Below my signature, I'm sending my ribbons tutorial. When discussions of this kind come up, I often send it because people may not know about it and I think an important reason people don't like ribbons and have considerable problems using them is because they didn't get proper training on them, if any.
I don't know if it was used in this way to any extent but aside from being a convenience feature, and it can be argued whether it should be in a screen-reader or not as such, but the original idea was that it could be used as a basis for other things such as to be adapted for use in an employment situations.
there are all sorts of convenience programs and utilities such as radio station programs. Their purpose is not to avoid the use of search engines but to provide information in a convenient manner.
I don't object to such programs but I do object to blind people being taught them before they have properly mastered basic skills like search engines. Learning such programs first removes some motivation to use search engines. It also reduces motivation to develop skills working with different kinds of web sites. Someone might learn to look at a sports site and use table reading commands. Teaching Research it may remove an important motivation to learn this skill.
Teaching it after the person has learned the skill is fine if the person has learned it well.
I'll provide a brief tutorial based on what I wrote years ago of how to work with ribbons.
I've added a little to it here.
Ribbons are ribbons wherever you find them. This tutorial teaches you how to move through them and see or skip what you want. certain ways of movement may cause you to miss things and not have any idea you are.
First, I'll discuss a structure found in later versions of Windows that you need to know about-- the split button.
One thing you will see as you look around ribbons and in other places in Windows are split buttons. A split button often allows you to see more options than just the default action. Let's take an example.
Let's say you come across a split button that says shut down Windows. If you press enter on that button, Windows will shut down. That is the default action. Split buttons often show more options if you either right arrow while on the button or down arrow. As an example, if you are on the shut down split button, you can right arrow and a list of options will open. the items in the list include sleep, hibernate, restart, and others. You up or down arrow through the list or use the short cut commands you hear announced as you move through the list. the letter shortcuts often take actions without pressing enter so be careful when using them, just as you are in menus.
So, let's review. You find a split button that says shut down. If you press enter, the computer will shut down. If you right arrow, other options may be displayed. Or if you down arrow, other options may be displayed. A split button won't work with both methods. One method, either right arrowing or down arrowing will do so if it can be done with the button. Try both methods if you don't know which one might work. If you are on a tool bar which extends across the screen from left to right, down arrowing will open additional options. If the strucgture moves up and down on the screen, right arrowing will open more options. That's why if one doesn't work, try the other. If you open the options a split button offers and don't want to work with them, arrow in the opposite direction to move out of them. For example, if you right arrowed to open more options, left arrow.
Some split buttons don't do anything when you right arrow or down arrow. In that case, open them with alt down arrow. Then tab through the additional options. I've almost never worked in this way with split buttons but if you want to close a split button, try alt up arrow if you've used alt down arrow to open it.
Now, to ribbons themselves.
Regarding ribbons, much of the complaining about them is not warranted if you understand how they work and how to use short cut commands effectively and efficiently. and I would strongly recommend against using the JAWS virtual menus, no matter what the JAWS training material says about ribbons being difficult to use. the training material is just plain wrong and using virtual menus, you will be unnecessarily dependent on one screen-reader. There are other disadvantages to using them which I won't go into here. I will say regarding the dependence on one screen-reader iswsue that tutorials for programs that use ribbons done for blind people generally don't use the JAWS virtual ribbons and you will be greatly limiting yourself in learning such programs with tutorials if you use the JAWS virtual ribbons. The JAWS virtual ribbons are off by default so you needn't do anything if you haven't turned them on.
Try looking at ribbons and doing what is described below in wordpad. Everyone with Windows 7 and higher has the ribbon version of Wordpad on their machine.
The essence of working with ribbons is this:
Press alt to move to the upper ribbon.
You will probably be on an item that says home tab. Items on the upper ribbon are announced as tabs such as home tab, view tab, etc.
To see what ribbons are available, right or left arrow repeatedly to move through the ribbons. Move in one
direction to move through all of them, just as you would to move through all the menus.
For this demonstration, just so we are all doing the same thing, move with the right arrow. When you get back to where you started, you can keep right arrowing to move through the items again, if you wish. You can move through all the items as many times as you want. Or you can move with the left arrow whenever you want to move in the opposite direction.
Stop on view. Then start tabbing. You will move through all items in what is called the lower ribbon that are in the view ribbon.
In other words you tab to see the items in a ribbon once you move to it. Tab moves you forward through the items, shift tab moves you backword.
So tab and shift tab are used instead of up and down arrow.
Many items in the lower ribbon are buttons. Use either the space bar or enter to activate the button. You may find a button that opens a menu and if you press enter or the space bar, you will then be in a menu.
Each time you move to an item, you will hear the short cut command to work with that item.
But JAWS has a bug and you often won't. To hear the short cut, use the command JAWS key tab. If you are using the default JAWS key, it is either insert.
Try tabbing to an item in a Wordpad ribbon and using the command insert tab. You will hear some extraneous information. The last thing you will hear is the short cut sequence. You can repeat the information by repeating the command as often as you want.
Let's look at an item which is usually called the application menu. Return to the main program window in wordpad by closing the ribbons. You can either press escape repeatedly, if necessary, or you can press alt once. Now, open the ribbons again with alt.
Start right arrowing until you get to the application menu.
You will hear application menu and then something like button drop down grid. Never mind drop down grid. It's a description you don't have to worry about. The important things are that you are on a button and at the application menu. Press enter or the space bar to activate the button. Activating the button opens the menu. Start down arrowing. you will hear the item you are on and the short cut information to open or cause that item to take an action. This iss the same behavior as in any standard menu.
I told you one of the long ways to open the menu. The short cut way is alt f. When you open the menu and move through it, you will hear all the letters announced. for example, if you down arrow to save as, you will hear alt f a. that means that, when you are in the main program window, you open the menu with alt f, then type a. Alt f opens the menu and a then opens save as. In other words, alt f was chosen as the short cut way to open the single menu in ribbon programs because it allowed the preservation of commands people have used for decades, such as alt f, a, for save as.
Ribbon programs have one menu and you should look through it. Many important and common commands and interfaces such as options may be there. By options, I mean the kind of options interface you used to find in the tools menu.
Now the we have seen the menu, let's look at the ribbons structure some more.
To review, and add more information, as you have seen, you can move to the ribbon interface with alt. Then right and left arrow, just as you would move from menu to menu.
You can also move to a ribbon using alt and a letter. So, alt h takes you to the home ribbon. Alt v takes you to the view ribbon, etc. Once you are on the ribbon you want to work with, tab to move forward through the items in a ribbon. Shift tab to move back through the items. So tab and shift tab are used instead of up and down arrow.
Ribbons are divided into categories which you will hear announced as you tab. for example, in an e-mail program, a ribbon may have a category named respond. You may hear this announced as respond tool bar. As you tab, you will hear commands such as reply and forward in the respond category. When you hear a category announced, don't tab until you hear everything spoken. You will miss the first command in the category if you do. I'm talking about working with an unfamiliar ribbon.
there are often many more commands and items in a ribbon than in a menu. So memorize command sequences for items you know you will use regularly.
As I said, there are different categories in ribbons to help organize items. You can quickly jump from category to category in a ribbon to help you see if there is a category you want to look through.
Move to a ribbon in Wordpad. For example, alt h for hhome or alt v for view.
Then repeatedly issue the command control right arrow to move forward from category to category and control left arrow to move back. When you get to a category you want to hear the items in, start tabbing. Of course, you can shift tab to move back.
You can switch between moving by groups and individual items as often as you want. You can move to a group, look through the items, then continue to move by group, switching to individual items again when you find a group you want to move through by individual items.
Open a ribbon in Wordpad and tab through it to see how it is organized by moving through it.
Then use control right arrow to move by category and tab to see what is in a category.
Commands such as control o, control n, control s, control r, etc. are mostly retained in programs
that use ribbons, though you won't hear them announced. If you don't already know them, you'll have to find them in ways such as by looking at a list of keyboard commands for the program. Such lists are often available in the help for the program. If you already know the commands from having used an older version of the program, most or perhaps even all of the commands you know will work.