Archive for October, 2008

As an accessibility expert and advocate, I have often wondered,

How hard is it for a person to get access to the latest version of JAWs?

The answer to this question is important, especially when I’m testing the accessibility of UT web offerings. If I happen to have JAWS 10 beta installed, but my student population doesn’t have access to that version yet, I could end up reporting that content is accessible, when in reality, my students might be unable to get to the information.

Recently, I was asked to test and report on the accessibility of iTunes, especially the iTunes U area. In my previous post, I was delighted to report that the iTunes 8 application is delightfully accessible to screenreaders. But, if you look closely, you will notice that I was using JAWS 10 beta. Which brings me back to the question, “How hard is it for my students, who need it, to get access to the latest version of JAWS when they need it?”

My first call was to the UT Services for Students with Disabilities, where I discovered that our assistive technology labs currently have JAWS 9 installed. After talking to the lab manager, I learned that he would easily be able to upgrade to whatever version of JAWS was required. Excellent! Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

But, let’s be honest, while assistive technology labs are nice, they are not open 24/7. So, a bigger question was, “How hard would it be for my students to get an upgrade to their own version of JAWS?” This question led me to the Texas Department of Rehabilitative Services (DARS) which provides transition services for people with disabilities, including adaptive tools like JAWS. I was relieved to learn that students who had already received a full copy of JAWS from DARS would easily be able to get the upgraded version if it was clear that it was needed for them to be successful at UT.

Woot! I can now say, without reservation, the iTunes 8 application including iTunes U, is accessible!

Upon hearing this statement, my accessibility buddies would likely pepper me with the following questions:

  • What about the content of iTunes? Is the content fully accessible? – Notice that I was not testing the content, I was testing the application. Each piece of content (like audio, video) would need to have an appropriate transcript and/or captioining.
  • What about people who use a screenreader other than JAWS, is iTunes accessible to them too? – The answer to that question is up to each screenreader manufacturer. I have confirmed that iTunes 8 is accessible to both JAWS and Window Eyes. In fact, any screenreader based on MSAA (Microsoft Active Accessibility) is capable of working with iTunes 8. Do note, that the screenreader manufacturer may need to update their application.
  • What about other disabilities? Is the iTunes 8 application accessible for people who are deaf, mobility impaired or have cognitive disabilities? – When testing for accessibility, I follow the US Federal 508 Standard, with an eye for WCAG 2.0’s principles of Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust (POUR). And indeed, the iTunes 8 application meets these requirements. Remember, I’m talking about the application, not the content. For the content to be accessible, each entity that contributes content will have to ensure that they have included the necessary captions and transcripts.

My hat is off to Apple. They have done an outstanding job of proactively working with assistive technology vendors and building an application that is accessible to everyone. Thank you Apple.

I’ll admit, when it comes to accessibility technology advances, I believe it when I experience it on my very own computer. So, while the news about iTunes 8 being fully accessible to screenreaders made me grin from ear-to-ear, I had to confirm it for myself.

I’m thrilled to say that iTunes 8 and JAWS 10 are working like a charm. I couldn’t find any specific documentation on JAWS 10 keyboard commands for iTunes 8, so I’ve put together this list. I hope you find it helpful too!

Open iTunes

  1. Windows Key (Start Menu)
  2. P (Programs)
  3. Right Arrow (to open programs)
  4. Up Arrow (until you hear iTunes)
  5. Right Arrow (until you hear iTunes)
  6. Enter (to open iTunes)

iTunes Menu Bar

  1. Alt (go to menu bar)
  2. Left and Right Arrows (move across menu bar)
  3. Up and Down Arrows (move up and down in menus)
  4. Enter (select the item you are on)
  5. Esc (leave menu bar)

Listening to Music in iTunes

  1. iTunes (drops you into Sources view iTunes)
  2. Mu (to go to Music)
  3. Up and Down Arrows (go to other things like Podcasts, Audiobooks, Store, Playlists)
  4. Tab (go to search box)
  5. Tab (List box – the list of your music)
  6. Tab (Play button)
  7. Tab (Volume)
  8. Tab (Text List Button)
  9. Tab (Grid Button)
  10. Tab (Coverflow Button)
  11. Tab (New Playlist Button)
  12. Tab (Do Not Shuffle Button)
  13. Tab (No Repeat Button)
  14. Tab (Show Artwork Button)
  15. Tab (Show Genius Sidebar Button)

Using Search Box to Find and Listen to Music

  1. Type your search term in the Search/Edit box
  2. Tab (to music list)
  3. Down Arrow (to first song)
  4. Enter (to play from beginning)
  5. Space Bar (to pause)
  6. Space Bar (to resume)
  7. Ctrl + Down Arrow (volume down)
  8. Ctrl + Up Arrow (volume up)


  1. Tab (to get to List View)
  2. Left Arrow (to close tree view)
  3. Right Arrow (to open tree view)

Get Latest Podcast Episode

  1. Be on level 1 of a podcast
  2. Applications Key (Context Menu – between Ctrl and Windows key on Right)
  3. Down Arrow (until you find Update)
  4. Enter (to update podcasts)

Subscribe to Podcasts when you know the URL

  1. ALT (go to menu bar)
  2. Right Arrow (to Advanced menu)
  3. Down Arrow (to Subscribe to Podcast)
  4. Enter (dialogue box appears)
  5. Type in the URL (like
  6. Enter (to subscribe to podcast)

iTunes Options

  • ctrl + J

iTunes Settings

  • ctrl + ,

iTunes Radio (just like music but no search box)

  1. Tab (to get to List box)
  2. Down Arrow (to get to different stations)
  3. Right Arrow (to open station genre)
  4. Enter (to start radio station playing)

iTunes Store – Getting a Podcast from iTunesU

  1. ctrl + shift + H (home of itunes store)
  2. Tab (Edit – search box)
  3. Tab (Previous Button)
  4. Tab (Home Button)
  5. Tab (Sign in to my ITunes Store account)
  6. Tab – (you are on the content area of itunes)
  7. NumPad + (Turn on Virtual PC)
  8. Insert + F7 (JAWS Link List)
  9. Down Arrow (until you get to iTunes U, then press Enter to Select)
  10. Insert + F7 (JAWS Link List)
  11. Down Arrow (until you get to Universities, then press Enter to Select
  12. Insert + F7 (JAWS Link List)
  13. Down Arrow (until you get to UC Berkeley, then press Enter to Select
  14. Insert + F7 (JAWS Link List)
  15. Down Arrow until you find Paul Krugman – Professor of Economics
  16. Enter (to go to that class, PolySci 179)
  17. You will hear the title of the podcast read by JAWS
  18. Enter (to start listening to the podcast)


  1. Applications Key (to enter context menu)
  2. Down Arrow (to “Buy or Get Currently Selected Songs Table Item)
  3. Enter (download will begin)
  4. Go to Playlists
  5. Down Arrow (to UC Berkeley)
  6. Tab (edit)
  7. Tab (List Box)
  8. Down Arrow
  9. Enter (to start playlist)

Want to hear a demo of a person with a visual disability really using JAWS 10 and iTunes 8. Check out the JAWS iTunes demo by Chris Gilland from Blind Cool Tech.

Yes, if it weren’t almost 1 in the morning, I’d be doing the happy dance. Instead…I think I’ll go to sleep and dream about doing the happy dance :)