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Support Article

JAWS reader and visual focus not in sync



When navigating some UI elements with JAWS screen reader active and using JAWS shortcuts or the arrow keys, JAWS will read information based on the element that was navigated to, but the visual browser focus indicator will not update.

Error Messages

Not Applicable

Steps to Reproduce

  1. Run any report with filtering enabled.
  2. Open the filtering popup.
  3. Use the JAWS short cut keys (X or Shift-X) or the arrow keys to navigate the filtering option checkboxes.

Root Cause

A third-party product issue caused by how JAWS interacts with keyboard events and manages its own invisible reading cursor. When JAWS is active, it takes precedence when capturing keyboard events (such as pressing the arrow keys).  Although, the way to navigate through checkboxes when JAWS is active is not using arrow keys, but using the keys "X" and "Shift + X". One can navigate through the radio buttons using these keys and use space bar to select the checkbox. 

As per JAWS's own documentation:
"When you use JAWS or MAGic on the Internet, JAWS and MAGic use the virtual cursor, an invisible reading cursor, as the default cursor for reading information. When MAGic is running either alone or in conjunction with JAWS there is a visible reading highlight that surrounds the word or line where you are reading, which makes it easier to tell where the virtual cursor is. To complete a form on a Web page, you need to use the PC cursor, which is a visible blinking cursor."

Since JAWS captures both the arrow key presses and X / Shift-X and uses its own invisible cursor, the keyboard events in the browser are not triggered. This is why the on-focus/selected color does not update as this funcationality depends on the key events to change the row selection state. Beacuse these key events are not fired, Pega is not be able to update the selection state. 

Note that when using either arrow keys or X and Shift X keys, the cursor moves in the background (even though the visual outline of focus appears to stay at original place). Hence, hitting spacebar when Jaws reads a particular checkbox both selects it and moves the visual focus indicator. 


An enhancement request, FDBK-17025, has been created for consideration by Pega Product Management to provide additional functionality to account for this discrepancy. 


Published October 27, 2016 - Updated October 8, 2020

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