The Simplicity of Using Tablets - The Power of JAWS 15

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Introduction

Combining the power of JAWS 15 with the flexibility and variety of today's Windows 8 tablet computers opens a whole new world of possibilities for computer users who are visually impaired. Some of the benefits of tablet computers include the following:

JAWS is compatible with Windows 8 Standard or Professional

Tablets running the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system will typically either use Windows RT or Windows Standard/Professional. It is important when selecting a tablet to choose one running the full version of Windows 8 Standard or Professional. Windows RT is designed for smaller tablets with less processing power and cannot run traditional desktop programs like Microsoft Office. Therefore, JAWS cannot be installed in the Windows RT environment.

Tablets have a variety of keyboard options

When selecting a tablet, it is important to choose one with a QWERTY style keyboard. Even though JAWS 15 now supports touch screen gestures, the most efficient way to enter information and navigate using JAWS is with a keyboard. The following are some of the most common keyboard options for current Windows 8 tablets.

JAWS 15 works with touch screens!

One of the new features of JAWS 15 (scheduled for release in Fall of 2013) is that it now supports the use of gesture based commands on Windows 8 touch screen devices. Gestures are finger movements performed on the surface of a touch screen that trigger an action to take place. For example, tapping an icon on the screen may activate it similar to clicking on it with a mouse or activating it with the keyboard. Other examples include moving a finger or combination of fingers across the screen to perform tasks such as scrolling through a menu or list of items. Typing text may be accomplished via an attached or wireless keyboard or via an onscreen virtual keyboard.

Note that at this time, JAWS 15 does not support the use of the onscreen virtual keyboard.

JAWS 15 will support an extensive list of gestures to allow the user to do things like:

Conclusion

A Windows 8 based tablet when combined with JAWS is an extremely powerful yet portable tool for anyone who is on-the-go or looking for a flexible computing solution. It is important when deciding on which device is right to consider the different designs and options. It may be beneficial to take a trip to a computer or electronics store in order to physically hold and examine several types of tablets to find out which one you prefer. The most important thing is to make sure it runs a full version of Windows 8 and not Windows 8 RT. Be sure to examine different styles of keyboards and consider connectivity issues such as how many USB ports are available. For example, if you prefer to use USB headphones and will also use other USB devices such as the Pearl® camera with OpenBook, you will need to make sure the tablet has at least two USB slots. If you will be connecting the tablet to an Ethernet cable network you will need to make sure it has an Ethernet port or consider purchasing a USB to Ethernet adapter. Also keep in mind that most tablets do not have a built-in CD/DVD ROM drive but you can get an external USB drive instead. Finally, in order to take advantage of the entire array of JAWS gestures that will be available on the touch screen, you must have a device that supports at least five touch points. Researching these factors ahead of time will insure you get the most powerful yet portable solution.

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