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MAKING MICROSOFT OFFICE EXCEL ACCESSIBLE FOR NVDA SCREEN READER USERS


Written by Olufemi S.A. Bayode on 05 Aug 2020 @ 12:55:09 with comments

NVDA

I'm sincerely sorry for not posting any article yesterday. My PC and I were not feeling too well yesterday. I had a stomach ache while my computer had a booting palava. I was unable to attend to it until late in the night when I was better. Please, do bear with me.


It’s highly important to ensure easy readability of a Microsoft Office Excel Worksheet while creating one for the use of individuals with visual impairment. They need to know which cell holds which data as well as establish relationship between the cell and the column or row regardless their position in the Worksheet. Hence, the best guide for accessibility tailored Worksheet is wrapped knowledge of the assistive technology used by these individuals such as screen reader, screen magnifier, braille display and/or other input devices. This will pilot you towards meeting their unique need. For instance, the use of colour matters a lot to those with partial sightedness who use screen magnifier (light background colours) while nonvisual based adjustment will do for those with blindness who use screen reader.


JAWS has a robust support for Microsoft Office Excel. There are keystrokes that enhance quick navigation around the Worksheet, and easy and speedy access of information about data, rows and columns. Similarly, the little support possessed by NVDA is not bad at all. A sound user of NVDA may depend on the Element List available in the NVDA Browse mode for navigation. This will help to give the clear overview of any of the elements available in the Worksheet and being able to access it at a glance, including protected Worksheets and Workbooks. But an author of a Worksheet data has a little work to do to make things easy for someone with visual impairment who will use the file later.


The accessibility concern majorly for the output devices because they are the windows to the information you want them to access in the Worksheet. If they have the right drivers for their braille displays, mouse and keyboard, they won’t have issue to input data into the existing sheet. In relation to the NVDA screen reader, the accessibility concern will be on sound i.e. readability through the screen reader. The end product of our touch should present something that gives them equal information access like the sighted.


The first thing to consider for the end user of the Worksheet as NVDA screen reader user is setting column header for the Worksheet. This grant them the privilege to know the column they are regardless their cursor position in the sheet. When they navigate forward or backward the NVDA announces the column header in addition to the cell coordinate and its content. The keystroke for this operation is NVDA key+SHIFT+C.


Secondly, commenting is required for the cells you want them to note for a specific operation. Comment on how to fill an Excel form is strongly advised for orientation. Using colour or any other font or text attribute such as underline, bold, italics and so on make work for persons with partial sightedness but it will make those with blindness skip the cells unnoticed because the screen reader doesn’t read attributes automatically except one evoke its respective hot key. Whenever a cell with comment gains focus, NVDA will announce the cell its data, cell coordinate, column header if available and states if it is commented. This comment can be read with the keystroke NVDA+ALT+C. also, the use of the Element List in NVDA Browse mode will enable them see those cells with comments and move their easily as well. Go through the “Review Tab” in the ribbon menu to add comment to any cell.


Consequent upon the above recommendation, you are sure of provided an accessible file to an individual with visual impairment. A little polishing will make it outstanding and usable for both persons with visual impairment and sighted persons. This is inclusion we are all preaching. Should you want to know more about NVDA and accessibility for other programme, please keep tabs on our post and make yourself available for the NVDA conference.


Drop your comment in the edit field on anything you want us to help you with pertaining teaching computer to the blind and visually impaired. Also, don’t hesitate to hit the like button if this post is helpful, and most importantly, share this article to help someone discover this tips.


Time Uploaded: 05 Aug 2020 @ 12:55:09

Author: Olufemi S.A. Bayode