by Daniel Parker, RDPFS Intern
Every year, around August or September, discusses on its new features coming out in the next releases of JAWS for Windows screen reading software; ZoomText screen magnification software; and Fusion, which combines both of the above. On the most recent podcast episode, Vice-President for Software Product Management Ryan Jones unveils a few handy new features which could prove very popular and useful. An interesting JAWS feature is called Smart Glance. On loading a webpage, JAWS will detect information meant to stand out visually, such as through a font choice, but which is not coded into the page as headings or regions would be. It then collects these visual highlights and allows the user to navigate through them by pressing the ‘Y’ and ‘shift+Y’ keys on the keyboard. By doing this it will find webpage sections, contact information, alerts, and other content that a visual reader would notice quickly, but which would take time for a blind user to find on their own. A new ZoomText feature called Teathered View mitigates the need for scrolling by grouping active areas of windows closer together. For example, while typing in the Windows Start Menu, the text box is at the bottom of the screen, but the search results are at the top. With Teathered View, it is no longer necessary to scroll with the mouse to the top of the window to read the search results, and it is possible to click on one while the edit box is still visible. .