“K” Marks the Spot

By Tony Swartz, member Technology Team

Is there a page on the web that you often go to with specific information that you want to locate quickly? Maybe it’s a stock listings page, a reservations page, or a media player page; whatever it may be, Jaws provides a handy tool to find the information with a press of a single key.

Here are two examples of the use of Jaws Permanent PlaceMarkers which have proven quite useful for me. I often read my morning newspapers using the web version of NFB Newsline. On my personal publications list, I have about 40 newspapers selected. Given that the list often includes three daily editions, the list is quite long. I have seven newspapers which are my go-to reads on mornings when I’m a bit pressed for time. I’ve placed Permanent PlaceMarkers on the heading for the seven newspapers so that I can move down the list to locate them quickly. In another example, I often listen to baseball games through the MLB.TV web application. The opening page of the application gives a listing of all the television and radio broadcasts for each game played on the current date. I’ve placed a Permanent PlaceMarker on my team’s radio broadcast link. Once the link is activated, the game begins to play and a media player is displayed. I’ve marked each of the media player controls, such as rewind, pause, and fast forward, with Permanent PlaceMarkers. By pressing the letter “k” and shift “K” I can move forward and backward through the Permanent PlaceMarkers on the page.

The webpages in both of these examples don’t include much in the way of HTML webpage elements such as headings, paragraphs, or regions. Originally I scrolled down through each of the pages to familiarize myself with their content, but scrolling down through them each time I want to use them would be frustrating and a needless waste of time.

How to Create Permanent PlaceMarkers

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the webpage you plan to return to. If it requires more than two or three presses of a Jaws quick navigation key to locate the information you’ll be regularly seeking, then creating a Permanent PlaceMarker is a good strategy.

Once you’ve located a place on the webpage to which you’d like to regularly return, press the key combination of Control+Shift+K which will place you in the PlaceMarker List dialog. In this dialogue you can view any placeMarkers already created for this page, (create a PlaceMarker, remove a specific PlaceMarker, or remove all PlaceMarkers for the page). To create a PlaceMarker for the specific place where you wish to return, you may either press the enter key, the ALT+A key combination, or tab over to the add button and press enter; whichever add method you have chosen, you will now be asked to assign a name to the PlaceMarker. The name preselected for you is the wording on the page where you plan to return. I really can’t remember a time when I thought this wasn’t the most appropriate name for the marker, so I then tab over to the next field, a check box “Define for All Pages On Current Domain”. I usually find it’s best to leave this box unchecked, because if the site has many pages, you wouldn’t want to locate this information other than on this specific page. Tab over to the next check box, “Anchor To Text”. Here’s where it can get a bit tricky. Remember my first example with NFB Newsline of a list of many newspapers? If I want to locate the Allentown Morning Call, but the text next to the “Anchor To Text” field says “Allentown Morning Call 05/18/2022”, after several days, that exact string will no longer be on the page, so my PlaceMarker will stop working. I need to remove the date string “05/18/22″from the edit field beside the “Anchor To Text” check box, to simply read “Allentown Morning Call “. Now every day I know that it will always locate that wording, so I check the box. I now tab over to OK and either press the enter key or press the spacebar to create the Permanent PlaceMarker and dismiss the dialogue box. Once the Permanent PlaceMarker has been created, to locate the spot on the page, I need only press the letter “k”, or if I have several Permanent PlaceMarkers on the page, pressing “k” or “shift+k” will move the focus back and forth through the markers.

A last word of caution: When I’ve investigated complaints of a Permanent PlaceMarker not working, I’ve always found it a result of too much specific text in the “Anchor to Text” field. For instance, on a shopping page, when creating a Permanent PlaceMarker on a “Total Price” field, the individual creating the PlaceMarker has failed to remove the amount, so Jaws is looking for “Total Price: $550”. Removing the amount, “$550”, from the “Anchor to Text” field resolves the issue.

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