Thursday, 17 May 2018 12:11

Using Search Engines to Find Information on the Web

By: 

Search Engines

Search engines on the World Wide Web are remotely accessible programs that let you do keyword searches for information on the Internet. There are several types of search engines and searches may cover titles of documents, URL's, headers, or full text. Keep in mind that the results you get from one search engine may not match the results you get from another search engine. In fact, they are often different due to the way each search engine behaves. Therefore, it may actually be beneficial to use more than one search engine on a regular basis.

In this section, we briefly look at Google and Yahoo!. Web pages are often dynamic and can change at any time. As a result, you may find that if either site changes, your experience with JAWS may be different than what is described here.

Google

EXERCISE: Use the link below to go to the Google Website and follow along with the instructions.

When you first go to the Google Website there is a blinking cursor in an edit box where you can type the word or phrase that you are interested in.

Google Instant is a search enhancement that shows results as you type. It is designed to predict a person's search by updating the page and showing results while you type. It is a time-saving feature. However, because the page is changing as you type this can sometimes cause problems for screen reader users. You may find a link on the page that reads "Screen reader users, click here to turn off Google Instant." If you choose this link it makes your searches using a screen reader much easier.

To change your preferences for Google you can do the following:

  1. Press INSERT+F7 to open the JAWS list of links.
  2. Choose the link Options, and then press ENTER. A links submenu opens on the Google site.
  3. Press DOWN ARROW to move to the link Search Settings, and then press ENTER.
  4. Beneath the heading Google Instant predictions is an On/Off slider bar. At the time of this writing, it does not read well with JAWS. Press ENTER on it to go into forms mode.
  5. Press DOWN ARROW on this slider bar to turn the feature off.
  6. Press NUM PAD PLUS to get out of forms mode.
  7. Press B to move to the Save button at the bottom of the page, and then activate it by pressing ENTER.

To begin searching, for users of JAWS prior to version 10.0, the first thing you need to do is press the ENTER key to go into Forms Mode with JAWS. Once you are in Forms Mode, you can then type in keywords that will define your search.

If you are using JAWS 10.0 or later, forms mode comes on automatically when you get to a Web page which has the focus set to a blinking cursor in an edit box. If for some reason forms mode does not come on automatically on your computer, you can also press ENTER to go into forms mode, or you can press INSERT+F5 to open the Select a Form Field dialog box for JAWS.

MAGic Tip: MAGic users, just click into any edit box and forms mode comes on automatically for you.

JAWS Tip: New since JAWS 10, JAWS users who use a mouse can also click into edit boxes and forms mode comes on automatically.

After you have typed in some text, press ENTER to activate the Search button.

Google only returns Web pages that contain all of the words in your query. If you find that you get too many "hits" or Web pages that match your search, you can enter more words in your search query to narrow the choices.

Using good keywords gives you better results. Be as specific as you can. For example, a search for the keyword "musicians" will yield far more results than a search for the keywords "Elvis Presley." You do not need to include "and" between terms, but the order in which you type your keywords will affect the search results. You can also search for a specific phrase by including words in quotation marks. Google searches are not case sensitive.

You can also use the following items within your keywords for Google searches:

  • - (minus) sign. Causes Google to exclude a word from your search. For example, "JAWS" can refer to a screen reading software or a famous movie. You can exclude many of the movie-related hits by searching for "JAWS -movie." (Be sure to include a space before the minus sign and no spaces between the minus sign and the word "movie.") Searches for JAWS with different conditions yielded the following results:
    • JAWS, about 50,600,000 hits
    • JAWS windows -movie, about 8,600,000 hits
    • "JAWS screen reader" (in quotes) about 62,000

As you narrow your search and use better keywords, you get more relevant results.

  • Putting a phrase into quotes tells Google to look for the exact words in that exact order.
  • You can search for something within a specific website by typing the word or phrase followed by site:FreedomScientific.com (where the dot-com changes to whatever site you are searching.

The I'm Feeling Lucky™ button takes you directly to the first Web page Google returned for your query. You will not see the other search results at all. For example, to find the home page for Stanford University, simply enter "Stanford" into the search box and choose the I'm Feeling Lucky™ button. Google takes you directly to www.stanford.edu, the official homepage of Stanford University.

Try typing different things such as names, phone numbers, and more to find people or things.

Try a search for Freedom Scientific. Use this link to go to the Google Web site. On the results page, there are a couple of things you can do to get more information about the results of the search:

  • The statistics of your search are typically placed between the search edit box and the search results. You can press DOWN ARROW a few times to find this line, or you can use the JAWS find command CTRL+F to look for the word "Results," and then read that line. For example, when testing this, the search found, "About 86,400,000 for freedom scientific. (0.22 seconds)." This can be useful if you need to narrow the search.
  • Google uses a "main" region to guide you to the search results. You can press R to move from one region to another.
  • The items found as a result of your search are placed on the page as both links and headings. You can press the navigation quick key H to move quickly among the headings that match your search. Since they are also links, you can press ENTER to activate them and move to those Web pages of interest.
  • Below each heading (and link) that match your search is a short synopsis of what that page is about. After pressing H to move to a heading (link), just press DOWN ARROW to read the text below it for more information.
  • Remember, you can also press SHIFT+H to move backward.
  • There is also a good structure to the headings. The heading level one on the page is the Google logo and link that will take you back to the main Google page. The search results begin to be listed after a heading level two. The matches found for the search are all level three headings.

EXERCISE: Google uses regions to make navigation easier. Explore them by pressing R to move from region to region, and then press DOWN ARROW to move into the next section.

You can also read through the search results page using normal reading keys or use INSERT+F7 to open the list of links and see what related links were found. Use the Move to Link button in the links list ALT+M) to move to a particular link and then down arrow through the associated text to find out if this might be what you are looking for.

In addition to the information displayed on the initial results page, there are often links to more pages of information that meet your search criteria. These pages are reached by activating the link for the number of the page. Usually, you will find links for additional pages 2 through 10 near the bottom of each page. Each page beyond the first page also contains a number of items that match your search.

NOTE: Look for a region called "content information" to move to these links quickly.

Google Search Tools

Google also provides easy-to-use search tools. For example:

  • "Weather Chicago" yields the current weather in Chicago
  • "25 kilometers in miles" convert kilometers to miles
  • "Define screen magnification" yields definitions for screen magnification
  • "Seafood restaurants 33716" yields restaurants that serve seafood in or near that zip code
  • And so on...

NOTE: For both the Google Website and the Yahoo! Website discussed in the next section, be sure to check out the other links on their sites for Advanced Search, Help topics, and more.

Yahoo!.com

Yahoo! is another search engine that many people use. The main Yahoo! the page also has more information on it, such as sports and news headlines, entertainment links, and links to many other items. This tends to cause the page to appear more cluttered than the Google site but may prove itself useful to you as well. As with Google, when you first go to the Yahoo! Website there is a blinking cursor in an edit box.

For users of JAWS prior to version 10.0, the first thing you need to do is press the ENTER key to go into Forms Mode with JAWS. Once you are in Forms Mode, you can then type in keywords that will define your search.

If you are using JAWS 10.0 or later, forms mode comes on automatically when you get to a Web page which has the focus set to a blinking cursor in an edit box. If for some reason forms mode does not come on automatically on your computer, you can also press ENTER to go into forms mode, or you can press INSERT+F5 to open the Select a Form Field dialog box for JAWS.

MAGic Tip: MAGic users, just click into any edit box, and forms mode comes on automatically for you.

JAWS Tip: New since JAWS 10, JAWS users who use a mouse can also click into edit boxes and forms mode comes on automatically.

After you have typed in some text, press ENTER to activate the Search button.

Yahoo! behaves very much the same way as Google and displays a list of hits of matching items. These are links to further resources, and each link here also has a text description taken from that source that matches your query.

After a Yahoo! results page loads, press the letter H to move to the different headings on the page. Below the heading Search Results, you find the main links that match your search. Each contains a short text synopsis below it and a link for a cached version. Since the headings are also links, pressing ENTER on one takes you to the Web page indicated. Beneath each heading/link is text that describes a little bit about that page. Press INSERT+F7 to use the list of links to explore the links, or you can also press TAB to move from one link to another.

NOTE: Yahoo now also uses regions on search results pages. Look for the "main" region to guide you directly to the search results area.

To find the number of matches, use the JAWS Find and look for the word "results" without the quotes. You should hear something like the following: "50,300,911 results."

Yahoo! also has links to other results pages, just as Google does. These links show as numbers 2 through 10 and are located near the bottom of the page.

Going Beyond the Search Engine Results Page

OK, so what happens when you choose one of the links you find on a search engine page? What strategies do you use to find the information you were initially searching for on the resulting page?

ANSWER: All of the strategies you learned in this series of Surf's Up lessons, including:

  • Use N to jump past a series of links to move to the next block of text that has at least 25 characters without a link.
  • Use the list of links (INSERT+F7) to look for links that begin with specific words.
  • Use the list of headings (INSERT+F6) to look for structure in the headings on a page.
  • Use the JAWS Find to search for words or phrases on a Web page.
  • Look for regions.
  • Use the Adjust JAWS Options list to change things as needed such as:
    • Stoppage refreshes
    • Search for attributes, acronyms, abbreviations, and more.
  • Use the Custom Label feature of JAWS to label unlabeled links or unlabeled form fields on pages that you visit often.

Read More...

Source: This article was published freedomscientific.com

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