In-Process 4th May 2017

In-Process 4th May

Greetings and May the Fourth be with you! Sorry, I couldn’t resist that little Star Wars opening. Also, thank you to all the firefighters out there, as today is also International Firefighters’ day.

The team have all been busy as well. Jamie and Reef are still hard at work on ARIA support in NVDA, particularly for Chrome. You might be wondering, what exactly is ARIA? ARIA is a way of making the newer controls used in modern, dynamic websites accessible. Good web authoring practice goes a long way. ARIA allows developers to define the role and functionality of elements. This enables programs such as NVDA to interact with controls on web applications logically, based on the role of the object. It also enables better handling of dynamic content which can change automatically.

Jamie is working on the NVDACon keynote and Reef is working on his session. The NVDACon planning committee are doing great work getting ready. This years NVDACon promises to be bigger and better than ever. See NVDACon.org for details.

Quentin is working on the last couple of sections of the Excel training material. For everyone waiting keenly for this training module, its release is drawing ever closer. The “Basic Training for NVDA” and “Microsoft Word with NVDA” modules remain popular. Even advanced users have commented on how much they have learnt from these modules. The certification for the “Basic Training for NVDA” is in high demand. Many users are now able to share their accreditation as an NVDA Certified Expert. See The NV Access Shop for the training modules, and the Certification System for information on becoming an NVDA Certified Expert.

Jamie has also been working on support for Microsoft’s new OneCore or Mobile voices, which have been added to Windows 10. These are more responsive than the SAPI 5 voices and also cover more languages. Unfortunately, support for OneCore voices won’t make it into NVDA 2017.2 but it is something to look forward to in 2017.3.

Speaking of which, yes, the next release, NVDA 2017.2, is drawing closer. Keep an eye out for a release candidate around the time the next In-Process comes out. More details on the new features, fixes and other things to look out for will be in the next In-Process.

I’ve been asked lately about the difference between installed and portable versions of NVDA. Many users wonder what the best setup is for using NVDA on a shared computer.

When you download NVDA and run the setup file, a temporary copy of NVDA is loaded. This is used to speak details of the install and associated instructions and information. You can choose to “continue running” this temporary copy. The temporary copy is useful when using a snapshot build and wanting to check a new feature or fix. NVDA will work as normal until you quit it or shut the computer down. You can change the configuration, eg the synthesizer or speech rate, but these aren’t saved when NVDA exits.

A portable version of NVDA can be setup on a memory stick. This is useful when using a computer that you may not have administrator access to, such as in a library or shared computer lab. Nothing is added to the computer’s registry, but you can still save changes to settings. There are several restrictions to both temporary and portable versions of NVDA. These restrictions are documented in the NVDA User Guide

The main restrictions of temporary and portable versions are:

• The inability to automatically start during and/or after log-on,
• The inability to interact with applications running with administrative privileges, unless of course NVDA itself has been run also with these privileges (not recommended).
• The inability to read User Account Control (UAC) screens when trying to start an application with administrative privileges.
• Windows 8 and later: the inability to support input from a touch screen.
• Windows 8 and later: the inability to provide features such as browse mode and speaking of typed characters in Windows Store apps.
• Windows 8 and later: audio ducking is not supported.

When you install NVDA, none of these restrictions applies. The full features of NVDA are available on any screen. NVDA can be used on UAC dialogs, and the login screen.

If you are using a shared computer, you may not want NVDA starting automatically on the login screen, or after logon. When installing, one of the setup screens has checkboxes to create a shortcut, and one to “Use NVDA on the logon screen”. When checked, this option will start NVDA when the computer boots and gets to the logon screen. Having NVDA running on the logon screen should not affect the way sighted users interact with the logon screen. Depending on the setup, it will simply read the information aloud, and/or make use of a connected Braille display. The welcome dialog has an option to “Automatically start NVDA after I log on to Windows”. If this is unchecked, NVDA will not start when this user is logged in. Even if this option is checked, NVDA won’t start when other users log in to their accounts on this computer, unless they have set that up. Both of these options are also available in the General settings dialog. Press NVDA+control+g to open the dialog. Note that the NVDA key is either INSERT or CAPS LOCK, depending on how it was setup.

It is perfectly possible to have NVDA installed on a computer, but only started when a user presses CONTROL+ALT+N. In that way, an NVDA user can share a computer, even a login, with sighted users and have NVDA only run when desired.

Have a great couple of weeks everyone. Don’t forget to block out your diary for NVDACon from the 19th to the 21st of May!