skip navigation
Previous Next

Using Windows Live Messenger with JAWS

Creating Your Windows Live Accounts

You'll need at least two Windows Live accounts to test your chatbots; one account for the chatbot, and one account for you to chat with the bot. You can sign up for these accounts here: Windows Live Messenger (limited) account signup. Signing up will not require you to enter any personal information, but does require you to complete an audio CAPTCHA. For your username and password, refrain from using non-Latin letters and &, <, >, (, ), @, ^, |.

Adding Contacts

In order to communicate with contacts using Windows Live Messenger, it is necessary to first add them to your contact list. This is done by sending a message to a contact requesting that they allow you to view whether they are online and communicate with them. It is not possible to exchange messages with a contact until he/she has accepted this request. The process of requesting a contact's details is described in the following steps:

  1. From the messenger window, press alt to navigate to the menu bar and right arrow until "Contacts" is highlighted. Down arrow to "Add a contact" and press enter.
  2. You are now in a box in which you will need to enter the instant messaging address of the contact you wish to add. Be sure that you know the correct address of the contact that you are adding, keeping in mind that this address may or may not be the same as that which the person uses for e-mail. For example, you may have a friend whose regular e-mail address is but whose instant messaging address is Type in the correct address and press enter to return to the contacts list in the messenger window. The contact will appear in the "Online" section of your contacts list only after he/she has accepted your request.

Accepting an Add Request

If another Windows Live Messenger user sends you a detail request, a dialogue box will appear accompanied by a short tone. To accept the request, tab to and press the Ok button, making sure that the checkboxes for "allow this person to see you online and contact you" and "Add this person to my contacts list" are both checked.

Sending and Receiving Messages

  1. Make sure you are in your contacts list in the messenger window, which you can confirm by pressing the up and down arrow keys. You should be scrolling through your contacts. For each contact, JAWS will announce his or her display name, followed by whether that contact is online or offline. The contacts who are online will appear first in the list. Also note that in addition to the default "online" status, contacts who are online may also appear as "Busy", "Away", "Be right back" or "In a call"/"On the phone". If you are not in this list, tab until you hear "contact list."
  2. Go to the top of the contacts window and arrow down to the button titled "Other contacts." If the button is collapsed, press right arrow to expand it. Once the button is expanded, you should be able to navigate through the list of contacts that are online by pressing the up and down arrow keys.
  3. Highlight the contact you wish to message and press enter. You should now be in the message input box. Type your message and press enter.
  4. If the person to whom you sent the message chooses to respond while the focus of JAWS is in their conversation window, you should hear clicking noises which indicate when they are typing, followed by JAWS reading the message once they send it. If you receive a message when JAWS is not focused in their conversation Window, you will hear a series of three tones indicating that someone has sent a message. You will not hear the typing indicator for a particular person unless JAWS is focused in his or her respective conversation window.

Reviewing Messages

  1. While in a conversation window, you can view your message history with a particular contact. To do so, make sure you are in the conversation window for the person whose messaging history you wish to view and press shift-tab until you hear "History." You can then navigate the message history using the up and down arrow keys. If you wish to type a message to this contact while in the history field, simply begin typing. It is not necessary to tab back to the message input box.
  2. You can also choose to quickly view the most recent ten messages you have exchanged with a contact by pressing alt with numbers 1 through 9 and 0, with 1 being the most recent and 0 the tenth most recent message.
  3. To switch between conversation windows, press alt-tab until the correct one is highlighted.
Previous Next
This work is supported by the following National Science Foundation Grants: CNS-087508, CNS-0549481, IIS-0811884, IIS-0415273
Send comments to Richard Ladner