NVDA Lesson 10: Browse Mode

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What's Browse Mode?

Up until now we have been focusing on keyboard navigation, and navigating across the web using elements. But as we near the end of our course, we need to discuss something a bit more pressing. Browse Mode.


In NVDA, object navigation and Browse Mode are two distinct methods for navigating and interacting with digital content. Here's a brief explanation of the key differences between the two:

Browse Mode

  • Document-Centric: Browse Mode is primarily used for web browsing. It treats web content like a document, making it easier for users with visual impairments to navigate web pages.
  • HTML Document Structure: In Browse Mode, NVDA interprets and presents web content in a structured way, similar to how a sighted user would experience a webpage. It identifies elements such as headings, links, lists, and form fields.
  • Linear Reading: Users can navigate through web content linearly, moving from one element to the next, such as links or headings, using keyboard commands like arrow keys, "H" for headings, and "K" for links.
  • Interactivity: Browse Mode allows users to interact with and activate web page elements like links and buttons by selecting them while in the mode.

Object Navigation

  • Element-Centric: Object Navigation is a more granular and fine-grained approach to navigating content. It is not limited to web browsing and can be used to navigate various application interfaces.
  • Objects and Elements: In Object Navigation, NVDA focuses on individual elements and objects within the content, such as buttons, checkboxes, text fields, and other interface elements, not just text and links.
  • Precise Navigation: Users can move through elements one at a time and interact with specific interface components in detail, making it useful for applications, dialog boxes, and software interfaces.
  • Detailed Information: Object Navigation provides detailed information about the currently focused element, including its role, state, name, and additional properties.