Feeds on the Web

Feeds on the Web allow you to automatically receive updated information from your favorite Web sites. Feeds are provided by more and more Web sites all the time. Basically, the process involves you subscribing to the feed, which usually is free, and then your feed reader (Internet Explorer® or other feed reader) shows if there is any updated content. Here is what to look for and how it works with Internet Explorer 7.

Internet Explorer 7 checks every Web page you visit for feeds. If a feed is available, the graphic button for feeds on the Internet Explorer toolbar changes from gray to orange. JAWS® screen reading software verbally announces feeds on Web pages you visit, beginning with version 8.0 and later. You may have heard JAWS announce "RSS Feeds" on some pages you visit and may have wondered what that means. Finally, you can also set up Internet Explorer to play a sound when it notices a feed for a page.

If you know there is an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or other type of feed on a page, press the Internet Explorer keystroke ALT+J to move to the Feeds button on the Internet Explorer toolbar. Press ENTER on the type of feed and that will open the feed page for you to read. At that point, you can read with standard JAWS commands. However, most feed pages use headings, so browsing the new items on the feed page by using the navigation quick key H for JAWS works very well. You can also use the JAWS list of links to navigate. If you want to subscribe to updates to a new feed page, choose the link "Plus Button Subscribe to this feed" or "subscribe to this feed," depending on how the page is set up. Once you have subscribed, this link usually does not appear any longer.

After you are finished reading the feeds page press ALT+LEFT ARROW to move back to the page where you initially found the notice of the feed.

Moving to and Reading Subscribed Feeds in Internet Explorer

Let's say you have subscribed to one or more feeds on the Web. How do you find out if there are new articles or information? Once you have subscribed to a feed, a link to it is placed in the Favorites Center feeds tab for Internet Explorer 7. You should get in the habit of checking to see if the feeds you subscribe to have been updated, perhaps daily, or in some cases, more often. The new information is automatically sent to Internet Explorer, but you still have to look in the right place to view it. Many people check for new feed information several times per day, especially for news or weather feeds. To find out if any of the feeds you subscribe to have new information, do the following:

NOTE: You do not have to be on the page where the feed originated to read them. If you have previously subscribed to feeds, you can check them from any Web page.

  1. Press CTRL+J to open the Internet Explorer Favorites Center and display your web feeds.
  2. Press UP or DOWN ARROW to move through the list. Feeds that have been updated are marked with "(New)" beside their name.
  3. If there are feeds in the feeds tab of the Favorites Center that you do not use, you can press the DELETE key to remove them.
  4. If no feeds have been updated, press ESC to close the Favorites Center and return focus to the Web page you are on at the time.
  5. Press ENTER on a feed that you want to read and the corresponding feed page opens. Use standard reading commands to read the page. Again, many feeds have new articles with headings that are also links to the full article. Use the navigation quick key H with JAWS to move from one announcement to the next.
  6. When you are finished reading the feeds page press ALT+LEFT ARROW to move back to the page where you were before going feeding.

NOTE: While reading feed pages, pay attention to links. Links may take you to more information. Some feed pages give a short description or synopsis, and the main headings may also be links that take you to the full information of an article. Some feeds may also include additional links for further information. It all depends on the way the feed has been created by the authors.

Feeds that have been marked as read disappear after new ones are posted. To show all feeds again on an RSS feeds page, press ALT+L or use the list of links to find and activate the link "All." Links are also available to sort feed headlines by Date or Title. Additional settings can be customized by choosing the link "View feed properties." Check to see how often feeds are checked on your system. You may find they are only checked one time per day. You may wish to change this to check for updated feeds at shorter intervals, for example, every fifteen minutes or every hour.

Setting Internet Explorer to Play a Sound when it Finds a Feed

Even though JAWS announces feeds verbally, you may also want to have Internet Explorer play a sound when a page has feeds. To do this:

  1. Press ALT+T to open the Tools menu in Internet Explorer 7.
  2. Press O to open the Options dialog box.
  3. Press CTRL+TAB to move to the Contents tab page.
  4. Press ALT+N to open the Feed Settings dialog box.
  5. Press SPACEBAR to check the checkbox for "Play a sound when a feed is found for a webpage."
  6. Finally, press TAB to move to the OK button and close each dialog box until you return to Internet Explorer.

NOTE: You can also access this dialog box from within the feeds page in Internet Explorer by choosing the link "View Feed Properties."