Re: Introducing TextNav add-on - a better way to browse Internet

Sam Bushman

I for one think textnav is great. I think the more ways we can find out what's on a page and the more ways we have to get to the content that matters the better.

A quick question though:
What actually happens when you press alt-shift down or up arrows.

Does it intelligently search for where to start reading? How does it actually find the start of an article etc to read.

Thanks so much for all your work on this.

-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Tony Malykh
Sent: Monday, December 3, 2018 10:23 AM
Subject: Re: [nvda] Introducing TextNav add-on - a better way to browse Internet

It seems to me all your comments imply that I want to replace browse mode keystrokes with TextNav. I emphasize, that TextNav does not replace them, but it should be used in addition to them. I agree some webdsites can be navigated very well with browse mode commands. I agree that power users should learn all the browse mode commands. But:
1. TextNav is great for new websites. Even for power users, you can quickly find out the right content without in-depth study of the layout of this website.
2. TextNav is great for newbies. Instead of pushing students to learn twenty five browse mode commands, just show them a single TextNav keystroke, that can let you browse 90% of content on 90% of web sites.
And then, if they feel like learning more powerful techniques, they can always learn all 25 of browse mode commands. I still remember myself trying to learn all these browse mode command like five years ago when I started to learn screenreadres, and it made me very frustrated - so much stuff to learn. Why don't teach students a single command on the first day to give them a teste of Internet, and then move on to more powerful commands?
3. Older people that I know don't use Internet, because "it's too complicated". I only try to solve this problem.
4. Again, I emphasize, that if you want to figure out the name of the user on the forum, or the author of an article, you can always jus go back to traditional browse mode commands. Again, TextNav is not a replacement and doesn't strive to be one. However, in my daily routine, 90% of the time I don't care about the author. I suspect many NVDA users are like me, but I might be wrong here.
5. Automatic reading mode is stil available as NVDA keystroke. It wouldn't skip over ads though. I might think of having automatic reading mode with TextNav, but that's a suggestion for the future development.


On 12/2/18, Gene <gsasner@...> wrote:
I'll discuss some points:
First, something that I can comment on very briefly. You only tried
the skip blocks of links command on one site and, evidently, on one
article. I said that on some sites, one method works better and on
others, another does. The skip blocks of links command is an important and useful command.

It may be that some people want a very simple way to read articles on
web pages and might have problems with using more complex ways, as you
say. My concern is that many people who can learn other ways that
would give them far more versatility and who wouldn't have trouble
doing so may be disuaded from doing so. So perhaps you should discuss
just what this is for and its limitations when you promote or describe
it. It is a reading add-on that allows you to skip to the start of an
article and skip all interruptions to the article such as groups of
links to related material, advertisements image descriptions, and
perhaps other things I haven't thought of. I think that making this
clear and saying that those who want to use the Internet in a wide
variety of ways not involving mainly reading, such as music sites and
search sites, still need to learn and become profficient in the other
ways of web navigation NVDA offers. I don't object to the add-on but
there are many blind people who, because of a lack of knowledge or
self-confidence, severely limit themselves because they don't realize
or believe they can't do things they can do. I'm not sure just how
you would present the add-on but for a lot of people this would be an
important convenience but you are extremely limited if you don't know
enough about web page navigation to use search sites. Even many of the older people you are discussing, I suspect, would want to know how to do basic searches.

When I read a forum, I want to find a solution but what if I don't
have any idea which might be more likely to work or come from a more
knowledgeable user? Being more knowledgeable doesn't necessarily mean
the information is better but I consider it to be information to be
aware of, whether someone is a high ranking member of a list, an
employee of Microsoft or some other relevant company or organization,
and other information, if available that may help me assess his
reliability. None of this is heard in the current way the add-on works.

and there are lots of other kinds of forums. Some people like to hang
out on political forums. they might well want to know who is writing
so they can see if the person is worth reading and either skipping,
skimming, or paying close attention to posts of certain authors.
there are an enormous number of forums. As I said, I don't know if
the add-on can have some sort of forums mode. I don't have the
technical knowledge to know.

also, you didn't respond to what I said about having an automatic
reading mode. This is an important feature. Many people may use the
add-on to find the beginning of an article but may not continue to use
it to read the article because they don't want to issue a command
every few sentences while reading. If there were an automatic read
command, this would allow people to read as they would when using the
speak to end command. But the add-on would skip any extraneous
material and read the entire article without interruption or the need to repeatedly issue the read command. .

And while this isn't a forum, consider something like the op-ed pages
of a newspaper. A bit of information may be provided about guest
columnists that may be useful to readers. If someone works at a
conservative think tank, his views may be very different than someone who works for a liberal one.
If the person works for a specific company, I want to know that. That
puts me on guard that his views may be defending the company for which he works.
If such information is routinely stripped by the add-on, that is important.

----- Original Message -----

From: Tony Malykh
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2018 10:56 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] Introducing TextNav add-on - a better way to
browse Internet

Hi Gene,
Thank you for your feedback, I think these are very reasonable
questions you are raising.
1. I didn't claim that TextNav should replace the traditional way of
browsing internet. It should rather augment it, be an addition to the
standard navigation commands.
2. I see a lot of older blind people, for whom using computer is a
burden. You can claim they should still learn the proper way. Or you
can let them use the simpler way and let them enjoy what they can
enjoy with TextNav. Some of them might never be able to learn the
proper way - when you're 80 your brain doesn't work as well as when
you're 20. It is a question of simpler tools versus more powerful
tools. When cars with automatic transmission just appeared people were
claiming they are bad because the drivers will never learn to use the
clutch. Or when Windows appeared, some were claiming that it makes
people stupid, because they never learn the command-line way of unix.
Think of TextNav as a car with automatic transmission. And if you want
to learn more powerful ways to navigate web pages, NVDA browse mode
commands are always there.
3. I agree I might have slightly exaggerated about 13x speedup. But
when I use TextNav myself, I can browse the web many times faster.
4. I never knew of the N command in browse mode. I just tried it on
one web page and it seems to skip over the first paragraph of the
article. So you would have to press it a few times, try to figure out
if you are inside the article, and then go back up until you find the
beginning. All that compared to a single keystroke of TextNav.
5. Crackling sound can be turned off or made quieter in the settings.
6. Often times I just want to read the article. I don't want to read
the name of the author, date of publication, read the description of
the image. Sometimes the article is interesting, and I might want to
find the name of the author. Again, I can always do it with the
standard browse mode command. But Most of the times I don't care. By
skipping over these fields, you save a few seconds every time, but
this accumulates over the day into a much more efficient browsing
experience. Time will show how many NVDA users are like me not
interested in the name of the author.
7. Same thing on the forum. I come to forums to solve my problems,
like in my example, the problem with bluetooth headphones. I don't
care whatsoever what's the nickname of the guy who asked the question,
and I care much less who answered it.

Best regards

On 12/2/18, Gene <gsasner@...> wrote:
I have some comments on your demo for TextNav. First, it isn't a
substitute for learning the layout and structures of web pages. If
you use it before you know these things, you may not learn to deal
with other than straight reading situations well.

Your claim that TextNav is thirteen times more efficient when reading
the page you used is not correct. it is thirteen times more
efficient if you don't know how to work with internet pages for
reading something like an article well, but you used a very inefficient method for your comparison.
You didn't start at the top of the page and use the skip blocks of
links command, the letter n. That gets you much much closer to the
article text because it skips most of the material on this page
before the article starts. On some pages, move by heading works
better. On some, move by skip nnavigation works bettter. on some,
move by heading, then using skip navigation links works better. On
some, the find command works better.
may not find an efficient way to work with a page until you experiment.
Once you do, you can use other article pages on that site the same way.
I want to be clear. I am not saying that the add-on isn't very
useful in skipping to the first sentence of an article. But you
don't hear the author, you may not hear introductory material you
might want to hear, and, if the article is more than two or three
paragraphs, it would be exceedingly tedious to issue the move to next
paragraph command repeatedly. For a somewhat long news article or a
somewhat long magazine article, I would imagine you might have to
issue the command twenty or thirty or forty or more times. The
add-on needs an automated mode for straight reading uninterruptedly.

And finally, your forum example demonstrates a real deficiency in the
add-on. It starts reading the text of the first post and skips all
information about who wrote it or how old it is or any other
information that might be of interest such as what rating the person
has for reliability or what his credentials are. Also, as you
continue to read and even if you know when a second post is beginning
to be read, you don't know who it is from. You can't be sure all the
time, I would think, who is commenting on comments for the first time
or who is making comments after making other comments. If the add-on
is going to really be useful in such an environment, it needs to do
more than just skip through entries by paragraph and not give you any
information such as what I described. I don't know if this can be
done. I don't know if a forums mode can be developed. That is f o r
u m, as discussion forum, not to be confused with what some people
call forms mode in some browsers for filling out forms.

In short, the add-on has potential and I am not attempting to
discourage its further development. Critics mmay be your best
friends in such situations.
But I think the add-on needs more work and refinement.

and one last thing I forgot to mention earlier:
The crackling sound should be able to be turned on and off. If I'm
reading, I don't necessarily want to hear extraneous sounds that
notify me of something when I am reading an article and am not
interested in knowing such other information.

----- Original Message -----

From: Tony Malykh
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2018 6:25 PM
Subject: [nvda] Introducing TextNav add-on - a better way to browse

Hello NVDA users

Today I am introducing TextNav add-on for NVDA - a better way to
browse Internet for the blind!

Have you ever felt that browsing new pages is frustrating when you
couldn't find the content on the page? Try TextNav - it will find the
right content for you in a single keystroke! TextNav is easy to use.
Listen to a quick demo (7minutes long audio):

Here is the link to download TextNav:

TextNav on github:

TextNav keystrokes:
* Alt+Shift+Down: Find next paragraph with text.
* Alt+Shift+Up: Find previous paragraph with text.

I hope you enjoy it! Any suggestions are welcome!

Tony Malykh

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