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about-Face, JAWS for Windows and Facebook for Beginners

"It's too difficult to use". "It's not accessible". "All my family use it and I cannot join in". "I'm trying to access part of it on my phone and it's not working as I expect it to." Those are just some of the sentiments a lot of people express about Facebook. But it shouldn't be like that should it when we as blind people are always striving for inclusion?

The good news is that we are able to access most aspects of Facebook very well when using the JAWS for Windows screen-reader and a web browser. Our new training course for July, "about-Face, JAWS for Windows and Facebook for Beginners", will show you not only how to work with Facebook, but also gives lots of information about how you can customise JAWS so as to gain the best experience possible.

Facebook has become one of the most popular social networking sites of all time. The site can be accessed from many devices containing a web browser and which is connected to the Internet. It should be about having fun, getting information, sharing content or perhaps using it to promote a service. The course will show you how to do all of these things on a daily basis without thinking too much about the accessibility!

How JAWS Interacts with Facebook.

Ordinarily, JAWS interacts well with both the Facebook Mobile and Facebook Desktop sites. While undoubtedly users of our Leasey product will gain a far better experience when using Facebook, if you do not have this product there is still a lot you can do to customise JAWS to provide a better experience, and to use some of the tools to improve your ability to navigate Facebook so as to gain more from it. While the course will describe the Leasey keystrokes and the experience you will receive when using it, the assumption is that you do not have it installed so as to appeal to the widest possible audience. You will also find that some of the techniques learned in this course when using JAWS will benefit you when working with many internet sites.

What Will I Learn?

The course is divided into three sessions, each of an hour's duration. The topics will include:

  • Customising JAWS to be more effective when using Facebook.
  • Facebook Mobile versus Facebook Desktop.
  • Creating a Facebook account.
  • Editing your Facebook profile.
  • Security and Privacy.
  • Searching for friends and pages of interest.
  • Sorting the News Feed.
  • Reviewing the News Feed.
  • Liking or reacting to a Facebook post.
  • Commenting on Facebook posts.
  • Creating a Facebook post.
  • Editing a Facebook post.
  • Attaching images to Facebook posts.
  • Adding alternative text to images for use with screen-readers.
  • The Facebook Notifications area.
  • Accepting Facebook Friend requests and checking them out first.
  • Viewing Facebook friends.
  • Sending private messages to friends.
  • Viewing the Facebook profile of a friend.
  • Working with Facebook groups.
  • Viewing Facebook posts on selected pages.

Note that there is scope for a more advanced training course on the management of Facebook pages which is not covered here.

Who is the Course For?

This course is suited to anyone who has always wanted to use Facebook but has been unsure how to begin, through to those who are using it already but would like to gain a better experience when using it.

There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions regarding the topics under discussion, however this is achieved in a structured manner. This ensures that you can focus on learning the concepts being taught.

If I Purchase the Course, What Will I Receive?

The course will be delivered online via our accessible Talking Communities server. If you have not used this conferencing software before, you will receive instructions prior to the commencement of the course. This software allows for the delivery of the presentation, including the output from the screen-reading software. The audio is of a high quality.

The course will give to you:

  • Three lessons starting 12 July 2017. Each lesson will begin at 7 PM UK time, (2 PM Eastern), each Wednesday;
  • An audio recording of each lesson in MP3 format;
  • Text documentation comprising a list of keystrokes to reinforce topics covered in the lessons.
  • An email list active prior to (and during) the course so you can ask questions outside tuition time.

The proposed dates for the course sessions are as follows:

  • 12 July.
  • 19 July.
  • 26 July.

All recordings, documentation and the Talking Communities chat room are accessed through a secure area of our website which is only available to course participants. If you cannot make those dates, please don't worry. You can still take advantage of the Email list and the archives of the webinars, which are usually uploaded the following day after editing.

Costing.

The cost of the course is £40 which is currently 52 US dollars.
The course fee can be ppaid at any time between now and 5 July 2017.

Purchase About-Face Online.

Alternatively, anyone can purchase the course by sending an Email to jaws@hartgen.org, whereupon a fully accessible electronic invoice will be sent to you which can be paid through PayPal or any major credit or debit card. Orders can also be placed by telephone:

  • Call us (from within the UK): 02920-850298.
  • Call us (from the United States): 415-871-0626.
  • Call us (from any other country): (+44)2920-850298.

If you would like to read the views from participants of our previous courses, please Visit our Training area.

Course Prerequisites.

It is important that you have:

  • Good keyboarding skills;
  • A computer with an internet connection;
  • A microphone so as to ask questions within the course;
  • JAWS for Windows screen-reader;
  • Access to Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome web browser.

Summary.

It is true that Facebook is not as intuitive to use as Twitter, principally because of Desktop programs which have been designed for the purpose of working with tweets which do not require interaction with a web site. However, the Facebook community is huge. If you would like to be part of it, then getting some useful skills to work with Facebook could be just what you need. Jump into the pool, the water's fine!

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