Jaws 10 is ready for testing

First impressions of the beta release are very favourable! The new functionality seems sensible, and the test version is both fast and stable!

Story by: Morten Tollefsen - 26.09.2008

I have now tested Jaws 10, and I am certainly not planning to switch back to an older version! If you do not need a Norwegian Jaws edition, and are interested in getting the most out of your PC, then I recommend you test the beta release. Older Jaws versions will not be uninstalled if you install Jaws 10, so you can always go back to the older version if something goes wrong.

This article does not describe thorough product testing. It's purpose is to inform those who use English Jaws that they can now consider Jaws 10, and to share the experience I have.

New features:

  • Improved handling of web forms
  • Better support for rich applications (Web 2.0)
  • Navigation keys can be configured
  • Real Speak Solo Direct and voice profiles
  • Various options for shorthand English
  • Simple overview and DAISY teaching material downloads from FSReader
  • Enhanced support in: Access 2007, Windows Media Player 11, Outlook calendar, PowerPoint 2007, Firefox 3
  • New feature - What's on the clipboard?
  • Jaws Tandem Centre

Exciting new features

In this article I will not describe all that is new, but take up the topics I think are most beneficial. You will find links for topics of particular interest below.

Forms mode: Experienced Internet users know that Forms mode is used to fill in text fields and more. Often you have to go out and in, out and in, out and in, ... of this mode when you work with large forms. Jaws has now implemented a feature called "automatic Forms mode". When you arrow or tab to a form field Forms mode is automatically switched on, and when you move out of the field Forms mode is switched off. And there are sound signals to indicate that Forms mode is being switched on/off. The automatic Forms mode is a big improvement, and it probably makes it easier for the blind and sighted to work together!

Navigation keys: 31 features can be selected with the navigation keys (e.g. H for the next heading, T for the next table, etc.). In Jaws 10, you can configure these keys yourself. This may make it possible to create Jaws editions with improved localization, with keys that are easier to remember.

Win + Ins + X reads what is on the clipboard.

Rich applications: Jaws 10 is far better at reading information that is emerging in other parts of the browser window. The experience I have now also suggests that Jaws 10 keeps focus better!

Voice Profiles: An even bigger improvement! This functionality is particularly good if you use multiple speech synthesisers (e.g.. for different languages). You can now configure each individual speech as you want (including speed, voice, vocal pitch etc.) and save it as a profile. Ctrl+Ins+S is used to switch between the profiles. Real Speak Solo Direct voices for all the available languages can be downloaded from Freedom Scientific. Demos are found on the Web site making it easy to find the voices you want to download (all included if you have a Jaws license). The Norwegian voices are Stine and Nora. If you have other products from Freedom Scientific (e.g. Magic) the voices will function with these too. There are two reasons given for not using the SAPI based interface: speed (response time) and the control of licensing conditions.

Jaws Tandem Centre: This allows you to connect to a PC with Jaws. This feature can be used for training, technical support, writing scripts etc..


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