Topics

NVDA Settings Documentation


 

Does such exist?

When reviewing the User Guide (at least what I've been able to find) there is very little to nothing regarding a number of NVDA settings, what they do, and how they change interaction with "the real world" things NVDA's working with.

One example is the Maximum Characters per line setting in Browse settings.  I can find absolutely nothing that clearly documents what that setting does or what changing it will do to NVDA's behavior.

I have to presume that there is a document that would go, panel by panel, and setting-by-setting, through these and what they do.  But if such exists, I really don't know where it is.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


 

Hi,

Generally, the newer the setting, it is better documented in the user guide. For example, consider the just mentioned setting in browse mode panel versus touch interaction panel – the former is an old setting, while the latter is a recent section (bonus: I wrote the touch interaction section apart from a bit on toggling touch interaction with a keyboard command). The user guide as currently stands has limitations, including covering only the basic scenarios.

Part of the reason why I produced Welcome to NVDA tutorial series (2013, 2015, 2018) was due to personal frustrations with the NVDA user guide. The biggest frustration is the issue Brian mentioned: lack of real-life scenarios. This is why when you listen to (or watch video) tutorials, you’ll notice more real-life examples being presented, and I believe that’s one of the strengths of NV Access’s own basic training material as well.

One idea I briefly considered was producing the fourth edition of Welcome to NVDA series this year but shelved it, knowing that there are folks who can produce better tutorial sets, along with the fact that NV Access has a basic training material now. But if there is a really strong demand for it, I’ll revisit this idea next year, with a possibility that the fourth edition will be the last Welcome to NVDA set I produce.

Cheers,

Joseph

 

 

From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 9:35 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

 

Does such exist?

When reviewing the User Guide (at least what I've been able to find) there is very little to nothing regarding a number of NVDA settings, what they do, and how they change interaction with "the real world" things NVDA's working with.

One example is the Maximum Characters per line setting in Browse settings.  I can find absolutely nothing that clearly documents what that setting does or what changing it will do to NVDA's behavior.

I have to presume that there is a document that would go, panel by panel, and setting-by-setting, through these and what they do.  But if such exists, I really don't know where it is.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


 

Joseph,

           While I applaud your efforts, and tutorials are invaluable, I wasn't even going that far.  I'm talking basic documentation, where each item in a panel/pane/settings group in a given pane are briefly documented.  There are myriad NVDA settings that, if their actual function is not directly obvious, which is the case, for example, with most checkboxes, then they're a black hole.

            Even I will admit that for all software it is a limited number of end users who refer to this sort of thing.  That being said, some do, and it serves as a very important basis for new developers to develop depth of knowledge of "what's in there and what it's for."

             I was just commenting to someone for whom I've done custom VBA scripting for Outlook that I am eternally grateful to myself for having developed the habit of rigorously commenting my code, at a bare minimum, as even I would have no idea what some of what I've written actually does when looking at it much later.  Complex stuff doesn't remain in "off the top of my head" mode (for most "mes") as time moves on.  That's one of the reasons that basic documentation is so important.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


 

Hi,

Agreed (that’s one of the reasons why I comment a lot in my add-on source code).

One holiday wish I have (possibly a long-term wish) is to help folks get started on revamping the NVDA community documentation. At least this can include add-on user guides, but I foresee a day where the screen reader user guide would not escape this rewrite in hopes of making it more relevant for users. I would go so far as ask NVDA code contributors to add extensive documentation in source code itself – it is now possible to do it easily with help from a module called Sphinx, a source code based documentation generator. There are major issues to consider, however:

  1. Who is the target audience: thinking about this changes the game, as it will dictate tone, style, word usage, and organization of the document and supplemental materials.
  2. Mindset of code contributors: are we just software developers or technical authors? Some people would argue that developers should focus on programming and testing, leaving the task of documenting what developers wrote to technical authors, and this separation of concerns may foster better communication amongst team members. On the other hand, by forcing developers to become technical authors, they can make crucial decisions about the user-visible aspects of a given product a bit early.
  3. How can we show we accept diversity in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors: although the community documentation was written by NV Access people at first, it is increasingly written by people from diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors (although I did receive training on technical communication and software development, I’m not a native English speaker). This is more so for parts that are written by people who may have different interpretation about a UI message or concepts, more so if the author’s native language is not English (the reverse is true for translators as they need to grasp concepts written in English in their native languages).

 

My responses to the above questions are:

  1. Who is the target audience: it varies. For NVDA user guide, it is users with differing skill levels. For add-on guides, they target end users. For this reason, whenever I edit the NVDA user guide or add-on guides, I think about what users expect and NVDA’s response. This changes if we’re dealing with a document meant for developers (such as add-on internals and such).
  2. Mindset of code contributors: I believe that, as much as programming skills is important, willingness to communicate with audiences (users, other contributors, industry experts, etc.) is also important. One way to practice both is thinking and writing to and about users, therefore I tend to fall into a bit of the latter category from above: programming is, in one way or another, writing. Python is just one of the more specialized languages used to communicate with another entity (the machine), and if one can teach a computer to do something (along with fixing mistakes), it would be possible to train developers to respect users more by writing good documentation (of course someone may need to look at the documentation for style and such). My philosophy partly stems from my experiences as a former computer science major at a college I attended (different from the one I’m about to graduate from): my first computer science professor stressed the importance of source code comments and documentation, and I still practice this lesson today, which fuels my overall frustration with the current state of NVDA user guide and source code documentation in general. I think one exercise code contributors can do before submitting anything to GitHub (specifically, pull; requests) is writing an early user facing documentation, because doing so helps you improve your writing skills and think carefully about the impact of your changes when users meet them (I sometimes find myself struggling for minutes to hours over UI messages and documentation for this reason; I know what my code will do, but I hit a roadblock when explaining what I’ve done to would-be users before actually writing code).
  3. How can we show we are a group of people coming from diverse backgrounds: I think this goal was somewhat achieved when we look at recent NVDA work – many new features and bug fixes included in NVDA 2020.3 were written by someone other than an NV Access staff member, from people living in different countries and speaking many languages. But I know that we can improve on that somehow.

 

Another wish I have, mostly for Quentin: can we develop some sort of a training program for would-be contributors wishing to improve the overall NVDA community documentation, including the user guide? It may include basics on technical writing, tone and style, audience analysis, exercises where coding and documentation should be done together, and documentation production in a variety of formats (including online media). I think this may help us dive deeper into user guide issues being brought up, including the guide being “too thick” for newbies (in terms of understanding, lack of solid examples, and friendliness), especially for preferences chapter.

Cheers,

Joseph

 

 

 

From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:56 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

 

Joseph,

           While I applaud your efforts, and tutorials are invaluable, I wasn't even going that far.  I'm talking basic documentation, where each item in a panel/pane/settings group in a given pane are briefly documented.  There are myriad NVDA settings that, if their actual function is not directly obvious, which is the case, for example, with most checkboxes, then they're a black hole.

            Even I will admit that for all software it is a limited number of end users who refer to this sort of thing.  That being said, some do, and it serves as a very important basis for new developers to develop depth of knowledge of "what's in there and what it's for."

             I was just commenting to someone for whom I've done custom VBA scripting for Outlook that I am eternally grateful to myself for having developed the habit of rigorously commenting my code, at a bare minimum, as even I would have no idea what some of what I've written actually does when looking at it much later.  Complex stuff doesn't remain in "off the top of my head" mode (for most "mes") as time moves on.  That's one of the reasons that basic documentation is so important.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


 

Joseph,

           First, in reference to your final comment, there are different levels of documentation for end users, too.  All user guides I've ever seen, and I say this as a tech geek, are "too thick/too information dense" for newbies, but they're really not meant as getting started guides, either.  Hence the rise of the getting started guide, which is really focused on just that, as well as, oftentimes, an intermediate guide that hacks out of the full user guide the things that most users use most of the time, and tweaking as needed.  There is no way that I've ever seen that one can create documentation that is really useful for newbies, versus average somewhat sophisticated users, versus those who are willing and able to do "deep dives under the hood."

             As to the mindset of code contributors, and I speak from general experience of many years in software development, you are going to have to be able to discuss your software with someone who knows next to nothing about how it works and do so such that they can understand what you're saying.  Coders take specifications (or often they do) which are minimum requirements, and often more, and translate those into working code.  You very often have to go back and forth with the specification writers, who have back and forth with end users requesting something, and often both on the front end, and then after the code is written, if you're not writing the documentation yourself, with the technical writers who are tasked with producing same. It is, and always has been, a myth that coders can live in a coding-only bubble and not have to interact with those outside that bubble about anything.  And some of the biggest problems in the industry as a whole are the direct result of trying to create that artificial bubble that have failed, and repeatedly, before most organizations clue in to the concept that computer people do have to have people skills and be willing to use them.

             A spectacular coder who cannot communicate about what they're producing to others is worth less, in any organization I've been in, than a good coder who can communicate with ease with all other stakeholders about what they're producing.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


Robert Doc Wright godfearer
 


Where I need direction on what I need to study in order to be a tech writer for NVDA. I believe that once I understand something I can teach it to anyone. My stumbling block is that I have had some programming classes but that was twenty years ago. I taught myself basic web design from a book. What do I need to know to be of help where the users guide is concerned?
******
Jesus says, follow me and I'll help you through the rough spots.
the world says, hey come with me. My way is broad and easy. So what if you get crap on your shoes. You can always wash it off, can't you!
 

Family times where there is fun for every ear!
http://stream.wrighthere.net:8000/stream.mp3
 
Or ask your A device to play Family times on tuneIn
You can also find us on your mobile device install OoTunes and search for Family times

----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph Lee
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:45 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

Hi,

Agreed (that’s one of the reasons why I comment a lot in my add-on source code).

One holiday wish I have (possibly a long-term wish) is to help folks get started on revamping the NVDA community documentation. At least this can include add-on user guides, but I foresee a day where the screen reader user guide would not escape this rewrite in hopes of making it more relevant for users. I would go so far as ask NVDA code contributors to add extensive documentation in source code itself – it is now possible to do it easily with help from a module called Sphinx, a source code based documentation generator. There are major issues to consider, however:

  1. Who is the target audience: thinking about this changes the game, as it will dictate tone, style, word usage, and organization of the document and supplemental materials.
  2. Mindset of code contributors: are we just software developers or technical authors? Some people would argue that developers should focus on programming and testing, leaving the task of documenting what developers wrote to technical authors, and this separation of concerns may foster better communication amongst team members. On the other hand, by forcing developers to become technical authors, they can make crucial decisions about the user-visible aspects of a given product a bit early.
  3. How can we show we accept diversity in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors: although the community documentation was written by NV Access people at first, it is increasingly written by people from diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors (although I did receive training on technical communication and software development, I’m not a native English speaker). This is more so for parts that are written by people who may have different interpretation about a UI message or concepts, more so if the author’s native language is not English (the reverse is true for translators as they need to grasp concepts written in English in their native languages).

 

My responses to the above questions are:

  1. Who is the target audience: it varies. For NVDA user guide, it is users with differing skill levels. For add-on guides, they target end users. For this reason, whenever I edit the NVDA user guide or add-on guides, I think about what users expect and NVDA’s response. This changes if we’re dealing with a document meant for developers (such as add-on internals and such).
  2. Mindset of code contributors: I believe that, as much as programming skills is important, willingness to communicate with audiences (users, other contributors, industry experts, etc.) is also important. One way to practice both is thinking and writing to and about users, therefore I tend to fall into a bit of the latter category from above: programming is, in one way or another, writing. Python is just one of the more specialized languages used to communicate with another entity (the machine), and if one can teach a computer to do something (along with fixing mistakes), it would be possible to train developers to respect users more by writing good documentation (of course someone may need to look at the documentation for style and such). My philosophy partly stems from my experiences as a former computer science major at a college I attended (different from the one I’m about to graduate from): my first computer science professor stressed the importance of source code comments and documentation, and I still practice this lesson today, which fuels my overall frustration with the current state of NVDA user guide and source code documentation in general. I think one exercise code contributors can do before submitting anything to GitHub (specifically, pull; requests) is writing an early user facing documentation, because doing so helps you improve your writing skills and think carefully about the impact of your changes when users meet them (I sometimes find myself struggling for minutes to hours over UI messages and documentation for this reason; I know what my code will do, but I hit a roadblock when explaining what I’ve done to would-be users before actually writing code).
  3. How can we show we are a group of people coming from diverse backgrounds: I think this goal was somewhat achieved when we look at recent NVDA work – many new features and bug fixes included in NVDA 2020.3 were written by someone other than an NV Access staff member, from people living in different countries and speaking many languages. But I know that we can improve on that somehow.

 

Another wish I have, mostly for Quentin: can we develop some sort of a training program for would-be contributors wishing to improve the overall NVDA community documentation, including the user guide? It may include basics on technical writing, tone and style, audience analysis, exercises where coding and documentation should be done together, and documentation production in a variety of formats (including online media). I think this may help us dive deeper into user guide issues being brought up, including the guide being “too thick” for newbies (in terms of understanding, lack of solid examples, and friendliness), especially for preferences chapter.

Cheers,

Joseph

 

 

 

From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:56 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

 

Joseph,

           While I applaud your efforts, and tutorials are invaluable, I wasn't even going that far.  I'm talking basic documentation, where each item in a panel/pane/settings group in a given pane are briefly documented.  There are myriad NVDA settings that, if their actual function is not directly obvious, which is the case, for example, with most checkboxes, then they're a black hole.

            Even I will admit that for all software it is a limited number of end users who refer to this sort of thing.  That being said, some do, and it serves as a very important basis for new developers to develop depth of knowledge of "what's in there and what it's for."

             I was just commenting to someone for whom I've done custom VBA scripting for Outlook that I am eternally grateful to myself for having developed the habit of rigorously commenting my code, at a bare minimum, as even I would have no idea what some of what I've written actually does when looking at it much later.  Complex stuff doesn't remain in "off the top of my head" mode (for most "mes") as time moves on.  That's one of the reasons that basic documentation is so important.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


Quentin Christensen
 

Hi everyone,

Lots of good points here.  So firstly, from a very simplistic view - if there are any settings which experienced people such as yourselves can't get an explanation of from the User Guide, then that's definitely something we should address.  Please either let me know (or file a GitHub issue) as you find examples.

Re the user guide being too thick and heavy for new users to get start with - that's largely because that's not who it is really aimed at.  For a lot of users, the Basic Training for NVDA would be the best place to start.  There is potentially a gap for a short "quick start" guide, and I'd be happy to explore that further with anyone who has ideas on the subject.

Joseph, re some sort of training for new contributors - that too is a great idea, and I'd be happy to work further with you on it.

I've made a note to follow all of this up (since it's into the evening here and I'm trying to figure out book week costumes while getting the kids to bed).

On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:44 AM Robert Doc Wright godfearer <godfearer@...> wrote:
Where I need direction on what I need to study in order to be a tech writer for NVDA. I believe that once I understand something I can teach it to anyone. My stumbling block is that I have had some programming classes but that was twenty years ago. I taught myself basic web design from a book. What do I need to know to be of help where the users guide is concerned?
******
Jesus says, follow me and I'll help you through the rough spots.
the world says, hey come with me. My way is broad and easy. So what if you get crap on your shoes. You can always wash it off, can't you!
 

Family times where there is fun for every ear!
http://stream.wrighthere.net:8000/stream.mp3
 
Or ask your A device to play Family times on tuneIn
You can also find us on your mobile device install OoTunes and search for Family times
----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph Lee
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:45 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

Hi,

Agreed (that’s one of the reasons why I comment a lot in my add-on source code).

One holiday wish I have (possibly a long-term wish) is to help folks get started on revamping the NVDA community documentation. At least this can include add-on user guides, but I foresee a day where the screen reader user guide would not escape this rewrite in hopes of making it more relevant for users. I would go so far as ask NVDA code contributors to add extensive documentation in source code itself – it is now possible to do it easily with help from a module called Sphinx, a source code based documentation generator. There are major issues to consider, however:

  1. Who is the target audience: thinking about this changes the game, as it will dictate tone, style, word usage, and organization of the document and supplemental materials.
  2. Mindset of code contributors: are we just software developers or technical authors? Some people would argue that developers should focus on programming and testing, leaving the task of documenting what developers wrote to technical authors, and this separation of concerns may foster better communication amongst team members. On the other hand, by forcing developers to become technical authors, they can make crucial decisions about the user-visible aspects of a given product a bit early.
  3. How can we show we accept diversity in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors: although the community documentation was written by NV Access people at first, it is increasingly written by people from diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors (although I did receive training on technical communication and software development, I’m not a native English speaker). This is more so for parts that are written by people who may have different interpretation about a UI message or concepts, more so if the author’s native language is not English (the reverse is true for translators as they need to grasp concepts written in English in their native languages).

 

My responses to the above questions are:

  1. Who is the target audience: it varies. For NVDA user guide, it is users with differing skill levels. For add-on guides, they target end users. For this reason, whenever I edit the NVDA user guide or add-on guides, I think about what users expect and NVDA’s response. This changes if we’re dealing with a document meant for developers (such as add-on internals and such).
  2. Mindset of code contributors: I believe that, as much as programming skills is important, willingness to communicate with audiences (users, other contributors, industry experts, etc.) is also important. One way to practice both is thinking and writing to and about users, therefore I tend to fall into a bit of the latter category from above: programming is, in one way or another, writing. Python is just one of the more specialized languages used to communicate with another entity (the machine), and if one can teach a computer to do something (along with fixing mistakes), it would be possible to train developers to respect users more by writing good documentation (of course someone may need to look at the documentation for style and such). My philosophy partly stems from my experiences as a former computer science major at a college I attended (different from the one I’m about to graduate from): my first computer science professor stressed the importance of source code comments and documentation, and I still practice this lesson today, which fuels my overall frustration with the current state of NVDA user guide and source code documentation in general. I think one exercise code contributors can do before submitting anything to GitHub (specifically, pull; requests) is writing an early user facing documentation, because doing so helps you improve your writing skills and think carefully about the impact of your changes when users meet them (I sometimes find myself struggling for minutes to hours over UI messages and documentation for this reason; I know what my code will do, but I hit a roadblock when explaining what I’ve done to would-be users before actually writing code).
  3. How can we show we are a group of people coming from diverse backgrounds: I think this goal was somewhat achieved when we look at recent NVDA work – many new features and bug fixes included in NVDA 2020.3 were written by someone other than an NV Access staff member, from people living in different countries and speaking many languages. But I know that we can improve on that somehow.

 

Another wish I have, mostly for Quentin: can we develop some sort of a training program for would-be contributors wishing to improve the overall NVDA community documentation, including the user guide? It may include basics on technical writing, tone and style, audience analysis, exercises where coding and documentation should be done together, and documentation production in a variety of formats (including online media). I think this may help us dive deeper into user guide issues being brought up, including the guide being “too thick” for newbies (in terms of understanding, lack of solid examples, and friendliness), especially for preferences chapter.

Cheers,

Joseph

 

 

 

From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:56 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

 

Joseph,

           While I applaud your efforts, and tutorials are invaluable, I wasn't even going that far.  I'm talking basic documentation, where each item in a panel/pane/settings group in a given pane are briefly documented.  There are myriad NVDA settings that, if their actual function is not directly obvious, which is the case, for example, with most checkboxes, then they're a black hole.

            Even I will admit that for all software it is a limited number of end users who refer to this sort of thing.  That being said, some do, and it serves as a very important basis for new developers to develop depth of knowledge of "what's in there and what it's for."

             I was just commenting to someone for whom I've done custom VBA scripting for Outlook that I am eternally grateful to myself for having developed the habit of rigorously commenting my code, at a bare minimum, as even I would have no idea what some of what I've written actually does when looking at it much later.  Complex stuff doesn't remain in "off the top of my head" mode (for most "mes") as time moves on.  That's one of the reasons that basic documentation is so important.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 



--
Quentin Christensen
Training and Support Manager


Gene
 

I haven't looked at the user guide a lot. However, I found yesterday, regarding the line length documentation this:
12.1.14. Browse Mode (NVDA+control+b)
The Browse Mode category in the NVDA Settings dialog is used to configure NVDA's behaviour when you read and navigate complex documents such as web pages. This category contains the following options:
Maximum Number of Characters on One Line
This field sets the maximum length of a line in browse mode (in characters).

That's true but how many people would understand where it might be useful? I found the same feature useful in JAWS years ago becaused when I moved from line to line manually, the lines as displayed were too long to find something conveniently. I wanted lines shorter so I could skim by line much faster and more efficiently.

There are two things that come to mind:
When browse mode is discussed earlier, should the section that shows the settings with explanation be referenced as a further information or see also, or for settings, see or something of the sort? Also, is this section and some other parts of the user guide intended for those who already have an idea of how such settings might be used in general or for a more advanced user who may either understand the information or play around and see what the effect is of settings information that isn't clear.

Manuals, in my experience are usually concise and I think that is one reason tutorials are so much more popular. But the degree of concision may be opened to useful discussion.

Gene

-----Original Message-----
From: Quentin Christensen
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 4:01 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation


Hi everyone,

Lots of good points here. So firstly, from a very simplistic view - if there are any settings which experienced people such as yourselves can't get an explanation of from the User Guide, then that's definitely something we should address. Please either let me know (or file a GitHub issue) as you find examples.

Re the user guide being too thick and heavy for new users to get start with - that's largely because that's not who it is really aimed at. For a lot of users, the Basic Training for NVDA would be the best place to start. There is potentially a gap for a short "quick start" guide, and I'd be happy to explore that further with anyone who has ideas on the subject.

Joseph, re some sort of training for new contributors - that too is a great idea, and I'd be happy to work further with you on it.

I've made a note to follow all of this up (since it's into the evening here and I'm trying to figure out book week costumes while getting the kids to bed).


On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:44 AM Robert Doc Wright godfearer <godfearer@...> wrote:

Where I need direction on what I need to study in order to be a tech writer for NVDA. I believe that once I understand something I can teach it to anyone. My stumbling block is that I have had some programming classes but that was twenty years ago. I taught myself basic web design from a book. What do I need to know to be of help where the users guide is concerned?
******
Jesus says, follow me and I'll help you through the rough spots.
the world says, hey come with me. My way is broad and easy. So what if you get crap on your shoes. You can always wash it off, can't you!


Family times where there is fun for every ear!
http://stream.wrighthere.net:8000/stream.mp3

Or ask your A device to play Family times on tuneIn
You can also find us on your mobile device install OoTunes and search for Family times
----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph Lee
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:45 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation


Hi,

Agreed (that’s one of the reasons why I comment a lot in my add-on source code).

One holiday wish I have (possibly a long-term wish) is to help folks get started on revamping the NVDA community documentation. At least this can include add-on user guides, but I foresee a day where the screen reader user guide would not escape this rewrite in hopes of making it more relevant for users. I would go so far as ask NVDA code contributors to add extensive documentation in source code itself – it is now possible to do it easily with help from a module called Sphinx, a source code based documentation generator. There are major issues to consider, however:

Who is the target audience: thinking about this changes the game, as it will dictate tone, style, word usage, and organization of the document and supplemental materials.
Mindset of code contributors: are we just software developers or technical authors? Some people would argue that developers should focus on programming and testing, leaving the task of documenting what developers wrote to technical authors, and this separation of concerns may foster better communication amongst team members. On the other hand, by forcing developers to become technical authors, they can make crucial decisions about the user-visible aspects of a given product a bit early.
How can we show we accept diversity in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors: although the community documentation was written by NV Access people at first, it is increasingly written by people from diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors (although I did receive training on technical communication and software development, I’m not a native English speaker). This is more so for parts that are written by people who may have different interpretation about a UI message or concepts, more so if the author’s native language is not English (the reverse is true for translators as they need to grasp concepts written in English in their native languages).



My responses to the above questions are:

Who is the target audience: it varies. For NVDA user guide, it is users with differing skill levels. For add-on guides, they target end users. For this reason, whenever I edit the NVDA user guide or add-on guides, I think about what users expect and NVDA’s response. This changes if we’re dealing with a document meant for developers (such as add-on internals and such).
Mindset of code contributors: I believe that, as much as programming skills is important, willingness to communicate with audiences (users, other contributors, industry experts, etc.) is also important. One way to practice both is thinking and writing to and about users, therefore I tend to fall into a bit of the latter category from above: programming is, in one way or another, writing. Python is just one of the more specialized languages used to communicate with another entity (the machine), and if one can teach a computer to do something (along with fixing mistakes), it would be possible to train developers to respect users more by writing good documentation (of course someone may need to look at the documentation for style and such). My philosophy partly stems from my experiences as a former computer science major at a college I attended (different from the one I’m about to graduate from): my first computer science professor stressed the importance of source code comments and documentation, and I still practice this lesson today, which fuels my overall frustration with the current state of NVDA user guide and source code documentation in general. I think one exercise code contributors can do before submitting anything to GitHub (specifically, pull; requests) is writing an early user facing documentation, because doing so helps you improve your writing skills and think carefully about the impact of your changes when users meet them (I sometimes find myself struggling for minutes to hours over UI messages and documentation for this reason; I know what my code will do, but I hit a roadblock when explaining what I’ve done to would-be users before actually writing code).
How can we show we are a group of people coming from diverse backgrounds: I think this goal was somewhat achieved when we look at recent NVDA work – many new features and bug fixes included in NVDA 2020.3 were written by someone other than an NV Access staff member, from people living in different countries and speaking many languages. But I know that we can improve on that somehow.



Another wish I have, mostly for Quentin: can we develop some sort of a training program for would-be contributors wishing to improve the overall NVDA community documentation, including the user guide? It may include basics on technical writing, tone and style, audience analysis, exercises where coding and documentation should be done together, and documentation production in a variety of formats (including online media). I think this may help us dive deeper into user guide issues being brought up, including the guide being “too thick” for newbies (in terms of understanding, lack of solid examples, and friendliness), especially for preferences chapter.

Cheers,

Joseph









From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:56 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation





Joseph,

While I applaud your efforts, and tutorials are invaluable, I wasn't even going that far. I'm talking basic documentation, where each item in a panel/pane/settings group in a given pane are briefly documented. There are myriad NVDA settings that, if their actual function is not directly obvious, which is the case, for example, with most checkboxes, then they're a black hole.

Even I will admit that for all software it is a limited number of end users who refer to this sort of thing. That being said, some do, and it serves as a very important basis for new developers to develop depth of knowledge of "what's in there and what it's for."

I was just commenting to someone for whom I've done custom VBA scripting for Outlook that I am eternally grateful to myself for having developed the habit of rigorously commenting my code, at a bare minimum, as even I would have no idea what some of what I've written actually does when looking at it much later. Complex stuff doesn't remain in "off the top of my head" mode (for most "mes") as time moves on. That's one of the reasons that basic documentation is so important.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

~ Kelley Boorn

















--

Quentin Christensen
Training and Support Manager


Web: www.nvaccess.org
Training: https://www.nvaccess.org/shop/
Certification: https://certification.nvaccess.org/
User group: https://nvda.groups.io/g/nvda
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NVAccess
Twitter: @NVAccess


Quentin Christensen
 

I think having the maximum number of characters per line setting described where it is in the browse mode settings section is fine  - where the previous section 6 covers Browse mode in general, the settings section covers how to change the behaviour of different aspects.  So for that setting particularly, currently the user guide simply offers:

"Maximum Number of Characters on One Line
This field sets the maximum length of a line in browse mode (in characters)."

I guess when working out where best to add information, what would you suggest needs adding?  That seems to describe the feature to me, but maybe I am too familiar with it to see what is missing?

If anything more was needed on that, I'd be inclined to consider covering it in more depth in the "Basic Training for NVDA" module moreso than the user guide.

On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 8:14 PM Gene <gsasner@...> wrote:
I haven't looked at the user guide a lot.  However, I found yesterday,
regarding the line length documentation this:
12.1.14. Browse Mode (NVDA+control+b)
The Browse Mode category in the NVDA Settings dialog is used to configure
NVDA's behaviour when you read and navigate complex documents such as web
pages. This category contains the following options:
Maximum Number of Characters on One Line
This field sets the maximum length of a line in browse mode (in characters).

That's true but how many people would understand where it might be useful?
I found the same feature useful in JAWS years ago becaused when I moved from
line to line manually, the lines as displayed were too long to find
something conveniently.  I wanted lines shorter so I could skim by line much
faster and more efficiently.

There are two things that come to mind:
When browse mode is discussed earlier, should the section that shows the
settings with explanation be referenced as a further information or see
also, or for settings, see or something of the sort?  Also, is this section
and some other parts of the user guide intended for those who already have
an idea of how such settings might be used in general or for a more advanced
user who may either understand the information or play around and see what
the effect is of settings information that isn't clear.

Manuals, in my experience are usually concise and I think that is one reason
tutorials are so much more popular.   But the degree of concision may be
opened to useful discussion.

Gene
-----Original Message-----
From: Quentin Christensen
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 4:01 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation


Hi everyone,

Lots of good points here.  So firstly, from a very simplistic view - if
there are any settings which experienced people such as yourselves can't get
an explanation of from the User Guide, then that's definitely something we
should address.  Please either let me know (or file a GitHub issue) as you
find examples.

Re the user guide being too thick and heavy for new users to get start
with - that's largely because that's not who it is really aimed at.  For a
lot of users, the Basic Training for NVDA would be the best place to start.
There is potentially a gap for a short "quick start" guide, and I'd be happy
to explore that further with anyone who has ideas on the subject.

Joseph, re some sort of training for new contributors - that too is a great
idea, and I'd be happy to work further with you on it.

I've made a note to follow all of this up (since it's into the evening here
and I'm trying to figure out book week costumes while getting the kids to
bed).


On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:44 AM Robert Doc Wright godfearer
<godfearer@...> wrote:

Where I need direction on what I need to study in order to be a tech writer
for NVDA. I believe that once I understand something I can teach it to
anyone. My stumbling block is that I have had some programming classes but
that was twenty years ago. I taught myself basic web design from a book.
What do I need to know to be of help where the users guide is concerned?
******
Jesus says, follow me and I'll help you through the rough spots.
the world says, hey come with me. My way is broad and easy. So what if you
get crap on your shoes. You can always wash it off, can't you!


Family times where there is fun for every ear!
http://stream.wrighthere.net:8000/stream.mp3

Or ask your A device to play Family times on tuneIn
You can also find us on your mobile device install OoTunes and search for
Family times
----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph Lee
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:45 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation


Hi,

Agreed (that’s one of the reasons why I comment a lot in my add-on source
code).

One holiday wish I have (possibly a long-term wish) is to help folks get
started on revamping the NVDA community documentation. At least this can
include add-on user guides, but I foresee a day where the screen reader user
guide would not escape this rewrite in hopes of making it more relevant for
users. I would go so far as ask NVDA code contributors to add extensive
documentation in source code itself – it is now possible to do it easily
with help from a module called Sphinx, a source code based documentation
generator. There are major issues to consider, however:

Who is the target audience: thinking about this changes the game, as it will
dictate tone, style, word usage, and organization of the document and
supplemental materials.
Mindset of code contributors: are we just software developers or technical
authors? Some people would argue that developers should focus on programming
and testing, leaving the task of documenting what developers wrote to
technical authors, and this separation of concerns may foster better
communication amongst team members. On the other hand, by forcing developers
to become technical authors, they can make crucial decisions about the
user-visible aspects of a given product a bit early.
How can we show we accept diversity in terms of culture, language, skill
level, and other factors: although the community documentation was written
by NV Access people at first, it is increasingly written by people from
diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other
factors (although I did receive training on technical communication and
software development, I’m not a native English speaker). This is more so for
parts that are written by people who may have different interpretation about
a UI message or concepts, more so if the author’s native language is not
English (the reverse is true for translators as they need to grasp concepts
written in English in their native languages).



My responses to the above questions are:

Who is the target audience: it varies. For NVDA user guide, it is users with
differing skill levels. For add-on guides, they target end users. For this
reason, whenever I edit the NVDA user guide or add-on guides, I think about
what users expect and NVDA’s response. This changes if we’re dealing with a
document meant for developers (such as add-on internals and such).
Mindset of code contributors: I believe that, as much as programming skills
is important, willingness to communicate with audiences (users, other
contributors, industry experts, etc.) is also important. One way to practice
both is thinking and writing to and about users, therefore I tend to fall
into a bit of the latter category from above: programming is, in one way or
another, writing. Python is just one of the more specialized languages used
to communicate with another entity (the machine), and if one can teach a
computer to do something (along with fixing mistakes), it would be possible
to train developers to respect users more by writing good documentation (of
course someone may need to look at the documentation for style and such). My
philosophy partly stems from my experiences as a former computer science
major at a college I attended (different from the one I’m about to graduate
from): my first computer science professor stressed the importance of source
code comments and documentation, and I still practice this lesson today,
which fuels my overall frustration with the current state of NVDA user guide
and source code documentation in general. I think one exercise code
contributors can do before submitting anything to GitHub (specifically,
pull; requests) is writing an early user facing documentation, because doing
so helps you improve your writing skills and think carefully about the
impact of your changes when users meet them (I sometimes find myself
struggling for minutes to hours over UI messages and documentation for this
reason; I know what my code will do, but I hit a roadblock when explaining
what I’ve done to would-be users before actually writing code).
How can we show we are a group of people coming from diverse backgrounds: I
think this goal was somewhat achieved when we look at recent NVDA work –
many new features and bug fixes included in NVDA 2020.3 were written by
someone other than an NV Access staff member, from people living in
different countries and speaking many languages. But I know that we can
improve on that somehow.



Another wish I have, mostly for Quentin: can we develop some sort of a
training program for would-be contributors wishing to improve the overall
NVDA community documentation, including the user guide? It may include
basics on technical writing, tone and style, audience analysis, exercises
where coding and documentation should be done together, and documentation
production in a variety of formats (including online media). I think this
may help us dive deeper into user guide issues being brought up, including
the guide being “too thick” for newbies (in terms of understanding, lack of
solid examples, and friendliness), especially for preferences chapter.

Cheers,

Joseph









From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:56 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation





Joseph,

           While I applaud your efforts, and tutorials are invaluable, I
wasn't even going that far.  I'm talking basic documentation, where each
item in a panel/pane/settings group in a given pane are briefly documented.
There are myriad NVDA settings that, if their actual function is not
directly obvious, which is the case, for example, with most checkboxes, then
they're a black hole.

            Even I will admit that for all software it is a limited number
of end users who refer to this sort of thing.  That being said, some do, and
it serves as a very important basis for new developers to develop depth of
knowledge of "what's in there and what it's for."

             I was just commenting to someone for whom I've done custom VBA
scripting for Outlook that I am eternally grateful to myself for having
developed the habit of rigorously commenting my code, at a bare minimum, as
even I would have no idea what some of what I've written actually does when
looking at it much later.  Complex stuff doesn't remain in "off the top of
my head" mode (for most "mes") as time moves on.  That's one of the reasons
that basic documentation is so important.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

















--

Quentin Christensen
Training and Support Manager


Web: www.nvaccess.org
Training: https://www.nvaccess.org/shop/
Certification: https://certification.nvaccess.org/
User group: https://nvda.groups.io/g/nvda
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NVAccess
Twitter: @NVAccess









--
Quentin Christensen
Training and Support Manager


 

Quentin,

         Here's some input in the form of questions.

         What constitutes a line?

          Does the maximum number of characters result in truncation and, if so, under what reading conditions?  (I can't imagine this setting affects read all behavior, for instance).

          If a line (after defined) is longer than that maximum, what happens when that occurs during browse mode?

--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


Gene
 

It might be a good idea to add that when moving by line in a web page looking for something, the user might want to make the lines shorter so that you don't have to listen to long lines of text to make sure you haven't missed the information when you move to another line.

-----Original Message-----
From: Quentin Christensen
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 6:37 PM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation


I think having the maximum number of characters per line setting described where it is in the browse mode settings section is fine - where the previous section 6 covers Browse mode in general, the settings section covers how to change the behaviour of different aspects. So for that setting particularly, currently the user guide simply offers:

"Maximum Number of Characters on One Line
This field sets the maximum length of a line in browse mode (in characters)."

I guess when working out where best to add information, what would you suggest needs adding? That seems to describe the feature to me, but maybe I am too familiar with it to see what is missing?

If anything more was needed on that, I'd be inclined to consider covering it in more depth in the "Basic Training for NVDA" module moreso than the user guide.


On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 8:14 PM Gene <gsasner@...> wrote:
I haven't looked at the user guide a lot. However, I found yesterday,
regarding the line length documentation this:
12.1.14. Browse Mode (NVDA+control+b)
The Browse Mode category in the NVDA Settings dialog is used to configure
NVDA's behaviour when you read and navigate complex documents such as web
pages. This category contains the following options:
Maximum Number of Characters on One Line
This field sets the maximum length of a line in browse mode (in characters).

That's true but how many people would understand where it might be useful?
I found the same feature useful in JAWS years ago becaused when I moved from
line to line manually, the lines as displayed were too long to find
something conveniently. I wanted lines shorter so I could skim by line much
faster and more efficiently.

There are two things that come to mind:
When browse mode is discussed earlier, should the section that shows the
settings with explanation be referenced as a further information or see
also, or for settings, see or something of the sort? Also, is this section
and some other parts of the user guide intended for those who already have
an idea of how such settings might be used in general or for a more advanced
user who may either understand the information or play around and see what
the effect is of settings information that isn't clear.

Manuals, in my experience are usually concise and I think that is one reason
tutorials are so much more popular. But the degree of concision may be
opened to useful discussion.

Gene
-----Original Message-----
From: Quentin Christensen
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 4:01 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation


Hi everyone,

Lots of good points here. So firstly, from a very simplistic view - if
there are any settings which experienced people such as yourselves can't get
an explanation of from the User Guide, then that's definitely something we
should address. Please either let me know (or file a GitHub issue) as you
find examples.

Re the user guide being too thick and heavy for new users to get start
with - that's largely because that's not who it is really aimed at. For a
lot of users, the Basic Training for NVDA would be the best place to start.
There is potentially a gap for a short "quick start" guide, and I'd be happy
to explore that further with anyone who has ideas on the subject.

Joseph, re some sort of training for new contributors - that too is a great
idea, and I'd be happy to work further with you on it.

I've made a note to follow all of this up (since it's into the evening here
and I'm trying to figure out book week costumes while getting the kids to
bed).


On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:44 AM Robert Doc Wright godfearer
<godfearer@...> wrote:

Where I need direction on what I need to study in order to be a tech writer
for NVDA. I believe that once I understand something I can teach it to
anyone. My stumbling block is that I have had some programming classes but
that was twenty years ago. I taught myself basic web design from a book.
What do I need to know to be of help where the users guide is concerned?
******
Jesus says, follow me and I'll help you through the rough spots.
the world says, hey come with me. My way is broad and easy. So what if you
get crap on your shoes. You can always wash it off, can't you!


Family times where there is fun for every ear!
http://stream.wrighthere.net:8000/stream.mp3

Or ask your A device to play Family times on tuneIn
You can also find us on your mobile device install OoTunes and search for
Family times
----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph Lee
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:45 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation


Hi,

Agreed (that’s one of the reasons why I comment a lot in my add-on source
code).

One holiday wish I have (possibly a long-term wish) is to help folks get
started on revamping the NVDA community documentation. At least this can
include add-on user guides, but I foresee a day where the screen reader user
guide would not escape this rewrite in hopes of making it more relevant for
users. I would go so far as ask NVDA code contributors to add extensive
documentation in source code itself – it is now possible to do it easily
with help from a module called Sphinx, a source code based documentation
generator. There are major issues to consider, however:

Who is the target audience: thinking about this changes the game, as it will
dictate tone, style, word usage, and organization of the document and
supplemental materials.
Mindset of code contributors: are we just software developers or technical
authors? Some people would argue that developers should focus on programming
and testing, leaving the task of documenting what developers wrote to
technical authors, and this separation of concerns may foster better
communication amongst team members. On the other hand, by forcing developers
to become technical authors, they can make crucial decisions about the
user-visible aspects of a given product a bit early.
How can we show we accept diversity in terms of culture, language, skill
level, and other factors: although the community documentation was written
by NV Access people at first, it is increasingly written by people from
diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other
factors (although I did receive training on technical communication and
software development, I’m not a native English speaker). This is more so for
parts that are written by people who may have different interpretation about
a UI message or concepts, more so if the author’s native language is not
English (the reverse is true for translators as they need to grasp concepts
written in English in their native languages).



My responses to the above questions are:

Who is the target audience: it varies. For NVDA user guide, it is users with
differing skill levels. For add-on guides, they target end users. For this
reason, whenever I edit the NVDA user guide or add-on guides, I think about
what users expect and NVDA’s response. This changes if we’re dealing with a
document meant for developers (such as add-on internals and such).
Mindset of code contributors: I believe that, as much as programming skills
is important, willingness to communicate with audiences (users, other
contributors, industry experts, etc.) is also important. One way to practice
both is thinking and writing to and about users, therefore I tend to fall
into a bit of the latter category from above: programming is, in one way or
another, writing. Python is just one of the more specialized languages used
to communicate with another entity (the machine), and if one can teach a
computer to do something (along with fixing mistakes), it would be possible
to train developers to respect users more by writing good documentation (of
course someone may need to look at the documentation for style and such). My
philosophy partly stems from my experiences as a former computer science
major at a college I attended (different from the one I’m about to graduate
from): my first computer science professor stressed the importance of source
code comments and documentation, and I still practice this lesson today,
which fuels my overall frustration with the current state of NVDA user guide
and source code documentation in general. I think one exercise code
contributors can do before submitting anything to GitHub (specifically,
pull; requests) is writing an early user facing documentation, because doing
so helps you improve your writing skills and think carefully about the
impact of your changes when users meet them (I sometimes find myself
struggling for minutes to hours over UI messages and documentation for this
reason; I know what my code will do, but I hit a roadblock when explaining
what I’ve done to would-be users before actually writing code).
How can we show we are a group of people coming from diverse backgrounds: I
think this goal was somewhat achieved when we look at recent NVDA work –
many new features and bug fixes included in NVDA 2020.3 were written by
someone other than an NV Access staff member, from people living in
different countries and speaking many languages. But I know that we can
improve on that somehow.



Another wish I have, mostly for Quentin: can we develop some sort of a
training program for would-be contributors wishing to improve the overall
NVDA community documentation, including the user guide? It may include
basics on technical writing, tone and style, audience analysis, exercises
where coding and documentation should be done together, and documentation
production in a variety of formats (including online media). I think this
may help us dive deeper into user guide issues being brought up, including
the guide being “too thick” for newbies (in terms of understanding, lack of
solid examples, and friendliness), especially for preferences chapter.

Cheers,

Joseph









From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:56 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation





Joseph,

While I applaud your efforts, and tutorials are invaluable, I
wasn't even going that far. I'm talking basic documentation, where each
item in a panel/pane/settings group in a given pane are briefly documented.
There are myriad NVDA settings that, if their actual function is not
directly obvious, which is the case, for example, with most checkboxes, then
they're a black hole.

Even I will admit that for all software it is a limited number
of end users who refer to this sort of thing. That being said, some do, and
it serves as a very important basis for new developers to develop depth of
knowledge of "what's in there and what it's for."

I was just commenting to someone for whom I've done custom VBA
scripting for Outlook that I am eternally grateful to myself for having
developed the habit of rigorously commenting my code, at a bare minimum, as
even I would have no idea what some of what I've written actually does when
looking at it much later. Complex stuff doesn't remain in "off the top of
my head" mode (for most "mes") as time moves on. That's one of the reasons
that basic documentation is so important.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

~ Kelley Boorn

















--

Quentin Christensen
Training and Support Manager


Web: www.nvaccess.org
Training: https://www.nvaccess.org/shop/
Certification: https://certification.nvaccess.org/
User group: https://nvda.groups.io/g/nvda
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NVAccess
Twitter: @NVAccess











--

Quentin Christensen
Training and Support Manager


Web: www.nvaccess.org
Training: https://www.nvaccess.org/shop/
Certification: https://certification.nvaccess.org/
User group: https://nvda.groups.io/g/nvda
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NVAccess
Twitter: @NVAccess


Gene
 

There is no truncating. I worked with the feature in JAWS years ago. I don't remember the line length in JAWS, if it was the same, longer or shorter than in NVDA, both using default settings. The point of it is that the MSAA buffer needs to have a line length set. the underlying page has none and the line length is determined by how much will fit on the screen being used unless the page designer has placed line codes on the page, which they usually don't. So you can set the length of a line you hear when you up and down arrow on a page.

If I am looking for something on a page and I want to be able to move quickly from line to line listening to a bit and then moving on, I may want shorter lines than the default so I can quickly move by line and when I'm close to what I'm looking for, slow down. If lines are too long, I may miss what I'm looking for because it may be near the ende of a long line and I may move down before hearing it.

Others may have other uses. That is the use I made of the feature. I set the line length to be shorter and left it there so I could move quickly from line to line and not have too much on a line to prevent easy skimming.

Gene

-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Vogel
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 6:45 PM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

Quentin,

Here's some input in the form of questions.

What constitutes a line?

Does the maximum number of characters result in truncation and, if so, under what reading conditions? (I can't imagine this setting affects read all behavior, for instance).

If a line (after defined) is longer than that maximum, what happens when that occurs during browse mode?

--


Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

~ Kelley Boorn


 

Gene,

            Interesting.  And nothing I ever, in a million years, would have "read in" to this setting.  It sounds like it's a way to break up text into segments a maximum of X characters long, at most.

--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


Gene
 

I would compare it to Word Wrap in Notepad except that you define the number of characters before the wrap occurs. I think the comparison is especially apt to Notepad because you can write as long a line as you wish in Notepad but the wrap makes it manageable on-screen.

Gene

-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Vogel
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 7:38 PM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

Gene,

Interesting. And nothing I ever, in a million years, would have "read in" to this setting. It sounds like it's a way to break up text into segments a maximum of X characters long, at most.

--


Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

~ Kelley Boorn


Pranav Lal
 

Hi all,

<snip I guess when working out where best to add information, what would you suggest needs adding?  That seems to describe the feature to me, but maybe I am too familiar with it to see what is missing?

PL] When would I want to alter this setting?

 

Pranav


 

On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:32 PM, Gene wrote:
I would compare it to Word Wrap in Notepad except that you define the number of characters before the wrap occurs.
-
Gene, that is a good analogy.  But what I want to know is what "reading command context(s)" this has an effect on.  I'm imagining only line-by-line reading, but . . .

Having something under the setting such as, "If a document has a line longer than the number of characters you set, for line reading it will be split into multiple virtual lines of the maximum length you specify."

I also wonder if it's intelligent as far as splitting at word boundaries, not hard and fast character counts.  Mid-word splits would make things potentially very ugly.

That setting, naked as it is, is not something that's intuitive, clearly, just based on this topic.  And I'm not saying that you're arguing that it is, just restating the need for some context regarding settings where the effect of same is in no way immediately obvious to the uninitiated (and even the initiated, much later on).
 
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


Gene
 

We'll see what others say but I know it applies to moving by lines. If I do something else that causes a line to be read, such as move by screen, with page up or down, or move to beginning or end of a document or tab, I would think it would apply in all those contexts, but we'll see what others say.

The intelligent question is a very interesting one and One I haven't thought of. Based on my experience, I don't recall ever having words split when I read in browse mode and the document has no such splitting, I think it is intelligent.

Just how much of such discussions should be in the user guide depends on what the purpose of the guide is. Perhaps some of these stipulations should be in some sort of document for developers or a wiki rather than in a user guide.

I wonder if this or that effect of a command my not be considered when discussing it by those who really know details. A wiki might be a good way to address this. I just found this very interesting discrepancy:
If I set the line length to a short amount, moving using k to move by link will cause an entire link to be read, no matter how long. Moving by arrow or tab and shift tab, will cause the line length stipulated to be read with more of the link being read as I move in the link. Its an interesting discrepancy and one I wonder if those knowledgeable in the matter have given any thought about as to implementation and what is desirable.

Gene

-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Vogel
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 10:53 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:32 PM, Gene wrote:
I would compare it to Word Wrap in Notepad except that you define the number of characters before the wrap occurs.-
Gene, that is a good analogy. But what I want to know is what "reading command context(s)" this has an effect on. I'm imagining only line-by-line reading, but . . .

Having something under the setting such as, "If a document has a line longer than the number of characters you set, for line reading it will be split into multiple virtual lines of the maximum length you specify."

I also wonder if it's intelligent as far as splitting at word boundaries, not hard and fast character counts. Mid-word splits would make things potentially very ugly.

That setting, naked as it is, is not something that's intuitive, clearly, just based on this topic. And I'm not saying that you're arguing that it is, just restating the need for some context regarding settings where the effect of same is in no way immediately obvious to the uninitiated (and even the initiated, much later on).

--


Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

~ Kelley Boorn


 

Hi,
Had to dig into C++ part of NvDA to figure this out:
This setting sets browse mode line length, so yes, it applies to when reading by line. Specifically, based on what I can tell, it will do its best to break at word boundaries. This is one of the reasons why links can "span" across multiple lines in browse mode.
In terms of documenting this, one way to improve this is taking Brian's suggestions into account: expand that section and give practical examples, like the following:

This field sets the maximum length of a line in browse mode (in characters) for reading by line purposes.
Unlike documents in programs such as Word and Notepad, browse mode documents do not have a specific line length or a new line character to denote ends of lines.
Because of this, you can set arbitrary line lengths between 10 and 250 characters, and NVDA will try to split lines at word boundaries.
A side effect of this setting is that links and other elements will be split onto multiple browse mode lines.

I'm sure we can make it better, but at least the one I wrote above might be a useful starting point and captures the discussion so far.
Cheers,
Joseph

-----Original Message-----
From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 9:23 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

We'll see what others say but I know it applies to moving by lines. If I do something else that causes a line to be read, such as move by screen, with page up or down, or move to beginning or end of a document or tab, I would think it would apply in all those contexts, but we'll see what others say.

The intelligent question is a very interesting one and One I haven't thought of. Based on my experience, I don't recall ever having words split when I read in browse mode and the document has no such splitting, I think it is intelligent.

Just how much of such discussions should be in the user guide depends on what the purpose of the guide is. Perhaps some of these stipulations should be in some sort of document for developers or a wiki rather than in a user guide.

I wonder if this or that effect of a command my not be considered when discussing it by those who really know details. A wiki might be a good way to address this. I just found this very interesting discrepancy:
If I set the line length to a short amount, moving using k to move by link will cause an entire link to be read, no matter how long. Moving by arrow or tab and shift tab, will cause the line length stipulated to be read with more of the link being read as I move in the link. Its an interesting discrepancy and one I wonder if those knowledgeable in the matter have given any thought about as to implementation and what is desirable.

Gene
-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Vogel
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 10:53 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation

On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:32 PM, Gene wrote:
I would compare it to Word Wrap in Notepad except that you define the number of characters before the wrap occurs.- Gene, that is a good analogy. But what I want to know is what "reading command context(s)" this has an effect on. I'm imagining only line-by-line reading, but . . .

Having something under the setting such as, "If a document has a line longer than the number of characters you set, for line reading it will be split into multiple virtual lines of the maximum length you specify."

I also wonder if it's intelligent as far as splitting at word boundaries, not hard and fast character counts. Mid-word splits would make things potentially very ugly.

That setting, naked as it is, is not something that's intuitive, clearly, just based on this topic. And I'm not saying that you're arguing that it is, just restating the need for some context regarding settings where the effect of same is in no way immediately obvious to the uninitiated (and even the initiated, much later on).

--


Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

~ Kelley Boorn


 

Gene,

          There's definitely intelligence being displayed in relation to links, at the very least.  It would be disastrous to split links in virtually any context I can think of.  They really are an atomic unit.

--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 2004, Build 19041  

It’s hard waking up and realizing it’s not always black and white.

     ~ Kelley Boorn

 


Dave Grossoehme
 

Good |Day:  This brings a question to mind on this setting. Would that work for a line in Word, if wrap is turned on?  Which a line of text that continues to wrap.

Dave

On 10/19/2020 2:14 AM, Gene wrote:
I haven't looked at the user guide a lot.  However, I found yesterday, regarding the line length documentation this:
12.1.14. Browse Mode (NVDA+control+b)
The Browse Mode category in the NVDA Settings dialog is used to configure NVDA's behaviour when you read and navigate complex documents such as web pages. This category contains the following options:
Maximum Number of Characters on One Line
This field sets the maximum length of a line in browse mode (in characters).

That's true but how many people would understand where it might be useful? I found the same feature useful in JAWS years ago becaused when I moved from line to line manually, the lines as displayed were too long to find something conveniently.  I wanted lines shorter so I could skim by line much faster and more efficiently.

There are two things that come to mind:
When browse mode is discussed earlier, should the section that shows the settings with explanation be referenced as a further information or see also, or for settings, see or something of the sort?  Also, is this section and some other parts of the user guide intended for those who already have an idea of how such settings might be used in general or for a more advanced user who may either understand the information or play around and see what the effect is of settings information that isn't clear.

Manuals, in my experience are usually concise and I think that is one reason tutorials are so much more popular.   But the degree of concision may be opened to useful discussion.

Gene
-----Original Message----- From: Quentin Christensen
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 4:01 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation


Hi everyone,

Lots of good points here.  So firstly, from a very simplistic view - if there are any settings which experienced people such as yourselves can't get an explanation of from the User Guide, then that's definitely something we should address.  Please either let me know (or file a GitHub issue) as you find examples.

Re the user guide being too thick and heavy for new users to get start with - that's largely because that's not who it is really aimed at.  For a lot of users, the Basic Training for NVDA would be the best place to start. There is potentially a gap for a short "quick start" guide, and I'd be happy to explore that further with anyone who has ideas on the subject.

Joseph, re some sort of training for new contributors - that too is a great idea, and I'd be happy to work further with you on it.

I've made a note to follow all of this up (since it's into the evening here and I'm trying to figure out book week costumes while getting the kids to bed).


On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:44 AM Robert Doc Wright godfearer <godfearer@...> wrote:

Where I need direction on what I need to study in order to be a tech writer for NVDA. I believe that once I understand something I can teach it to anyone. My stumbling block is that I have had some programming classes but that was twenty years ago. I taught myself basic web design from a book. What do I need to know to be of help where the users guide is concerned?
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----- Original Message ----- From: Joseph Lee
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:45 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation


Hi,

Agreed (that’s one of the reasons why I comment a lot in my add-on source code).

One holiday wish I have (possibly a long-term wish) is to help folks get started on revamping the NVDA community documentation. At least this can include add-on user guides, but I foresee a day where the screen reader user guide would not escape this rewrite in hopes of making it more relevant for users. I would go so far as ask NVDA code contributors to add extensive documentation in source code itself – it is now possible to do it easily with help from a module called Sphinx, a source code based documentation generator. There are major issues to consider, however:

Who is the target audience: thinking about this changes the game, as it will dictate tone, style, word usage, and organization of the document and supplemental materials.
Mindset of code contributors: are we just software developers or technical authors? Some people would argue that developers should focus on programming and testing, leaving the task of documenting what developers wrote to technical authors, and this separation of concerns may foster better communication amongst team members. On the other hand, by forcing developers to become technical authors, they can make crucial decisions about the user-visible aspects of a given product a bit early.
How can we show we accept diversity in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors: although the community documentation was written by NV Access people at first, it is increasingly written by people from diverse backgrounds in terms of culture, language, skill level, and other factors (although I did receive training on technical communication and software development, I’m not a native English speaker). This is more so for parts that are written by people who may have different interpretation about a UI message or concepts, more so if the author’s native language is not English (the reverse is true for translators as they need to grasp concepts written in English in their native languages).



My responses to the above questions are:

Who is the target audience: it varies. For NVDA user guide, it is users with differing skill levels. For add-on guides, they target end users. For this reason, whenever I edit the NVDA user guide or add-on guides, I think about what users expect and NVDA’s response. This changes if we’re dealing with a document meant for developers (such as add-on internals and such).
Mindset of code contributors: I believe that, as much as programming skills is important, willingness to communicate with audiences (users, other contributors, industry experts, etc.) is also important. One way to practice both is thinking and writing to and about users, therefore I tend to fall into a bit of the latter category from above: programming is, in one way or another, writing. Python is just one of the more specialized languages used to communicate with another entity (the machine), and if one can teach a computer to do something (along with fixing mistakes), it would be possible to train developers to respect users more by writing good documentation (of course someone may need to look at the documentation for style and such). My philosophy partly stems from my experiences as a former computer science major at a college I attended (different from the one I’m about to graduate from): my first computer science professor stressed the importance of source code comments and documentation, and I still practice this lesson today, which fuels my overall frustration with the current state of NVDA user guide and source code documentation in general. I think one exercise code contributors can do before submitting anything to GitHub (specifically, pull; requests) is writing an early user facing documentation, because doing so helps you improve your writing skills and think carefully about the impact of your changes when users meet them (I sometimes find myself struggling for minutes to hours over UI messages and documentation for this reason; I know what my code will do, but I hit a roadblock when explaining what I’ve done to would-be users before actually writing code).
How can we show we are a group of people coming from diverse backgrounds: I think this goal was somewhat achieved when we look at recent NVDA work – many new features and bug fixes included in NVDA 2020.3 were written by someone other than an NV Access staff member, from people living in different countries and speaking many languages. But I know that we can improve on that somehow.



Another wish I have, mostly for Quentin: can we develop some sort of a training program for would-be contributors wishing to improve the overall NVDA community documentation, including the user guide? It may include basics on technical writing, tone and style, audience analysis, exercises where coding and documentation should be done together, and documentation production in a variety of formats (including online media). I think this may help us dive deeper into user guide issues being brought up, including the guide being “too thick” for newbies (in terms of understanding, lack of solid examples, and friendliness), especially for preferences chapter.

Cheers,

Joseph









From: nvda@nvda.groups.io <nvda@nvda.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:56 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: Re: [nvda] NVDA Settings Documentation





Joseph,

          While I applaud your efforts, and tutorials are invaluable, I wasn't even going that far.  I'm talking basic documentation, where each item in a panel/pane/settings group in a given pane are briefly documented. There are myriad NVDA settings that, if their actual function is not directly obvious, which is the case, for example, with most checkboxes, then they're a black hole.

           Even I will admit that for all software it is a limited number of end users who refer to this sort of thing.  That being said, some do, and it serves as a very important basis for new developers to develop depth of knowledge of "what's in there and what it's for."

            I was just commenting to someone for whom I've done custom VBA scripting for Outlook that I am eternally grateful to myself for having developed the habit of rigorously commenting my code, at a bare minimum, as even I would have no idea what some of what I've written actually does when looking at it much later. Complex stuff doesn't remain in "off the top of my head" mode (for most "mes") as time moves on.  That's one of the reasons that basic documentation is so important.