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Dropbox Folder Management Using JAWS for Windows

Dropbox is an excellent tool for storing files. It can be used so you can share your personal files among different computers or mobile devices you own, together with sharing files with others, such as people with whom you wish to collaborate on a document.

However, the interface does present some accessibility challenges for screen-reader users. This article seeks to address them in conjunction with the screen-reader JAWS for Windows. You may be able to adopt similar strategies with alternative screen-readers.

Dropbox Notifications

While it is true that you can press the keystroke Insert+F11 in order to view the Dropbox notifications in the Windows System Tray, (such as whether files are uploading/downloading or if "all files are up-to-date", the J-Tools set of JAWS scripts from Astec at www.astec-at.co.uk make interacting with Dropbox easier. You can press a keystroke to instantly hear Dropbox file status information, another to drop right into your Dropbox folder and a third to view the Context Menu for it including working with your Preferences. The Preferences multi-page Dialog Box is also made more accessible.

Folder Management

By far the task most people have difficulty dealing with is either leaving a shared Dropbox folder or, (as an owner), removing someone from the folder. This article will work through both scenarios. The process of creating an invitation to a user via Email to join a folder is accessible so I will not cover the steps unless anyone specifically requests them.

Leaving a Shared Folder

If you are not the owner of the folder, (in other words if you did not originally create it), you may care to leave a folder you previously had access to. Here are the steps involved. They are all accessible.

  1. Browse to the Dropbox website at www.dropbox.com and ensure you are signed in.
  2. Using the list of Links feature, (Insert+F7), locate the name of the folder with which you no longer wish to be associated. Each folder name is hyperlinked. Press Enter on the desired folder name.
  3. Each time you work through a step in this process, a new page is not rendered on the Dropbox website, so JAWS has difficulty in revealing the newly updated content to you. To rectify this, press Insert+Escape to refresh the JAWS Virtual Buffer.
  4. Using the JAWS Find facility, (~Control+F), type the word, "Share", and press Enter.
    Hopefully, the cursor should be on the line entitled, "Shared Folder Options". If it is not, press F3 until JAWS announces these words.
  5. When the cursor is on the appropriate line of text, press Enter. Do not be concerned that it is not a Link or a Button. In fact it is a Button but JAWS cannot detect this as a standard control.
  6. Press Insert+Escape again to refresh the Virtual Buffer.
  7. Press the letter B to reach the, "Leave Shared Folder" Button and press Enter on it.
  8. Press Insert+Escape again to refresh the Virtual Buffer.
  9. You may be prompted as to whether you wish to leave the folder. Locate the appropriate Button if so and press Enter.

Removing a Subscriber to a Dropbox Folder

This process is more troublesome but using JAWS it can be achieved.

  1. Browse to the Dropbox website at www.dropbox.com and ensure you are signed in.
  2. Using the list of Links feature, (Insert+F7), locate the name of the folder containing the member you wish to remove. Each folder name is hyperlinked. Press Enter on the desired folder name.
  3. Each time you work through a step in this process, a new page is not rendered on the Dropbox website, so JAWS has difficulty in revealing the newly updated content to you. To rectify this, press Insert+Escape to refresh the JAWS Virtual Buffer.
  4. Using the JAWS Find facility, (~Control+F), type the word, "Share", and press Enter.
  5. Hopefully, the cursor should be on the line entitled, "Shared Folder Options". If it is not, press F3 until JAWS announces these words.
  6. When the cursor is on the appropriate line of text, press Enter. Do not be concerned that it is not a Link or a Button. In fact it is a Button but JAWS cannot detect this as a standard control.
  7. Press Insert+Escape again to refresh the Virtual Buffer.
  8. Using the JAWS Find Facility, (Insert+F), type the first part of the person's name you wish to remove and press Enter. Hopefully the cursor should now be on the line of the person's name.
  9. Now here is the tricky part. Using Insert+NumPad Minus, route the JAWS Cursor to the PC Cursor and begin exploring the text on screen with the Arrow keys. This is not as easy as it sounds because, very often, the text within the Internet Explorer page is obscured and JAWS cannot detect it. In addition, the JAWS Cursor sometimes is not correctly routed to the Virtual Cursor, but in most cases, it is. If JAWS cannot latch onto the name of the user you wish to remove, try maximising the Internet Explorer window by pressing ALT+Space then X. In any event, you may need to use Up or Down Arrow in order to locate the name with the JAWS Cursor.
  10. When the name is located, you should hear on that line of text the name of the user followed by the word, "Joined". There may also be additional text on this line comprising Dropbox folder names, but provided you hear the name it should be fine.
  11. At the end of the line containing the name is a graphic. This graphic cannot be detected by JAWS even if its Graphics setting is set to read "All". Press the End key on the keyboard and then press the Left Mouse Button, (NumPad Slash).
  12. Press NumPad Plus to return to the Virtual Cursor.
  13. Underneath the name of the user in the Virtual Cursor, you will now see a list of three items, each of which is hyperlinked. One item will be "Kick Out User". Press Enter on this Link.
  14. Press Insert+Escape again to refresh the Virtual Buffer.
  15. This page contains two new controls. One is a Check Box, where you can specify whether the user you are about to remove should keep a copy of the files. You probably do not wish them to. The second is a Button, "Kick Out", which is self-explanatory. Press Enter on this Button. The process should be now complete.
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