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BrowserNav addon for NVDA

This add-on provides NVDA users powerful navigation commands in browser mode. It works in web browsers, as well as any other applications that support NVDA browse mode, such as Word documents and email clients.

For example, with BrowserNav you can find vertically aligned paragraphs, that is paragraphs with the same horizontal offset. This can be used to read hierarchical trees of comments or malformed HTML tables.

You can also find paragraphs written in the same font size or style.

BrowserNav also provides new QuickNav commands: P for next paragraph and Y for next tab.

Download

Usage in browsers and other programs that support browse mode

BrowserNav can be used to navigate by horizontal offset from the left edge of the screen, by font size, or by font style.

  • When navigating by horizontal offset, you can easily find paragraphs that are vertically aligned on the page. IN particular, you can press NVDA+Alt+DownArrow or UpArrow to jump to the next or previous paragraph that has the same offset. For example, this can be useful when browsing hierarchical trees of comments (e.g. on reddit.com) to jump between first level comments and skipping all the higher level comments.
  • When navigating by font size, you can easily find paragraphs written in the same font size, or smaller/greater font size.
  • You can also navigate by font size with the constraint of same font style.

BrowserNav rotor is used to switch between these options. Depending on the setting of this rotor, BrowserNav will indicate with beeps either horizontal offset or font size of currently selected item. In addition, BrowserNav will crackle on QuickNav commands to indicate how much text has been skipped over (this feature is only available in Google Chrome and Firefox).

BrowserNav works in any browser supported by NVDA. Although some features may not be available in all browsers. BrowserNav also works in other applications that support NVDA browse mode, such as Word documents and email clients.

Keystrokes:

  • NVDA+Alt+UpArrow or DownArrow: Jump to previous or next paragraph with the same horizontal offset or font size.
  • NVDA+Alt+Home or NVDA+alt+LeftArrow: Jump to previous paragraph with lesser offset or greater font size (parent paragraph).
  • NVDA+Alt+End or NVDA+Control+alt+LeftArrow: Jump to next paragraph with lesser offset or greater font size (next parent paragraph).
  • NVDA+Alt+PageDown or NVDA+Alt+RightArrow: Jump to next paragraph with greater offset or smaller font size (child paragraph).
  • NVDA+Alt+PageUp or NVDA+Control+Alt+RightArrow: Jump to previous paragraph with greater offset or smaller font size (previous child paragraph).
  • NVDA+O: Switch rotor setting between horizontal offset, font size, font size with font style.
  • Y or Shift+Y: Jump to next or previous tab.
  • P or Shift+P: Jump to next or previous dialog.
  • Z or Shift+Z: Jump to next or previous menu.
  • ` orShift+` (backquote or tilde): Jump to next or previous format change.
  • \ or Shift+\ (backslash): Scroll up or down to reveal each page element; can be useful in dynamic web pages to load all the elements; also can be useful in infinite scroll webpages to load the next chunk.
  • 0 or Shift+0: Jump to next or previous tree view.
  • 9 or Shift+9: Jump to next or previous tool bar.
  • NVDA+Shift+LeftArrow: Go back to previous location of cursor within current document.
  • NVDA+E: edit semi-accessible edit boxes - see corresponding section below.
  • T or Shift+T: jump to next or previous table, but place the cursor in the first cell. Sometimes NVDA puts the cursor just before the first cell and BrowserNav fixes this behavior.

Bookmarks

BrowserNav 2.0 introduces a new set of bookmark features .

Bookmark keystrokes

  • NVDA+J: Show quickJump popup menu.
  • J or Shift+J: Jump to next or previous QuickJump bookmark.
  • / and Control+/: Toggle SkipClutter mode for navigating by line (Up and Down arrows) and by paragraph (Control+Up and Control+Down arrows) correspondingly.
  • Alt+J: click all AutoClick bookmarks on current page.
  • Alt+1, Alt+2, ..., Alt+0: jump to next hierarchical bookmark of corresponding level. 0 corresponds to level 10.
  • Shift+Alt+1, Shift+Alt+2, ..., Shift+Alt+0: jump to previous hierarchical bookmark.
  • Alt+ or Shift+Alt+: jump to next or previous hierarchical bookmark of any level.

Sites

The first thing you would need to configure is the site where you want to create bookmarks. In most cases you would want to specify match type to be either domain match or Match domain and its subdomains. To illustrate the latter option, you can specify:

  • URL: amazon.com
  • Match type: Match domain and its subdomains
  • This will match amazon.com, smile.amazon.com and all other *.amazon.com domains.

If you need finer control, you can also specify exact URL or define a regular expression for URL.

Because of this flexible definition, on every given webpage multiple QuickJump sites might be active at the same time.

Bookmark types

Once you have configured site definition, you can proceed to define some bookmarks on it.

BrowserNav currently supports four types of bookmarks:

  • QuickJump bookmarks: you can jump to them by pressing J or Shift+J.
  • SkipClutter bookmarks: These bookmarks are skipped automatically when navigating by line (Up/Down arrow) or by paragraph (Control+Up/Down arrows). This allows to hide clutter on webpages, such as empty lines, timestamps and any other redundant information. The information is not removed completely, SkipClutter can be temporarily disabled via / or Control+/ commands. By default SkipClutter skips empty paragraphs on all websites.
  • AutoClick bookmarks: you can mark clickable elements, such as links, buttons or checkboxes to be autoClick bookmarks. Then by pressing Alt+J you can quickly press all autoClick bookmarks on current page with a single keystroke without moving the cursor. This can come in handy to press a frequently used button on a website, such as play button on YouTube or Mute button on video-conferencing websites.
  • Hierarchical bookmarks: this is similar to quickJump bookmarks, but this takes into account horizontal offset of a bookmark. Sites like Reddit and Hacker News have a hierarchical tree of comments, that was pretty challenging to efficiently navigate for screenreader users. On these websites you can mark comments as a hierarchical bookmark and then you can navigate between them By pressing Alt+digit or Shift+Alt+ditgit, where digit stands for number row 1,2,3,...0 - that is the level of the comment. By default BrowserNav has hierarchical bookmarks configured for Hacker News and old.reddit.com; it was however too difficult to configure them for modern reddit.com website since there doesn't appear to be easily searcheable paragraph that would identify comments.

Creating a new bookmark

Once you have configured a site, the easiest way to create a new bookmark would be to navigate to the desired paragraph in the document , press NVDA+J to show bookmarks context menu and select Bookmarks > Create new bookmark for site ...

Bookmark configuration dialog will open. You can now customize bookmark. You can change how text is matched (e.g. string match or regular expression).

Other options in this dialog:

  • Category: defines bookmark type.
  • Display name: optional name of this bookmark for better readability. This just gives a better name so that you can identify this bookmark in a long list of bookmarks.
  • Spoken message when bookmark is found: optional message to speak every time you hit this bookmark in the document.
  • Offset in paragraphs: after finding matched text BrowserNav will then shift cursor by this many paragraphs forward or back. This can be useful for example if target text that you want to jump to doesn't contain any common text that can be matched (e.g. forum post), but a preceding paragraph contains a matchable word (e.g. upvote). In this case you can match the word upvote and specify offset=1, to place the cursor on the first paragraph of the post instead of the word upvote.
  • Attributes: space-separated list of paragraph attributes that are matched against. The list of available attributes for current paragraph is available in the next form field. List of attributes is prepopulated with some common roles and typically you don't need to edit it.
  • Available attributes in current paragraph : these are all the attributes found in current paragraph. You can select and press Space to add them to the list of matched attributes.

Advanced site options

In site configuration dialog you can specify a number of advanced options:

  • Display name: optional display name for better readability in the list of sites.
  • Focus mode: this allows to override default handling of focus events in NVDA. Certain websites misuse focus events. In order to use them more conveniently, you can either ignore focus events, or alternatively disable automatic entering of focus mode when a focus event is received.
  • Live region mode: Some website misuse live regions. This option allows to disable live region announcements for current website only.
  • Debug beep mode: this is mostly good for debugging purposes. You can make NVDA beep when certain event (focus, live region update or successful autoClick) happened.
  • AutoClick options: when you set up QuickClick bookmark, this allows you to configure this bookmark to be pressed automatically after a certain delay once the website is fully loaded. Another option allows BrowserNav to keep monitoring the website and whenever any more of such QuickClick bookmarks appear, it would click them automatically still. Please note that this feature is experimental.

Configuration

Bookmark definitions are stored in NVDA configuration directory in file browserNavRules.json. You can edit this file manually or share it with someone.

NVDA Configuration directory can be found by opening Start menu and typing: Explore NVDA user configuration directory.

BrowserNav comes with default configuration file with sample bookmarks.

Editing semi-accessible edit boxes

Many modern web applications, notably Jupyter among others, use edit boxes, that are not that accessible, e.g. they appear blank, but you can copy text in and out of them using Control+A, Control+C and Control+V keystrokes.

BrowserNav offers an experimental feature to edit those edit boxes in a more convenient way. IN order to use it:

  1. Find edit box in the browser window.
  2. Press NVDA+E.
  3. A new window will appear with the contents of that edit box.
  4. Edit the contents of that edit box in this window.
  5. Once you're done, you can press Escape to close the accessible edit window and update the edit box on the web page.
  6. Alternatively, you can press Control+Enter, Shift+Enter or Alt+Enter. This will close the edit window, update the edit box and pass on the gesture on to the web application.
  7. In order to close the edit window without saving changes, press Alt+F4.
  8. At any time, if the contents of previously edited text is lost, press NVDA+Control+E to copy it to clipboard.

Notes:

  • Do not change the state of the browser, e.g. do not switch tabs and do not focus other elements within the tab while edit text window is open. Doing so will prevent BrowserNav from correctly updating text in the edit box.
  • Make sure to release Control, Shift or Alt modifiers quickly affter pressing Control+Enter, Shift+Enter, or Alt+Enter. Holding them for over a second will cause problems.
  • This feature is currently experimental. Please expect only about 90-95% success rate.
  • It has been thoroughly tested with Google Chrome and Firefox. It might work in other browsers, but there's a higher chance of issues, such as information loss.

Source code

Source code is available at http://github.com/mltony/nvda-indent-nav.

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BrowserNav is NVDA add-on that enhances NVDA browse mode with new keystrokes.

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