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Accessibilities Update 05.17.07 – JAWS Cursor Modes Navigation Tests


Did a little testing today on general navigation through a sample application using the various JAWS Cursor Modes. This was necessary to get to the bottom of several inconsistencies when trying to navigate through a simple application. Testing was done using the following technologies:

  • JAWS 6.2
  • JAWS 8.0
  • Flex 2.0.1 simple testing application
  • IE

Due to yet another inconsistency with what the JAWS documentation calls them and how JAWS reads them when activated, I will be referencing the various cursor modes by how you turn them on and how JAWS reads them. The following three cursor modes are:

  • + (JAWS reads ‘virtual PC cursor’, is the default mode when JAWS activates)
  • – (JAWS reads ‘JAWS cursor’)
  • – – (JAWS reads ‘invisible cursor’)

The following test was done to determine three things:

  • Does tab navigation work as expected? No tab indices were set on any components and as such, were relying on the flat default layering of tab indices.
  • Do mouse events (MouseEvent.CLICK in this test) work as expected?
  • Do complex interactive components (TextInput in this test) work as expected?

Here are a few notes to keep in mind. All testing was done….:

  • without Accessibility code in the flex app. Testing was not interested in read values of particular data objects. Testing was done to determine if and how JAWS takes over tab navigation.
  • without JAWS scripts for flex.
  • using the default swf/html embedding. Future tests will target swf object as it is now the de facto standard for embedding swf content on an html page.
  • using the additional compiler argument “-accessible”.
  • enabling “Generate accessible swf fil” in the Flex compiler options.


JAWS 6.2
mode tabs clicks txt
(+)         x         √         √ (after hitting enter)
(-)         √         x         x
(- -)      √         x         x

JAWS 8.0
mode tabs clicks txt
(+)         √         √         √ (after hitting enter)
(-)         √         √         √
(- -)      √         √         √

For obvious reasons, it is recommended to use JAWS 8 to easily navigate through a flex application. Tab navigation in JAWS 6.2 would only navigate the expected tab order of the application when in the later two modes. In + mode, it would scan read from left to right, top to bottom, regardless of the default tab indices.

The source files for the test can be found in my Box.net widget over to the right or you can get them here =>


2 thoughts on “Accessibilities Update 05.17.07 – JAWS Cursor Modes Navigation Tests

  1. Time to check out version 8 then. I know that version 6 basically is crap.

  2. The unfortunate thing about this situation is that UPGRADES for JAWS users can be extremely costly for a product that has limited compatibility with various programs and OSs.
    My recommendation would be to make a rather lengthy ACCESSIBLE disclaimer explaining the procedures for proper navigation and component usage for those users of JAWS 6.

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