HTML forms allow you to access shopping carts, search engines, Web-based e-mail, bulletin boards, and more. Forms include controls such as edit boxes, check boxes, radio buttons, combo boxes, and other controls similar to those used in dialog boxes.
JAWS and MAGic take advantage of the features of HTML used to create forms and allow you to access all kinds of form controls.
The following is a list of JAWS navigation quick key commands that allow you to move quickly from one control to another. When running JAWS alone, or both JAWS and MAGic together, all commands listed below work. You can use the SHIFT key in combination with many of the keystrokes to move to the previous unit or element.
|Form Control (generic)||F|
|First Form Control on a Page||INSERT+CTRL+HOME|
|Last Form Control on a Page||INSERT+CTRL+END|
NOTE: These commands do not work in forms mode.
You can also display lists of specific types of form controls. To do this, hold down INSERT+CTRL and press one of the navigation quick keys for moving through forms. For example, to view a list of all edit boxes on the page, press INSERT+CTRL+E.
To quickly locate a specific form control press INSERT+F5. This command lists all form controls and their contents on the current page. Move through the list and press ENTER to move to the selected control. Forms mode is automatically enabled so you are ready to make changes to the control. And if you have already entered information in a long form, use the Forms List to quickly review the information.
MAGic Tip: You can also use INSERT+F5 with MAGic to list all form controls and their contents on a page.
TIP: Forms mode is automatically turned off when you activate a button that submits a form.
EXERCISE: Open the New WebTrack Sample Form and press INSERT+F5 to list all the form controls, and experience how easy it is to review the information. Try pressing ENTER from the list of form controls to go into forms mode and edit the form. Press NUM PAD PLUS, or click outside the form fields if you are using a mouse, to get out of forms mode.
Have you ever noticed that with versions of JAWS prior to version 10, if you tried to enter something into a form you might end up somewhere else on the page? This happened if you did not switch to forms mode prior to trying to type in the information. As a result, the letters you were pressing were still functioning as navigation quick keys instead of typing information into the control.
Auto forms mode was introduced in JAWS 10. Now when you press TAB or SHIFT+TAB on a Web page and land in a form field or other form control, forms mode is automatically on. It is confirmed with a sound that is played. You no longer have to remember to switch forms mode on manually. Forms mode is also turned on automatically if you use the ARROW Keys and move into a form control such as an edit box. Again, a sound is played. Additionally, if someone clicks into an edit box with a MOUSE Click, forms mode comes on automatically.
You hear one sound when JAWS enters forms mode and a slightly different sound when JAWS exits forms mode. These sounds can be changed to different sounds if you prefer. Here's how:
Additionally, you can turn the sounds that indicate forms mode on or off by using the JAWS Quick Settings dialog box. Don't follow these instructions at the moment, since we'll be using the sounds for the exercises that follow. However, here is how to change it later if you need to:
Auto forms mode was actually introduced previously in MAGic 11 with much of this same functionality. Auto forms mode works in applications such as Internet Explorer®, Adobe Reader®, and Firefox® Web browser.
When you exit the form control, either using the arrow keys, the tab key, or by clicking somewhere else outside of the form controls with a mouse, forms mode is turned off and you hear the sound indicating this. Forms mode is also automatically turned off when the form is submitted or the page refreshes. Alternatively, press NUM PAD PLUS at any time to get out of forms mode.
When you use JAWS or MAGic on the Internet, JAWS and MAGic use the virtual cursor, an invisible reading cursor, as the default cursor for reading information. When MAGic is running either alone or in conjunction with JAWS there is a visible reading highlight that surrounds the word or line where you are reading, which makes it easier to tell where the virtual cursor is. To complete a form on a Web page, you need to use the PC cursor, which is a visible blinking cursor.
NOTE: When using JAWS navigation quick keys, the default setting is for forms mode not to come on automatically. This can be changed in the JAWS Quick Settings dialog box accessed by pressing INSERT+V or in the JAWS Settings Center discussed earlier. Using navigation quick keys in forms is discussed in more detail later in this lesson.
Keyboard navigation within forms can be done in many different ways. Most people will use one or a combination of the following:
EXERCISE: Open the New WebTrack Sample Form and follow along with the instructions below and use just the ARROW Keys to explore the form:
Notice that as you use the arrow keys with JAWS, forms mode only comes on when you are in an edit box. Whenever an edit area is detected, JAWS allows you to begin typing immediately. Yet, at the same time, if focus is not in an edit area, reading mode stays on. This gives you the ability to quickly type information into edit boxes, and still gives you plenty of flexibility to move around the form.
TIP: Why is forms mode not turned on when buttons, check boxes, or other controls are encountered? The reason is because these controls can generally be activated without going into forms mode. For example, the SPACEBAR toggles the check mark on or off for check boxes. Pressing SPACEBAR also moves the selection of a radio button from one choice to another, and activates buttons such as the OK, Cancel, or Submit button. You don't have to switch to forms mode to do this.
NOTE: A newer way of navigating using the arrow keys called Semi-Auto forms mode was introduced in JAWS version 16 and is discussed later in this lesson.
EXERCISE: Open the New WebTrack Sample Form and follow along with the instructions below and use only the TAB key to move through the form:
As you continue to press TAB or SHIFT+TAB notice that as long as you are in an edit box, forms mode is turned on automatically. When the cursor moves out of an edit box, forms mode goes off automatically, and you hear the sound indicating this has happened.
Web page authors may sometimes create form fields that move the PC cursor to the next form field automatically. This can make a long day of filling out forms a lot easier! These types of form controls that automatically move the cursor to the next field are typically seen in fields that have a fixed number of characters, such as phone number fields and social security number fields. As soon as the final character is input, the form moves the cursor immediately to the next field or control.
EXERCISE: Follow along and experience how some form fields can advance the cursor to the next field automatically when the first field is complete:
NOTE: The New WebTrack sample form used in Surf's Up does not collect or send any data. It is just a practice page.
You will occasionally come across similar types of auto-advance edit fields as you interact with forms on the Web.
In Internet Explorer you may be asked if you want to turn on the AutoComplete Settings to help you remember things you type. This can happen when typing in edit boxes for Web page addresses, search inquiries, and more. Once this option is turned on, as you type, a list forms near the edit field containing a match of any words beginning with the letters you type. You can then choose a word or phrase from the list and press TAB to move to the next form control without having to retype the whole word or phrase.
If you choose to keep the AutoComplete Settings on in Internet Explorer, when you press DOWN ARROW to move out of an edit box you may find that the focus goes into a list of items that you have typed at some point in the past. Instead of moving on through the form, now the cursor is moving up and down a list of choices. This is designed to make it easier for you when filling out forms. It keeps you from having to retype a lot of information. However, it makes it hard to get past the edit box. To get out of such an edit box list of choices, perform the following two steps:
Now you can continue to use the arrow keys to explore and read through the form.
EXERCISE: Follow along with the instructor as this is demonstrated on the Freedom Scientific Web site.
NOTE: If you have AutoComplete settings in Internet Explorer for Forms turned off you will not see a list. Turning on or off the AutoComplete settings feature of Internet Explorer is covered in the next section.
If you want to turn this Internet Explorer option on or off, here's how:
When using navigation quick keys in forms, forms mode does not turn on automatically. This is great because it gives you the ability to move quickly from one part of a form to another without having to worry about forms mode coming on.
For example, let's say you have an e-mail program which is Web based. Often there will be a check box in front of each new item in the Inbox. You can quickly move to a check box by pressing the letter X and then read the subject line of that message. However, you may not want to go into forms mode because you want to move to a Reply button. If forms mode came on when you moved to the check box you would have to turn off forms mode before you could use the navigation quick key B to move to the Reply button.
EXERCISE: Open the New WebTrack Sample Form and follow along with the instructions below to experiment with navigation quick keys:
You can tell from this example how nice it is to be able to use navigation quick keys to explore a form without having forms mode come on. It is also great to be able to move directly and efficiently to certain controls within a form.
NOTE: The default setting for JAWS is to NOT go into forms mode when using navigation quick keys. However, this can be changed. Read the next section to find out how.
If you use forms a lot, you may want to have forms mode come on when using navigation quick keys. You can change JAWS to have forms mode come on if you are using navigation quick keys, and pause for a given number of seconds on a control.
EXERCISE: Open the New WebTrack Sample Form and follow along with the instructions below to experiment with navigation quick keys set to turn on forms mode after pausing for several seconds on a control:
Now when using auto forms mode, and navigating with navigation quick keys, JAWS will toggle Forms Mode on after three seconds if you remain on that control. This only happens when the control is an edit box, list, or a combo box. Do you remember why forms mode does not come on for check boxes or buttons? It is because their state can be changed or activated by using the SPACEBAR.
You can see how this could be handy for people who fill out forms a lot! For now, go ahead and change the settings back to Navigation Quick Key Delay - Never using the instructions given in steps one through six above.
TIP: If you go to a particular domain, such as an Intranet or a group of Web pages such as Microsoft.com or FreedomScientific.com where you want this to happen all the time you can use Personalized Settings for JAWS to turn forms mode on when using navigation quick keys every time you visit that site. Personalized Settings can be found in the JAWS Quick Settings dialog box below the section for Virtual Cursor Options.
To quickly select a check box or radio button on a form, press NUM PAD SLASH when the virtual cursor is on the item. If the selected control is a check box, the state of the check box is toggled. If the control is a radio button that is not selected, this command selects the radio button. JAWS does not switch to forms mode, so you can easily continue reading the page. You can also use SPACEBAR to toggle the state of a check box or select a radio button without going into forms mode.
EXERCISE: Open the New WebTrack Sample Form and follow along with the instructions below to experiment with check boxes and radio buttons:
Notice that throughout the above process, forms mode was never turned on. You used the navigation quick key A for radio buttons to move the virtual cursor to a radio button, and changed the check mark without getting into forms mode.
When reading with the arrow keys, if the virtual cursor moves to a combo box forms mode is not automatically turned on. (NOTE: Forms mode may come on even when navigating with the virtual cursor if AutoComplete settings are used in that control.) To change the selection, press ALT+DOWN ARROW to open the list of choices. Forms mode comes on. Then, use the ARROW Keys to select an item. Press ALT+UP ARROW to close the list of choices. The item is now selected in the combo box and forms mode goes off again. Then press TAB to move to the next control. (Or use the ARROW KEYS to continue reading.)
EXERCISE: Open the New WebTrack Sample Form and follow along with the instructions below to experiment with combo boxes:
Notice that all this time, forms mode has not come on. You are still reading with the virtual cursor.
NOTE: Going into a combo box using this method causes only the selected item in the list to be visible within the combo box. Visually, the rest of the list of choices cannot be seen.
Spend a few minutes on this combo box practicing the two methods discussed to get into and out of forms mode, and make a selection from the list of available items. When you are finished, make sure that forms mode is off by pressing NUM PAD PLUS.
A variation of a combo box, a multiple selection list box, sometimes called an extended selection list box, can be thought of as a combo box that allows multiple selections. In the combo box example above, only one item can be chosen in the list of values. In a multiple selection list box, more than one item can be chosen in the list of values at one time.
If you use a mouse, you can hold down the CTRL key and click any number of items in a multiple selection list. Keyboard users can press the Internet Explorer keystroke SHIFT+F8 to turn on extended selection mode. While this mode is on, move up or down the list of choices and press SPACEBAR to select as many items as desired. To unselect a previously selected item, press SPACEBAR again on the item.
EXERCISE: Open the New WebTrack Sample Form. Spend a few minutes practicing how to select more than one item at a time in the multiple selection list box on the New WebTrack form.
Notice that you did not go into forms mode by just reading the form with the virtual cursor and the arrow keys.
NOTE: You can also press NUM PAD PLUS or CLICK with a mouse elsewhere in the page outside of a form control to exit forms mode when in a multiple selection list box.
Some options for forms mode can be changed. For example, you might prefer to use the classic forms mode (forms mode off) instead of auto forms mode. Or you may want to use the new Semi-Auto forms mode introduced in JAWS 16. Let us take a look at the Semi-Auto forms mode using JAWS Quick Settings.
You can make some adjustments to forms mode by using the JAWS Quick Settings dialog box. JAWS automatically saves the changes you make until you change them again.
EXERCISE: Open the New WebTrack Sample Form and follow along with the instructions below and explore some of the items you can change in the JAWS Quick Settings dialog box:
We think once you get accustomed to using semi-auto forms mode you will like it very much. Go ahead and follow the instructions above if you wish to switch auto forms mode back on again. When you find the selection that says "Auto Forms Mode - Semi-Auto" just press SPACEBAR to change it back to "Auto" again. Press TAB to move to the OK button, and then activate it with the SPACEBAR.
HTML allows the author of a Web page to specifically associate text prompts (or labels) with form controls. JAWS recognizes when a prompt is specifically associated with a control, and speaks the correct prompt when you move to that control. If no prompt is specifically associated with a control, JAWS attempts to identify text positioned near the control as the prompt. This is most accurate when the text is directly to the left or above the form control.
EXERCISE: Open the attached PDF sample form and try it using the techniques you have learned. JAWS handles PDF forms the same way as HTML forms.
Take a minute to look at and use the JAWS List of Virtual HTML Features, INSERT+F3. This is a handy way to generate lists of many items found in the virtual environment.