text.
Q: The setting for reading the TITLE attribute of a text-based link is useful, but does JAWS read the screen text of the link if there is no title available?
A: By default, JAWS reads the screen text for links. If you choose to have JAWS read the TITLE attribute of the link, and there is no title associated with a link, JAWS reads the screen text instead. Conversely, if you have chosen to have JAWS read the screen text for links, JAWS reads the title for that link if there is no screen text.
For more information on changing this setting and an example, you can go to
the following FAQ:
How can I use JAWS to best advantage in reading text links on Web pages?
Q: Pressing S to locate the next instance of an element seems to skip links.
A: Pressing S not only looks for new elements (such as an anchor connected to the link you are on), but also recognizes changes in the same link, such as bold text. If you press S while on a link, the next element JAWS finds might not be the anchor, but a text attribute such as bold (<B>). The only way to know what pressing S will do is by reviewing the advanced element description to see what the tag hierarchy is. Use the Element Information command (INSERT+SHIFT+F1) while on the element to see the tag hierarchy.
Consider the following examples:
<a href=somelink.htm><b>this is a bolded link</b</a>
<a href=someotherlink.htm>another link</a>
<a href=athirdlink.htm><b>another bold link</b></a>
If you start on the first link and press S, JAWS will take you to the next bolded link, and not the next link.
The commands for moving by element provide you with another means of skimming a page. If there are several tables or lists on the page, you can move to them quickly and find out what information they contain. Press S to locate the next instance of an element. If the Virtual Cursor is in a list, pressing S moves the Virtual Cursor to the next list. If the Virtual Cursor is on a heading, pressing S moves it to the next heading at the same level. To move to the next different element, press D. To move past an element (such as a list or table), press E. To move backward through the page, add SHIFT to any of these commands.
Q: JAWS does not read the ALT attribute for links.
A: The ALT attribute is not supported by the HTML <A> tag. Only the <INPUT>, <IMAGE>, <APPLET>, and <OBJECT> tags support the ALT attribute.
Q: Why don't links activated by the virtual buffer/viewer always act normally? For instance, if I have a web page open and then press INSERT+H and select the item that should let me see a list of all links on the page, I don't see the list of links on the page, but the list of links that were displayed when I pressed INSERT+H.
A: If you click on a link while the user buffer is active, it executes the function associated with the link text. If JAWS always assumed that the user buffer should not be active when the INSERT+F7 function is performed, then a user could never use the function when the user buffer is active.
Q: Why does JAWS sometimes announce both the text that is on the screen for a link and some other text that may not be visible?
A: Sometimes, web authors will imbed an image within a text link. If the author uses Alt text in that image to describe something useful, JAWS will speak both the screen text for the link and the Alt text for the image, or any other useful information from this image within the link. This is new in version 5.10.
Q: What about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JAWS?
A: For more information about JAWS and CSS, go to the following article: "Does JAWS support cascading style sheets (CSS)?"
Last Updated, April 2005
Version: 5.0 plus