Online Forms: Part 3 – Combo Boxes – TTT Companion

Person using braille display.

Don’t want to read?

Written By Daniel Geisen

Here at eye.t, Daniel primarily works on providing written resources for TVIs and educators. As an educator himself, Daniel knows how important it is to be able to provide equal opportunities to all learners. This is one of the many reasons, Daniel is all in with eye.t. When Daniel is not working alongside the eye.t team, he really enjoys being outdoors and dabbling in creative writing. P.S. Daniel is also an avid fan of the Cincinnati Reds.

Published on

June 3, 2024

Prerequisites

✔︎ CHECK Before moving on, is your learner familiar with using online forms and edit fields such as checkboxes and radio buttons? These are important components we will build upon during today’s lesson. This is an important component we will build upon during today’s lesson. For further information, watch the Tech Tip Tuesday videos called Online Forms: Part 1 – Edit Fields and Checkboxes and Checkboxes and Online Forms: Part 2 – Radio Buttons.

Introductory Story: Further Test Questions

✔︎ READ the following story aloud to your learner.


Q is now moving on to the True or False section of his test for Social Studies on Ancient Egypt. His screen reader gives him the instructions for this portion of the test. He imagines that this will be exactly like the multiple choice section where he had checkboxes and radio buttons, except this time he anticipates that there will only be two options instead of four per question. 

He moves on to the first True or False question. He is prompted to think if the Nile River was viewed by the ancient Egyptian people as their source of life. Thanks to his review the day before, he knows the answer right away. The statement is true according to his studies. Q proceeds to answer, but after hearing the statement, Q’s screen reader says “collapsed.” Confused, Q attempts to figure out where his options are to answer, but he isn’t having any luck. 

What Q has encountered in this section of the test is something called a combo box. Today, we are going to learn that combo boxes are something we encounter frequently in online forms. We are also going to discover how to navigate them with ease and effectiveness.


✔︎ DISCUSS the guiding question, “What commands do you need to properly use a combo box?”

Tip: For sighted learners, combo boxes are often called “dropdown menus.” It is also a question with one answer, similar to a radio button.

Content

Expanding the Menu

✔︎ PLAY from 2:48-3:24

Teacher’s Notes: In a combo box, your learner will first hear their screen reader identify the menu as “collapsed.” That means one of the first approaches to finding their option is to expand the menu in order to hear their choices and to select the one they want accordingly. To do this, your learner will need to press Enter on the question to expand the menu. Like a radio button, they will use the up and down arrow keys to hear the options. The last option they have heard is the one they will have selected. Then they can press Enter again to collapse the menu and Tab to move to the next question.

Check-in:
  1. In what kinds of situations do you tend to find combo boxes on the internet? 
  2. Do you find this method of navigating combo boxes effective or would you rather it be more efficient? Explain.

Navigating Combo Boxes Efficiently

✔︎ PLAY from 1:36-5:43

Teacher’s Notes: Your learner can also select an option in a combo box without even expanding the menu. In other words, they can leave it collapsed. To select an option in a combo box, your learner can go to the question and simply use the up and down arrow keys. For combo boxes with higher numbers of options, your learner can also use first letter navigation.

Check-in: 
  1. What are some situations where you might want to leave your combo box collapsed rather than expanding it?
  2. What is an example of a situation where you would want to use first letter navigation as opposed to the up and down arrow keys in a combo box?

Conclusion: Completed Test

✔︎ READ the remainder of the story aloud to your learner.


At last, Q is able to finish his Ancient Egypt unit test in Social Studies. His TVI quickly share with Q that he has stumbled upon a combo box on his test. The TVI informs him that the question has a menu with selectable options within it, which is why his screen reader called it “collapsed.” In order to expand the menu and hear the options in the combo box, all Q needs to do is press Enter and navigate the options with the up and down arrow keys. 

To his relief, Q finds this process very simple. All he needed was a little refresher about combo boxes and his screen reader. With this in mind, Q now has all of the skills he needs to complete the test. Now all he needs to do is rely on the studying he has done up until this point. 


Activity – Practice Form

In this activity, your learner will fill out this practice form. They will be asked basic questions that will allow them to try out their skills they learned from the lesson in navigating online forms, specifically how to work effectively with combo boxes.

Next Steps

With this final part of our Online Forms series completed, it’s important to keep practicing you screen reader skills. That’s why you should register for our Fall Cohort! With two sections, Braille Bootcamp and our Internet Navigation Program, you get the ability to focus on your personal screen reader instruction and braille needs. Both provide a year access to our Screen Reader Curriculum, 6 hours of live instruction, and a certificate of completion for professional development. To not miss out and make sure you secure a seat, click here to sign up!

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