Speech and Sounds Schemes

Have you ever wanted to hear things differently, perhaps to speed up your reading? Or perhaps you want to hear items you may be missing that you could read if only you knew they were there? If a button, check box, or other control within a Web page could be identified with a different voice, rather than using extra speech, it would mean you would have less to listen to.

Speech and sounds schemes let you use voices, spoken text, or sounds to identify various elements of Web pages, dialog boxes, and documents. For example, you could use different notes from a piano to indicate different heading levels. You can also assign speech or a sound to specific text attributes in a word processing document. Alternatively, you might want JAWS to identify bold text in a document by reading it in a deep voice. When you use speech and sounds schemes to alter the way JAWS reads information, you can store your associations as a scheme that you can apply at any time. You can also easily switch between schemes.

Tip: To change the active scheme, press INSERT+ALT+S. Use the arrow keys to select a new scheme and then press ENTER. This scheme remains the active scheme until you change it again.

EXERCISE: Explore the Select a Scheme dialog box.

  1. Press INSERT+ALT+S.
  2. Press UP or DOWN ARROW to explore the choices in the list.
  3. Make sure that Classic is the one you have selected before you press ENTER to close the dialog box, and move on with the lesson.

To open the Modify Schemes dialog box do the following:

  1. In Chrome, press INSERT+F2.
  2. Select Settings Center and press ENTER.
  3. Press CTRL+SHIFT+D to switch to the default file.
  4. Focus is in the Search edit box. Type in "scheme" without the quotes.
  5. Press DOWN ARROW to move to "Active Speech and Sounds Scheme" in the filtered results of the tree view in Settings Center. You can switch schemes here by pressing SPACEBAR. The Settings Center has two sides. On the left is the tree view and on the right is the configuration display pane. As you move through the tree view, a sighted user can simultaneously track cursor movement using the configuration display pane.
  6. Press F6 to move from the tree view to the configuration display pane. This is necessary when typing in an edit or edit spin box. Focus should be on the Select Speech and Sounds Scheme combo box. Classic will be selected there unless you have changed schemes prior to now.
  7. Press TAB. Focus moves to the read only text area for Scheme Description.
  8. Press TAB again. Focus moves to the Modify Schemes button.
  9. Press TAB once more and focus moves back to the Select Speech and Sounds Scheme combo box. Make sure that Classic is selected here before going any farther.
  10. Now, press F6 to go back to the tree view. Focus moves back to the Select Speech and Sounds Scheme node of the tree view. Don't press SPACEBAR at the moment. Pressing SPACEBAR here will cause items in the combo box to change.
  11. Press DOWN ARROW to move to Scheme Description. Do you notice how the tree view corresponds to the controls in the configuration display pane?
  12. Press DOWN ARROW again to move to Modify Schemes in the tree view.
  13. Now, press SPACEBAR on this and the Modify Schemes dialog box opens.

Move on now to the next section where you will create a new scheme.

Creating a New Scheme

A scheme is a collection of settings that you save as a single group. You can use schemes to quickly customize your JAWS speech and sound settings. You can switch between schemes quickly. Some examples might include schemes for the following situations:

EXERCISE: Use JAWS to create a new scheme by following the steps below. If you already have the Modify Schemes dialog box open, skip ahead to step eight below:

  1. In Chrome, press INSERT+F2.
  2. Select Settings Center and press ENTER.
  3. Press CTRL+SHIFT+D to switch to the default file.
  4. Focus is in the Search edit box. Type in "scheme" without the quotes.
  5. Press DOWN ARROW to move to Modify Schemes in the tree view.
  6. Now, press SPACEBAR on this and the Modify Schemes dialog box opens.
  7. In the Select Speech and Sounds Scheme combo box, make sure that Classic is selected before continuing with the exercise. If it is not, press the letter C several times to move through all of the items that start with that letter to find it.
  8. Press TAB to move through the dialog box and choose the Create New Scheme button. An Untitled - Edit Scheme multi page dialog box opens with focus on the General tab page. The cursor is in the Scheme Description edit area. The text description from the classic scheme is highlighted there.
  9. For now, type something like "My new scheme."
  10. Press TAB to move to the OK button, and activate it by pressing SPACEBAR. The Save As dialog box appears.
  11. Give the new scheme a name, such as "My Test Scheme," and press ENTER. Focus returns to the Modify Scheme dialog box, with focus on the Create New Scheme button.
  12. Press ALT+S to save the current scheme.
  13. Press TAB to move to the OK button, and press SPACEBAR to activate it. A message appears asking, "Do you want to make your practice scheme the active scheme for Default (All Applications)?" For now, choose the NO button. This closes the Modify Scheme dialog box, returning focus to the tree view of JAWS Settings Center.
  14. Press TAB to move to the OK button and activate it with the SPACEBAR. The changes are made and saved. Settings Center closes.

EXERCISE: The Modify Scheme dialog box is a multi-page dialog box composed of several different tab pages. In the next exercise you will take a look at the dialog box in more detail using the scheme you just created. You will use the Edit Scheme dialog box to assign speech or a sound to almost any element that JAWS recognizes.

  1. Open the Modify Schemes dialog box again:
  2. If you are continuing this exercise immediately after the previous exercise, the active scheme in the list should be "Classic." Find your practice scheme in the list of available schemes before continuing.
  3. Press TAB to move to the Edit Selected Scheme button and press the SPACEBAR to activate it. Focus is in the Scheme Description edit box of your new scheme, on the General tab page where you entered a description previously. You can modify this text any time by repeating these steps to get here.
  4. Press CTRL+TAB to move to the Control Type tab.
  5. Use the UP or DOWN ARROW keys to move through and explore the list of control types. Notice that all of the controls are set to speak the control type using the normal voice.
  6. For the time being, continue to press CTRL+TAB and explore all of the tab pages in this dialog box. There are tab pages you can use to modify the way JAWS reads control states, attributes, font names, font sizes, colors, indentation, and more. Eventually, focus cycles back to the General tab.
  7. If you plan to continue with the next series of instructions, you can leave this dialog box open. If not, choose the Cancel button and focus returns to the JAWS Settings Center.
  8. Press TAB to move to either the OK button to save changes or the Cancel button to discard any changes. Activate the button with the SPACEBAR. The changes are made and saved, or not, depending on which button you choose. Settings Center closes.

Assigning Sounds to HTML Elements

As previously demonstrated, when you encounter headings on web pages, JAWS speaks the level of the current heading. However, you might want to hear a specific sound played to indicate the current heading level instead so you can focus more on the actual text of the heading.

EXERCISE: In this section, you will change your scheme so it associates a unique sound for a level one and a level two heading. To begin, open the Modify Schemes dialog box, if necessary, and make sure you select the scheme you created. Then, choose the Edit Selected Scheme button and do the following:

  1. Press CTRL+TAB until you move to the Control Type tab page. There are a lot of different controls and elements that JAWS identifies listed here. You can press DOWN ARROW to explore the list.
  2. Press H until you move to heading level 1.
  3. Press TAB to move to the group of radio buttons where you can choose what JAWS does when encountering a level one heading on a web page.
  4. Press DOWN ARROW to select the Play Sound radio button.
  5. Press TAB to move to the Select Wave File button and press ENTER. The Select Sound dialog box opens with a list of over two hundred sounds that are included with JAWS.
  6. Press ALT+P or SPACEBAR to sample any sound as you press UP or DOWN ARROW to move through the list.

NOTE: If you want to hear a sound while you are also listening to speech, like text on a Web page being read, the sound should be fairly crisp and loud enough to hear.

  1. For this exercise, press P until you select the Piano1-C.wav sound. Press ALT+P to hear a preview of this sound. After you have previewed this sound, press ENTER. The Select Sound dialog box closes and focus returns to the Edit Scheme dialog box. Notice that now you have a rule defined for heading level 1 that reads, "heading level 1, Play sound, Piano1-C.wav." You can press INSERT+UP ARROW to re-read the item in the list.
  2. Select heading level 2 in the list of control types, choose the Play Sound radio button, and then select Piano2-D.wav from the list of sounds. The heading level 2 item should now say "heading level 2, Play sound, Piano2-D.wav."
  3. Press TAB to move to the OK button, and activate it with the SPACEBAR. Focus returns to the Edit Selected Scheme button in the Modify Scheme dialog box.
  4. Press ALT+S to activate the Save Selected Scheme button.
  5. Press TAB to move to the OK button, and activate it with the SPACEBAR. A message appears asking, "Do you want to make your practice scheme the active scheme for Default (All Applications)?" For now, choose the NO button. Focus returns to JAWS Settings Center.
  6. Press TAB to move to the OK button and activate it with the SPACEBAR. The changes are made and saved. Settings Center closes.
  7. Switch to your test scheme. Press INSERT+ALT+S and find it in the list. Once you find it in the list, press ENTER to close the Select a Scheme dialog box.

Now, to see this in action, press CTRL+HOME to move to the top of this page and press H to move to the first heading, which is a level one heading. You hear JAWS say "Speech and Sound Schemes" along with a piano note. Press H to move to the next heading, which is a level two heading. You hear "Creating a New Scheme" along with a slightly higher piano note.

Experiment with the other controls and elements available in the Modify Scheme dialog box. You can assign sounds to headings, form controls, graphics, frames, image maps, tables, and more.

Create a Scheme to Speak Bold Text Using the Bold Voice Alias

EXERCISE: In this exercise you will create a scheme that looks for bold text and speaks it in a different voice.

You can use voice aliases to have JAWS announce certain items, attributes, or states in a different voice. In this section, you will assign a voice alias to bold text. To begin, open the Modify Scheme dialog box and then do the following:

  1. In the Select Scheme combo box, select the scheme you created earlier, and then choose the Edit Selected Scheme button.
  2. Press CTRL+TAB until you move to the Attributes tab. You are in a list of attributes. This list contains one definition for the Default setting, which is set to ignore attributes, and a few other definitions already created by Freedom Scientific.
  3. Press ALT+A to choose the Add button. An Add Attribute dialog box opens with a list of check boxes you can choose for different attributes such as bold, underline, italics, and more.
  4. Press SPACEBAR to select the Bold check box. Feel free to explore the other items you could check, but for this exercise, only check bold. When you are finished exploring, choose Next. The Select Behavior dialog box of radio buttons appears.

NOTE: If you check multiple items here ALL items must be present in the same text in order to match what you are looking for. In other words, if you select both bold and underline, the text must have both attributes present to match the rule. If you want to look for EITHER bold OR underline, you would create a separate rule for each.

  1. Press DOWN ARROW to move to and select the Speak Item Text Using Voice radio button, and then choose Next. The Select Voice Alias dialog box appears with a list of over thirty different voice aliases that Freedom Scientific has already created.
  2. Use the arrow keys to select the BoldVoice voice alias, and then press ENTER to activate the Finish button.
  3. Press TAB to move to the OK button, and activate it with the SPACEBAR. Focus returns to the Edit Selected Scheme button in the Modify Scheme dialog box.
  4. Press ALT+S to activate the Save Current Scheme button.
  5. Press TAB to move to the OK button, and activate it with the SPACEBAR. Focus returns to JAWS Settings Center.
  6. Press TAB to move to the OK button and activate it with the SPACEBAR. The changes are made and saved. Settings Center closes.

You may need to switch to your new scheme to test your voice alias. Press INSERT+ALT+S to open the Select a Scheme dialog box. If your scheme is not selected, scroll up or down and choose your scheme. Test it by reading some of the lines of text on this page that have bold text. JAWS should read those words in a deeper voice. This makes it very easy to determine exactly which words appear in bold text.

Speech and Sounds Training Mode

Training mode helps you familiarize yourself with how the active scheme uses sounds to provide information. When training mode is on, JAWS announces detailed information for items, states, and attributes as well as the sounds assigned to them in the active scheme. You hear the sound, and then JAWS announces the same information you hear when using the Classic scheme.

Tip: Training mode also announces information for items, states, and attributes that the active scheme ignores.

Since the sound assignments made by the scheme's creator may not be immediately obvious, training mode can help you determine the purpose of each sound. For example, if a scheme uses two different sounds to indicate the state of a check box, you might not be able to tell which sound indicates that the check box is selected. If training mode is on, JAWS plays the sound and then says, "checked" or "not checked."

To turn training mode on or off:

  1. Press INSERT+ALT+S.
  2. To turn training mode on, select Toggle Speech and Sounds Training Mode On and press ENTER. If you want to turn training mode off, select Toggle Speech and Sounds Training Mode Off and press ENTER.