Layers and NVDA

Cearbhall O'Meadhra

Hi all you experts!


I have only heard of layers yesterday, would you believe?


I have been involved in programming since DOS days and have HTML C++ and Cobol and basic under my belt but I have not been active in programming for the pat 20 years . perhaps that would excuse me?


Can you point me to a good introduction to the concept of “Layers” in modern programs? My discovery of all this came from a question at a recent tech discussion asking “What are Layered keys?” As you can guess, I had no idea what this meant and started reading.


So far, I have the impression that “layering” allows an application to access some other program or application, like Photo shop or a browser, to capture data while the user keeps the application open and, in fact, does not need to know that an outside application has been called. I assume that NVDA’s OCR is such a case in which NVDA can launch its OCR function without closing the base application(a new term which, as you can see, I am already using like  a pro!). This allows the OCR function to hook any other resources that are on the computer or network that enable the OCR to take place, even though those same resources have nothing to do with the base application. Have I got that right?


If I have correctly understood the basic idea, I am really pleased. Then comes what does a screen reader do about this situation? Does the screen reader ever let the user know that there is a layered operation going on? Does the user need to know that there is a layered operation? If so, why? Then, what keystrokes apply to the use of the layer? When does the user know to use “Layered” keystrokes rather than “basic” ones?


All the best,




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