(Updated) In-Process Halloween 2017: Firefox 57, Windows Fall Creators Update, Australian NDIS and more
Welcome to In-Process for Halloween, 31st October 2017.
For those reading this for the first time, read on! For those who have read it previously, the update is that I’ve included some of the community contributions for Halloween at the bottom.
We hope you enjoyed the choose your own adventure episode last time!
There has been a lot of talk in the community lately about Mozilla’s soon to be released update to the popular Firefox web browser. The changes in Firefox 57, known as Firefox Quantum are designed to improve the speed and security of the browser. This, unfortunately, also impacts on the user experience for screen reader users. At this stage, NV Access is recommending that users switch to using Firefox’s Extended Support Release (ESR) version, and avoiding 57 until it is suitable for use with NVDA.
You can download Firefox ESR here.
Speaking of updates, the Windows 10 “Fall creators update” has started rolling out, as noted in our last edition. While NVDA is compatible with the update, it is recommended that you have “Controlled folder access” disabled while installing or updating NVDA. Controlled folder access is a new feature in the Fall Creator’s update. It is designed to prevent malware and particularly ransomware, from accessing system folders and user files. When enabled, however, many programs, including NVDA, encounter errors when installing. NVDA can install, however it is unable to create a desktop shortcut, and gives an error. Once NVDA has been installed or updated, the feature does not interfere with NVDA.
Disability services in Australia are transitioning to a new model, known as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Participants can use their NDIS plan to purchase equipment and services. NV Access is pleased to announce that we have registered as an NDIS provider. This means that NVDA telephone support and training modules can be purchased under the NDIS and is a great benefit to users in Australia.
Did you know we offered telephone support? That’s right, from the NV Access shop, you can purchase anywhere from half an hour, up to ten hours of personal NVDA telephone support. Once purchased, you will be sent instructions, including local telephone numbers in both the United States of America, and Australia.
Remember, you can also get support from our growing pool of NVDA Certified Experts. When someone completes the NVDA Certified Expert exam and purchases their listing and certificate, they can also include contact details. Feel free to browse the listing at https://certification.nvaccess.org/ to find a certified expert near you.
To end this Halloween edition of In-Process, I thought I’d share a spooky recording that suddenly and mysteriously found its way to my computer today.
Ok, that’s not overly spooky. So now it’s your turn! Get creative with NVDA for Halloween! Share your best efforts and be sure to tag @NVAccess on Twitter!
Wow, you are a creative bunch!
Toutauclavier’s NVDA is being VERY spooky and creative:
They tweeted: “Hey @NVAccess my NVDA has a strange behaviour for halloween… You can ear the problem here : https://www.dropbox.com/s/ja9ew57xtht2cgq/NVDA%20Halloween.mp3?dl=0 #BestEfforts”
Derek Riemer made a whole addon! Tweeting “Nv Access told us to see what Halloween fun we could have with NVDA. Here’s my boo NVDA addon! https://files.derekriemer.com/boo.nvda-addon
Be careful, it can make you jump randomly!
Wow, great efforts! Whether it’s still Halloween in your part of the world or not, feel free to keep creating, tag NV Access and I’ll update this post as needed.
Welcome to In-Process
This week, as hinted, is the In-Process choose your own adventure edition! The instructions assume you are using NVDA (in Browse mode). In any case, you can read it from start to finish if you prefer.
So, let’s start your adventure!
You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.
To the east is a metropolis. To the south is a portal which will bring you back here.
To go East, press 2. To go South, press SHIFT+3.
You visit Melbourne, the city of coffee! To the south is the Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) convention. Mick, Quentin and one of our board members, Mat attended the BCA Convention last weekend. Mick and Mat were on a panel discussing “Getting a job, what works?” Their stories and those of the other participants were of great benefit to the attendees.
To the north is a forest. To the east, is a discount store.
To head North, press 2. To head East, press 1.
You find a key!
On the key is a code “BCA2017”. To use the key, go to the NV Access Shop and enter the code at the checkout within the next week.
To head North-west, press 2. To explore the room further, press SHIFT+1.
You find yourself in a green forest. A sign reads, “Welcome to LibreOffice country!”.
We know many of our users are passionate about supporting open source software. Working better in LibreOffice is something we often get asked about. We don’t currently have any new resources to devote to this, however, we are evaluating the issues users have with LibreOffice and NVDA. If you have encountered any problems, please do let us know. You can either file an issue on GitHub, or e-mail Quentin as he is currently collating them.
To the west, you hear dulcet tones echoing over a mountain range. To the north, you see snow.
To head West, press 2. To head North, press 3.
You hear a booming voice say “Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s not Christmas yet. I’ll see you in a couple of months. For now, the code from the discount store is your present.
To head South-west to the mountains, press 2. To head to the discount store, press SHIFT+1.
You climb the mountain. At the top, you find three copies of “Basic Training for NVDA”. This resource is very popular and is available in electronic text, audio and Braille. You examine the three formats:
– The electronic text is in a zip file. HTML format works in any web browser. DOCX is readable in Microsoft Word. ePub is a popular electronic book format. The KFX format works in the Amazon Kindle app and can be read with NVDA.
– The Braille format comes in hard-copy braille, posted free with tracking. It can travel pretty much anywhere in the world!
– The audio is packaged as Daisy MP3 downloadable directly after buying. Daisy is a standard for audio books, used in many players such as the Victor Stream and the Plextalk Pocket. See the user manual for your device for how to copy the material onto it.
If you are using an iPhone or iPad, did you know that you can upload the book to your iTunes library to listen to? Apple has instructions on uploading audio to your iTunes account.
Remember, head to the NV Access Shop to get the material and use the key you found earlier to unlock secret treasures!
To the west, you see a vibrant city. To the north, you smell bacon!
To search for the key, press SHIFT+1. To head west, press 2. To head north, press 3.
You find a poem on a scrap of papyrus. A narrator, standing behind a tree with a megaphone reads it to you:
Ode to bacon:
Oh bacon, I love thee,
For you are so delicious!
All I wish to eat every day,
“Ah”, the narrator says, sighing wistfully, “I love a nice rhyming bacon poem, don’t you? Look, I’d love to stay, but I’m a bit peckish now, you’ll have to do the rest of the adventure on your own, ok?”
The narrator exits to the North.
To the south-west is a vibrant city. (But why leave when there is bacon here?)
To head south-west, press 2. To stay here and enjoy the wonderful poem again, press SHIFT+3.
The vibrant city
You enter the vibrant city. A technology giant strides up to you, bestowing gifts of a beret and a key. You examine the key, different to the first, this key appears to be constructed of solid USB. On the side of the USB key is the inscription “Fall Creators Update”. Bemoaning the decline of the possessive apostrophe, you pocket the key.
Microsoft has just released the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Those on Windows 10 can expect to this update gradually roll out over the next few weeks or so. If you are keen to get it as soon as possible, never fear! This notice we found nailed to a tree may help.
NVDA 2017.3 works well with the Fall Creators Update, so there is no reason, on that front, not to upgrade. As always, if you do encounter any problems, please do either Create an issue on GitHub or E-Mail us
For those still on Windows 7 or 8, Microsoft today tweeted that “If you’re using assistive technologies and want to update to Windows 10, free upgrade available until Dec. 31, 2017.”
You place the beret on your head at a jaunty angle. To sit and watch the sunset, press 2. To enter a music shop, press 3.
Entering the music shop, you spy an old man with a twinkle in his eye. Although you have never seen him before, he appears to have been expecting you. The shopkeeper ushers you past the guitars, pianos and glockenspiels. He takes you up a dimly lit staircase to a dusty room. From a cupboard, he carefully pulls a simple, yet beautiful lute. Returning it to its case, he hands it to you, and ushers you out of the shop, all without a word.
Although you were only in the shop for what seemed like minutes, the sun is now setting. You sit on a bench and play the lute. Passers-by drop coins into the case, and you use the money to buy a delicious bacon snack!
You adjust your cap from a jaunty angle to a rakish angle, and head for the beach. Sitting by the water, you think that this has been a very productive trip. A Viking longship glides towards you, as if to a schedule. You board and sail peacefully home.
Wow, thanks for a great adventure. I hope you enjoyed it. Do come back again next time (although I can’t promise a choose your own adventure every time!)
Welcome to a belated In-Process, and welcome to October. Last week, instead of writing In-Process, the NV Access team were gathered in Melbourne, enjoying the food and attractions Australia’s second largest city has to offer. In part one of our one-part series on “drinks you can eat and foods you can drink”, this NV Access reporter can recommend green tea muffins, and also avocado juice!
Food aside, it was great to meet face to face. Generally, we are scattered across Australia. Meeting online using tools such as Slack and Mumble is important as it keeps us in touch day to day. Project tracking such as Trello is fantastic for being aware of what projects each of us is working on, but meeting face to face is an excellent way to work through ideas, plan future projects and bond as a team.
While much of what was discussed involve future plans we need to flesh out more before going into too much detail, suffice to say, we are continuing towards world domination one stimulating latte at a time (also, crepe by crepe)! Of course, we are always keen to hear your thoughts on NVDA, and the user’s email list is a great place to chat, share ideas with the community and developers, as well as get help.
Speaking of planning, one industry tool which is used to inform accessible web content and standards, is the WebAim Screen Reader User Survey. All screen reader users are encouraged to complete it https://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey7/
In other community news, last weekend Joseph Lee hosted an online NVDA add-ons festival. With presentations by Joseph and other add-on developers, the festival was a great success to those who attended. Although the sessions weren’t recorded, you can still join in the conversation on the NVDA users e-mail list.
Next up, this week’s in-process comes with audience participation! That’s right, an activity for you to play along with at home. If you aren’t quite sure how OCR works, or how the new Windows 10 OCR differs from the add-on, today, we’re going to use it to recognise text in an image. If you are using NVDA 2017.3 (or a more recent snapshot build) on Windows 10, then we’ll use the built in OCR. If you are using anything else, you’ll need the OCR add-on and the second set of instructions (press 3 to jump to the appropriate heading level 3). Read through the instructions, then follow along:
Using OCR with NVDA 2017.3 on Windows 10:
1. Press g to move to the next graphic. NVDA identifies it as “Test image for OCR graphic”.
2. Press NVDA+r. NVDA reports “Recognising”. After a pause, NVDA reports “Result document”.
3. Although visually, the screen hasn’t changed, NVDA has placed the text recognised in the image in a “virtual document”. You can navigate around this just like a document in WordPad. Press NVDA+down arrow (laptop: NVDA+a) to read the whole document from the current point.
4. Press control+home to move to the top of the virtual document.
5. Press down arrow to move through and read the text line by line.
6. When finished, press escape to exit the virtual document.
Using the OCR Add-on
1. Press g to move to the next graphic. NVDA identifies it as “Test image for OCR graphic”.
2. Press NVDA+r. NVDA reports “Recognising”. After a pause, NVDA reports “Done”.
3. Although visually, the screen hasn’t changed, NVDA has placed the text recognised in the image in a “virtual document”. You can navigate around this using the review cursor. Press numpad plus (laptop: NVDA+shift+a) to read the whole document from the current point.
4. Press shift+numpad 7 (laptop: NVDA+control+home) to move to the top of the virtual document.
5. Press numpad 9 (laptop: NVDA+down arrow) to move through and read the text line by line.
That’s all for this time around, tune in next fortnight for another action-packed edition. Who knows, there might be a choose-your-own-adventure to follow!
In-Process 14th September 2017
We start this edition of In-Process with news of an NVDA retirement. One which will be sadly missed by some, however, the time has come to move forward. That’s right, the just released NVDA 2017.3 is the last version which will work on Windows XP and Windows Vista. Users on Windows 7, please make sure you have Windows 7, Service Pack 1 and you will be fine. While Microsoft stopped supporting XP over two years ago, we made the decision that we would continue to support it for as long as it was practical and didn’t hold back fixes or features to NVDA. That time has now come. If you are on Windows XP and try to update to snapshot builds from now, or to NVDA 2017.4 or later when they arrive, you will be prompted to roll back to 2017.3, which will remain on our server for those users.
Next, and mostly for our visual followers, our new logo is making its way onto our social media platforms. Yes, our rebranding project is continuing apace! Ok, not actually “apace”, but continuing nonetheless. So, what exactly IS our new logo? I’m glad you asked! The new NV Access logo is a hollow purple sun shape with 16 points. 8 points are sharp and triangular, coloured in purple. The purple points alternate between either orange or turquoise rounded points. Inside the circle of the sun is a hollow purple diamond, and in the centre, is a hollow turquoise ring. The purple and orange keep the colours from our original logo, though slightly different shades.
The full logo (on the website) contains the sun logo with text to the right. “NV Access” is in larger text above a horizontal line. Below the line is the tagline “Empowering lives through non-visual access to technology”. All the text is in purple, except for the “NV” in “NV Access” which is orange.
So, what social media can you find our lovely new logo on? Another great question!
You can “Follow” us on Twitter.
You can “Like” us on Facebook.
You can “Subscribe” to our YouTube channel.
And you can “Follow” us on LinkedIn.
The other big change this time around is that, as announced last month, James Teh has now officially finished as an employee of NV Access. James is moving to Mozilla and will undoubtedly be part of big things there. This is of course, not the end of Jamie’s involvement with NV Access. He is staying on the board of directors, helping to steer the organisation. He will also no doubt still contribute patches himself, and through his work with Mozilla. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jamie for all he has done and still does, both of NV Access and for changing lives around the world.
I wanted to lead this edition of In-Process with the exciting news that I have a brand new coffee machine! But apparently, that is only of interest to me. So, the big news this fortnight that isn’t caffeine related is the release of NVDA 2017.3. There are many exciting things in this release. A lot of community collaboration and input has contributed to the huge list of new and improved features. Thank you to all our dedicated and hard-working community volunteers!
So, what is new, updated and fixed? As hinted previously, the key features are:
– Input of contracted braille
– Support for new Windows 10 OneCore voices
– Inbuilt support for Windows 10 OCR
– There are also many significant improvements to Braille and the web. The full What’s New is here.
NVDA 2017.3 is available from the update prompt within NVDA itself if you have “Automatically check for updates to NVDA” enabled on the General settings page. It is also available from the NVDA website.
One long awaited feature of NVDA 2017.3 for Windows 10 users is support for the new Windows OneCore voices. These voices are very human sounding and come in many languages. To change to the OneCore synthesizer, press NVDA+control+s and choose “Windows OneCore voices”. Note again, these are only available on Windows 10.
Most users will be familiar with NVDA’s options for adjusting the voice rate. This can be done either via the voice settings dialog (press NVDA+control+v) or on-the-fly. Press NVDA+control+left or right arrow to change which voice option to adjust (speech rate, pitch, volume, voice etc). Then press NVDA+control+up arrow or NVDA+control+down arrow to adjust the selected option. These two methods for adjusting the speech rate still work with the OneCore voices. Some users may find setting the rate to 100 is still slower than other voices allow. The speech rate can be adjusted further from the speech settings dialog within Windows 10 itself. Press the WINDOWS key, then start typing “Speech settings”. When the Speech Settings system setting is selected, press ENTER. Press TAB to move to the “Speed” slider, and the arrows to adjust the speed.
Several users have also noticed that using pitch to identify capital letters is not as pronounced in the OneCore voices. You can adjust this in the Voice Settings dialog (NVDA+control+v) by changing the number in the “Capital pitch change percentage” edit. This can be adjusted from -100 (lower pitch) up to 100 (higher pitch), where 0 is no change. You can also set “Say cap before capitals” or “Beep for capitals” to indicate capital letters when typing or reading by character.
NVDA 2017.3 includes many updates for Braille users. NVDA now uses Liblouis 3.2.0, updated from the earlier 3.0.0 we have been using since 2016.4. This includes updates to many languages and Braille tables. We have also changed the default Braille table to be UEB Code grade 1. The input and output Braille tables are also now ordered alphabetically to make them easier to locate in the Braille settings dialog. You can now type in both contracted and uncontracted Braille on a Braille display and you can enter Unicode Braille characters. There are many more control types and states identified with abbreviations for Braille. There are also more Braille options such as the ability to show messages indefinitely.
Another new feature for Windows 10 users, is the OCR functionality. We mentioned previously how this OCR replaces the OCR add-on for Windows 10 users. It is important to disable or remove the OCR add-on to avoid conflicts and ensure that OCR works. To use the OCR functionality, press NVDA+r on an image. Read the results using the standard text reading keys (arrows, Say all, etc). For users of earlier Windows versions, the add-on is still available which uses the review cursor reading keys.
What other new features are you excited about? Do get in touch and let us know. Also, feel free to send in your favourite coffee styles and recipes for me to try!
Finally, a shout out to one of our users, Tuukka Ojala. Tuukka’s excellent blog post on how he works with NVDA caught our attention this week. Great work Tuukka!
As we move ever closer to NVDA 2017.3, this week’s In-Process, as always, is packed full of practical information and tips.
To start, some organisational news. Last week, Jamie Teh announced that the time has come for him to move on from the NV Access team. Jamie has been a key part of the NV Access family for the last decade. We will miss his valuable contributions and whimsical banter. Fear not, as this in no way signals a decline for NVDA or NV Access. Jamie is moving from one dream job with NV Access to another, working with Mozilla. He will continue as a director of NV Access, and will still be using NVDA himself. Jamie’s work at Mozilla will likely also entail contributions to NVDA. For more information from Jamie himself, read Jamie’s announcement in full.
NV Access will be advertising a new position shortly. If you are in Australia, and working with us is YOUR dream career, start preparing your CV now!
Mick had a very productive week in Redmond, working with Microsoft and other AT vendors. Over time, this will result in improvements to NVDA, as well as improvements to products from Microsoft.
Earlier this year, during NVDACon 2017, Reef ran a very interesting session on triage. The results of that session have been tremendous. Enthusiastic community contributors have taken on the task of looking at new issues. These volunteers are doing great initial triage; seeking more information where needed. The backlog of old GitHub issues still awaiting triage is rapidly shrinking. If you report an issue, triage may not happen immediately but will happen sooner than ever before. If you are interested in learning how you too can help with this, the NVDACon session on non-code contributions is still available.
Speaking of NVDACon, planning is already starting for NVDACon 2018. Expressions of interest are being sought for several positions on the committee. Further information is available on the NVDACon email group. See https://www.nvdacon.org/ for information on NVDACon itself.
I know many of you are reading through this looking for information on NVDA 2017.3. I’m very excited to announce that… there is more information on 2017.3 coming up very shortly!
In-Process often mentions the Next and Master builds of NVDA. They are a great way to test out new features and fixes that are being evaluated. All going well, many of these updates may make their way into a future stable build. If you do test out Next or Master builds, one thing you may come across is the error sound. The error sound is a flat two-tone sound that plays when an error is encountered and recorded in the log. This can be confusing, particularly when the error sound plays, yet there is no adverse effect. For the most part, you can ignore such errors if everything else appears to work as it should. The nature of pre-release versions, however, is that there may also be actual problems. If something doesn’t work, please do report it on GitHub. If you would like to try out snapshot builds of NVDA, then please head over to the snapshots page.
Note that updates only occur to newer builds of the same type. If you are using the “Master” builds, they will only update to newer “Master” builds, for instance. The exception is release candidates. If you install NVDA 2017.3rc1, it will update to NVDA 2017.3rc2 if there is one, and to the final NVDA 2017.3 when it is released.
Snapshot builds, of course, are a progression towards the next stable build. As many of you know, the next stable build of NVDA is not far away. We are well into the translation freeze period. No new features are being considered for NVDA 2017.3 at this point. This gives the wonderful people who translate NVDA time to ensure their language is up to date. Doing this ensures that everything in NVDA 2017.3 should function in each of the 50 languages it works in from day 1.
This doesn’t mean that work on new features and fixing bugs stops. Not at all! What it does mean is that the work done now will progress towards going into NVDA 2017.4 later in the year.
So back to the hot topic, and what WILL be in NVDA 2017.3? Well here’s a few tidbits:
– The ability to show Braille messages indefinitely
– Reporting of flagged messages in Outlook
– MathML supported in Google Chrome
– Support for new OneCore voices in Windows 10
– In Browse mode for Microsoft Word, it is now possible to navigate to spelling errors with w (and shift+w)
– The date picker is now supported in Outlook appointment dialogs
– A sound is now played to indicate the appearance of suggestions in certain search fields in Windows 10. These include the Start menu, settings and mail search fields.
– More notifications are now reported, including in Skype for Business desktop and Microsoft Edge
– You can now type in both contracted and uncontracted braille on a display with a braille keyboard. You can also enter Unicode Braille characters
– New braille translation tables for Danish 8 dot computer Braille, Lithuanian, Persian 8 dot computer braille, Persian grade 1 and Slovenian 8 dot computer braille. Also, improved US English 8 dot computer braille.
– New OCR functionality in Windows 10 (Note for Windows 10 users, this will replace the add-on).
… Plus, much more! And that’s only in the “New” features. There are heaps more things that have been fixed or improved.
The Release Candidate for 2017.3 is due out on Thursday 17th. The release candidate has all the changes that the final 2017.3 will have. It is a great chance to test this as if any major issues are found, we can address them before the final version comes out. UPDATE: NVDA 2017.3rc1 is now out! See the NVDA 2017.3rc1 release notes and download link.
We do encourage most users to download the Release Candidate and we’d love your feedback on it in the E-mail list.
All things going well, NVDA 2017.3 should be out by the next In-Process, so I’ll talk to you then!
Welcome to August and welcome to another edition of In-Process!
First, thanks to everyone who has provided feedback about the new sounds in recent “Next” builds. The proposed new sounds were for starting and exiting NVDA, and going into focus and browse modes. There was a very mixed reaction to the proposed change. Some liked the new sounds. Some liked the idea of new sounds, but not the ones chosen, and others preferred to leave things as they were. For now, the best option seems to be to keep using the previous sounds while we look at other options. One thing that is clear, is that there is no one size fits all solution, including the current sounds. We are investigating ways of making it easier to create and distribute sound packs. That work won’t happen immediately so the sounds in 2017.3 will be the same as in 2017.2. There won’t be anything new sound-wise for a few releases, but we wanted to keep you up to date on where it was at.
Another change, not as noticeable to many users, and hopefully not as contentious is an updated NVDA icon. The current dark grey shaded icon has been in use for nearly 10 years. It was first created for Windows XP, which had a light grey system tray which showed up the dark grey logo very well. Recent versions of Windows have moved towards a darker system tray. This provides very little contrast with the existing NVDA icon. The updated icon features the same logo in a flat white, on a solid purple background. This ensures it will be visible on any colour background and uses the purple from the NV Access logo. The new logo is available in the latest Next and Master builds.
For those wondering, the NVDA logo is a stylised blend of the letters NVDA. It has a vertical line on the left with a little hook at the bottom. Then from the top, a straight diagonal line comes down to the right. Next, a line curves in a semi-circle out to the right then back up to the top, and finally, there is a little hook down to finish. All three lines form an N. The vertical and diagonal lines make the letter A (without the cross bar). The diagonal and curved lines form a V, and the curve is the right part of the D.
In other news, work continues apace on ARIA 1.1. Grids are now incubating and should be in master later this week.
Windows 10 OCR has been very well received by beta testers. For users of Windows 10, NVDA 2017.3 will have a built in OCR which works the same as the OCR add-on. This is available in Windows 10 only because it uses an OCR functionality which Microsoft has included in Windows 10. Users of earlier versions of Windows can still use the OCR add-on, which provides similar functionality. Both features work by looking for text in an image. Navigate to a graphic such as a meme on a web page, or an untagged PDF. Next, press NVDA+r to process the image. Any text found will then be available with the regular navigation keys.
Mick is visiting Microsoft next week with other AT vendors. This is a great opportunity to share issues which have arisen for all screen reader users. We will all work together to improve the experience for everyone in Windows and Office.
That’s about all for this time around. For those anxiously awaiting more news on when 2017.3 will be out, you’ll be pleased to know it’s on its way. The code freeze is this week, so translators have time to get their work up to date. So, when the next In-Process comes out in about a fortnight, we will be putting the final touches on NVDA 2017.3RC1!
Hello and welcome to another In-Process. This week’s highlights include lots of new features heading into our snapshot builds. Plus, a little piece of Hollywood for you.
To start off, ARIA work continues apace. ARIA-Placeholder is now in “master” builds. ARIA-Grids with virtual coordinates is next. This has taken a bit more time than anticipated, but still moving forward.
Jamie has been investigating the inbuilt OCR functionality in Windows 10. His hard work (expertly reviewed by Reef) is now incubating in Next snapshot builds. For Windows 10 users, it behaves the same as the current add-on. Press NVDA+r to run OCR on an otherwise inaccessible object, such as an image. A new NVDA Preferences menu item, Windows 10 OCR lets you select the OCR language.
Contracted Braille input has now graduated to Master. We know this feature has been highly anticipated for many users. If that is you, now could be a great time to investigate our snapshot builds.
Also in Master is the latest update to the eSpeak NG voice. This should fix clipping issues for some users where words were being cut off.
The Word certification is now almost three-quarters written. Be sure to look out for the question about speedboats once it’s available!
Finally, we’ve encountered a problem with our shop architecture. If you are creating a new account to buy something, the drop-down fields for country and state do work but don’t read. The workaround is:
1. Navigate to the particular combo box.
2. Press enter, spacebar or alt+down arrow to open the drop-down list.
3. Ignoring what NVDA reports, type as much of the country or state that it will be unique. “Cana” will select the country Canada, “new y” will select the U.S. state of New York, etc.
4. Press ENTER to accept. NVDA will read the selected name.
5. If correct, press TAB to move on, otherwise, return to step 2.
A random bit of trivia to end this edition of In-Process. Today marks the 94th anniversary of the dedication of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. From 1923 to 1949 the sign actually read “Hollywoodland”.
Welcome to another issue of In-Process, it’s great to have you with us once again. Those in a rush will be pleased to hear it’s not a long In-Process this week. I choose to attribute that to our winter solstice being last Wednesday. We’ll have more and more time to do newsworthy things as the days get longer from now on!
To start this week, one very popular session at this year’s NVDACon was the session by Reef and Jamie. “A discussion of how the NVDA community can make non-code contributions”. For anyone who would like to listen to the session, it is available on the NVDACon website. The direct link to the recording is https://www.nvdacon.org/2017nc
As a follow-up to that session, Reef Turner has written up some notes on how you can help triage submitted issues. Triage helps prioritise the issues that have the biggest impact on the most users. Reef has written a short piece on the process NV Access use to triage issues. For those interested in helping triage, the Triage Help page has more information.
There are a lot of exciting things “incubating” in snapshot builds currently:
- Work on Aria placeholder is now incubating in “Next” builds. Work on ARIA grids with virtual coordinates (as introduced in ARIA 1.1) has started. This is a complex addition, and will take a little time to complete.
- MathML content is now supported in Google Chrome.
- NVDA can now speak using the new Windows OneCore voices (also known as mobile voices) included in Windows 10. You access these by selecting Windows OneCore voices in NVDA’s Synthesizer dialog.
- The keyboard layout can now be set from the Welcome dialog.
- The names of landmarks are abbreviated in Braille.
Look out for all these and more in 2017.3 later this year. In the meantime, if you would like to try them out, head over to our snapshots page. Remember, these are pre-release builds and things may or may not work as advertised.
We now have over 50 NVDA Certified Experts! Congratulations to everyone who has become certified so far. All the best to those currently studying. If you’d like to get in on the action, be sure to visit the NV Access Certification System. Remember, you can now add your contact details so those wanting to find an expert can contact you!
And that’s all for this week, except to say, Happy 20th anniversary to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! In closing then, I’ll leave you with this to think on: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live”.
In-Process 13 June 2017:
Firstly, the big news: NVDA 2017.2 is now available. Anyone with automatic updates enabled should have received a prompt to update. You can manually update NVDA by pressing NVDA+n to open the NVDA menu, pressing H for help then C to check for update. You can also download NVDA 2017.2 from https://www.nvaccess.org/download/.
Highlights of this release include full support for audio ducking in the Windows 10 Creators Update; fixes for several selection issues in browse mode, including problems with select all; significant improvements in Microsoft Edge support; and improvements on the web such as indication of elements marked as current (using aria-current). The full “What’s new” is online if you would like to read more.
Another new release to announce, this time the Microsoft Excel with NVDA training module. Following on from the success of “Basic Training for NVDA” and “Microsoft Word with NVDA”, NV Access are very pleased to present “Microsoft Excel with NVDA”. As with the other titles in the series, Microsoft Excel with NVDA is a comprehensive walk through all the features of Excel with the keyboard and NVDA. Each topic is accompanied by an activity to help solidify your knowledge. Topics covered include: Getting started with Excel, using headers, multiple worksheets, formulas, cell references, named ranges, tables, the elements list, text and number formatting, sorting, filtering, using charts, protecting and sharing workbooks. Microsoft Excel with NVDA is available from the NV Access shop.
With the great success of NVDACon again this year, there has been a lot of interest in recordings of the sessions from those who couldn’t attend. All the sessions are now available from the NVDACon site on the “Past Conferences” page. Thank-you once again to all the organisers and presenters for putting together a fantastic conference, and thank you to all those who participated for joining in and making NVDACon 2017 a great success!
The NVDA Certified Expert program has been a big hit, with many people proudly showing off their prowess with NVDA. One new feature that we’ve rolled out is that when you are listed on the Certification page you can now also add your contact details. If you are already listed on the page and would like to add or update details, simply log in to your account, and add or edit any of your contact information. We’ve also streamlined the log-in process. You now only need to log in once, rather than needing to log in to sit the certification and then separately to purchase the certificate.
Keen followers of In-Process will have seen our last post: “Microsoft Edge 2 years in: Where are we at for accessibility?”. Particularly for those using Windows 10, this is a great update on using Microsoft’s newest flagship browser with NVDA. Speaking of seeing posts, did you know you can subscribe to the In-Process RSS feed? If you would like to be automatically notified of new In-Process posts, your browser should be able to detect it on the page you are reading now. If you do need a direct link for your RSS application, you can point it to: https://www.nvaccess.org/category/in-process/feed/. If you’re wondering what RSS is, Google has many answers, here is one: A Really Simple Guide To Really Simple Syndication (RSS).
Speaking of Windows 10, one of the features of Windows we have had a lot of queries about is Microsoft’s new “OneCore” voices. OneCore are a range of new voices Microsoft have added to Windows 10. For those using Next builds of NVDA, you can test these out now by opening NVDA’s synthesizer settings (press NVDA+control+s) and choosing Microsoft OneCore from the list. You can then open the Voice Settings dialog (NVDA+control+v) and choose the specific voice you would like to use. These are due to make their way to the Master branch this week and eventually into NVDA 2017.3 when it comes out.
Another feature making its way through our Next branch is a new set of sounds for NVDA. Designed to be more subtle, modern and snappy, feel free to try these out in the latest Next build. As always, if you have any feedback on the voices, or anything else, there are a number of ways of getting in touch. If you find a bug or want to suggest a new feature, you can post an issue on GitHub. If you’d like to share ideas, ask for help from other users or follow along with the general conversation around NVDA, all the cool kids are on the E-Mail list. And if you’d like to get in touch with NV Access directly, you can E-Mail us.
Also in next thanks to Reef, continuing our work on supporting ARIA 1.1, is aria-placeholder, which is used for fields which have placeholder text before you type into the field. There aren’t many examples of aria-placeholder in the wild yet, so here’s a challenge to see if you can find one!
That’s all for this time. For the next In-Process, tune in at the same bat-time, same bat-channel!