After receiving a few requests for this type of information, I have finally pinned myself down to
write up some instructions for performing various types of
searches within the Google search engine.
Most people will use either JAWS, Supernova or Hal, and if your programs
which I have just mentioned are up n the years say acquired within the last
4 years or so then using Google will be no problem.
First of all lets look at how our screen readers/magnification software
interacts with the Google search engine and indeed you can apply what I am
going to say here to many or all web pages that contain forms.
When you first load up Google it will contain advertisements, various other
options and preferences for you to use or take a look at, but mainly you find
that Google is a text based search engine which is fine for us.
What we are going to look at in this lesson is the fact that Google has "one
edit field" for us to place those important search words into and hope that
it comes back with loads of useful results. Google will do this provided you
take a little time to gain some knowledge about how it works and how
best to use it.
Using JAWS and Supernova within Google
When we enter Google, the
first thing we need to find is the search box in Google where we type in
our search words. With JAWS you can first go to the top of the Google
webpage using keys: "control plus home" on your keyboard then arrow down the
page till you come to the search edit box which JAWS will announce and you
then press the "enter key" which activates the JAWS forms mode, a great
feature in the JAWS program itself.
There is a dedicated set of keystrokes for jumping directly into a Google
form field such as the search box, and this again applies to all form fields
on any webpage. The keystrokes for this are: JAWS 5 and versions of JAWS 4
"control, shift and tab key." If its JAWS 6 versions use key "letter E" and
it will place you in the search field ready for you to activate forms mode
with the Enter key.
You can use the above mentioned technique on any webpage which has form
Note! If there is more than one edit box on a webpage, you need only
press and activate the JAWS forms mode to access the first edit or list box. Any additional edit or list boxes, checkboxes, etc., which come after those on that same page, can simply be accessed by using the Tab key to get to them. However, once you go to the Next or Continue
button on a webpage and move off the current webpage to a new page the JAWS
forms mode turns off so you will have to activate it again if you need to access fill in forms on the new page.
So far I have talked about JAWS forms issues, but I will say here
that Supernova acts much the same as JAWS in this regard. Although JAWS calls this
function "forms mode" while Supernova calls it "interactive mode." If anyone has a more detailed account of how
Supernova works on a webpage with forms please feel free to pass this information along to me.
Google Web Search Basics
Whenever you search for more than one keyword at a time, a search engine has
a default strategy for handling and combining those keywords. Can those
words appear individually anywhere in a page, or do they have to be right
next to each other? Will the engine search for both keywords or for either
Google defaults to search for occurrences of your specified keywords
anywhere in the page, whether side-by-side or scattered throughout. To
return results of pages containing specifically ordered words, enclose them
in quotes, turning your keyword search into a "phrase search," to use
Now let me give you an idea of a search. This is called a phrase search and
if you study it carefully you will see why.
Below is a sample of a term we might need to search out.
to be or not to be
Google sees the above words as just being separate words and will return
results where any or all of these words are scattered all over the place.
Now that’s fine if that is what you want, but remember this is a phrase
search and I am studying for say an important English exam
In order for those words to appear together as a combined phrase enclose
them within quotation marks using keys "shift plus number 2"
See the following sample of what I mean. So we are in the Google search box
and here is what you should have inserted:
"To be or not to be"
Google will return matches only where those words appear together.
Therefore, I am more likely in my list of results to get exactly what I want
from the search and therefore I will spend less time and frustration trying
to find what I want.
Now try the above sample or else find a line of text yourself and see how it
works. Remember to use quotation marks on each side of the search term.
Whether an engine searches for all keywords or any of them depends on what
is called its Boolean default .
Search engines can default to Boolean using the word:
search for all keywords)
or Boolean using the word:
Note: Read the above paragraph carefully to understand it so you will know exactly what
Google's Boolean default is the word:
which means that, if you
enter query words without modifiers, Google will search for all of your
query words. For example, if you search for:
snowblower Honda "Green Bay"
Google will search for all the words.
If you prefer you can add in boolean words, the word:
for example to
tell google that you want any or all of the words such as the following
snowblower OR snowmobile OR "Green Bay"
Note: Read through the words above carefully and notice where I have placed
This tells google I would like any of the words in my
selection or indeed all of the words.
Note: Make sure you capitalize the word:
Now I would like any of you to try practicing the above using perhaps words
of your own choosing and read over the above carefully as it might not make
much sense at first but it will come to you as you go along.
I hope this information allows you to more easily find the searches you need using your screen readers.