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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Internet and JAWS-Which browser to use

I have many browsers on my machine as each one does something different...some very annoying features and some fantastic.

When I want a great virtual connection with video plugins and there is not a blind child on the other end, but I will be joining a meeting, I go Chrome. It truly is a fast browser. However, if I try to turn JAWS on while Chrome is open.... JAWS will NOT open. As soon as I close Chrome, JAWS starts chatting away. Let's just say there are compatibility issues here.

Internet Explorer (IE) offers some good features and in general, you can move around quite easily and get to where you want to go. There are hotkeys for almost everything and in general, it is very friendly. However, if you want to do video plugins, for example, Google chat or video plugins, JAWS in general will tell you what you are typing, if you hit backspace he may just say blank, blank, blank. When someone replies to you, you will NOT hear what is typed. So there are inaccessible features with IE and JAWS.

For a great browser that makes a huge majority of things accessible where they would not be, Firefox is it. Example, if you want to chat using Gmail, you hear everything you type, JAWS repeats the letters you erase, AND you hear everything the other person is typing. JAWS will even tell you someone is texting you and JAWS will tell you who it is. Firefox keystrokes can take you far and wide easily with JAWS.

Safari is completely inaccessible...well, you can fool it in some places, but forget it, and it is too much work.

However, none of the browsers offers you keystrokes to access video. Shameful!

So what should a blind person do if they want to video chat to their Mom and Dad in France or Argentina? Or a student to teach?...enter SKYPE. You can download special JAWS scripts to allow JAWS to talk everything in SKYPE. You can make calls, video, chat, add contacts, you name it, all for free, even calling thousands of miles away. When someone is texting you, SKYPE tells you their name and you hear a typing sound as they type in their text. When they hit enter and send the text to you, you hear everything in the text. You can disconnect and connect with ease. You can do everything you want using JAWS.

So for now, or at least with the knowledge I have right now, I find SKYPE to be the best in video, chat, text, and all features accessible with JAWS though it is not a browser but a great addition to browsers: Internet Explorer is good for a huge majority of surfing and Firefox if you just want everything accessible...or at least most things.

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