Mairlist for the blind

Hi,

At first, sorry for my english. :slight_smile: My name is Michal. I am blind DJ from Poland. I downloaded Mairlist few days ago and in my opinion it could be a good program. Unfortunately it dos’nt work propperly with my screen reader called Window-eyes www.gwmicro.com Screen reader is a program talking me what is on a screen displayed. If you are interested in, you could download a demo version and test it yourself. First sugestion is to use in Mairlist only standard controls like treeviews, listviews etc. First problem i have is with playlist. and other lists of music. When i am moving in playlist i don’t know, when i am, because program did’nt tel me this information. I think it is caused by nonstandard control used to display playlist. Good made playlist is for example in raduga or Zararadio. next sugestion is to make all controls of Mairlist like buttons, checkboxes clickable graphics with text description. For example when in advanced PFL i have to set markers, when i am pressing tab i hear:
-described slider

  • described “pause” button
    -described “0” button
    -described “end mon”- button
  • described "+"button
  • described "-"button
    -described “set” button
    So i don’t know i am in the same settings again, or i go to next setting. My sugestion is for intro buttons text intro, np. intro set, intro+ intro-, for outro outro set, outro+, outro- etc.
    Last sugestion is to add shortcuts to moving track on a playlist, for example:
    ctrl+shift+cursor up - move up, ctrl+shift+ cursor down - move down, ctrl+shift+home - move at top of playlist.
    Ok, at this time thats all, because when playlist and other lists are not ridden propperly i have trouble with advanced testing, if you are interested, you could download free demo of window-eyes and test blind work with Mairlist yourself. :slight_smile:

Michal,

thanks for these comments. It is very interesting to learn about the experience of a blind person with my software.

The reason why there are so many custom controls is that the standard controls are not flexible enough to provide all the (visual) features the users ask for. For example, they want different fonts and colors. This cannot be done with a standard list view.

The good news is that the internal architecture of mAirList precisely distinguishes between control classes and GUI. That is to say, all of the screen elements could be exchanged by similar elements, made up of standard controls, and designed explictly for blind people. You could then set an option in mAirList’s configuration, and mAirList will start-up in the “blind people” mode. Of course, it takes a little work to prepare the controls (especially, playlist and players) this way, but it is possible.

I will download that software you are using so that I get an idea of how it works and how mAirList would have to be like.

Torben

I will download that software you are using so that I get an idea of how it works and how mAirList would have to be like.
Nice info. :-) If you will experience any problem with Window-eyes, contact me.

a friend of mine uses jaws (another popular screen reader). we have tested a 1.x build and it was nearly unusable. we will try a new build soon and report our experiences here.

An idea I had was to use scripts for live assist (e.g. a script that counts down ramps and outro on a separate soundcard with beeps or spoken numbers… might be confusing, but might also be helpful if you can’t see ramp and ending times)

Christoph

I have been thinking about this, and Christoph’s idea seems quite reasonable - instead of redesigning the GUI so that it uses standard controls which can then be read out by a special software, why not create a GUI (or rather an “AUI”, “acoustic user interface”) that generates the audible messages itself?

It’s just an idea. I’m not too experienced with how blind people use a computer. (We once had a blind colleague at our station, but he needed much assistance.)

Torben

why not create a GUI (or rather an "AUI", "acoustic user interface") that generates the audible messages itself?
This idea is great for games for example, but not for serious work. First, a CPU is more used by this interface. Second, person using this need separated soundcart to listen informations from this. For example, I have speciall hardvare synthesizer, and headphones conected to it. Im not only using radio sowtware when making my show, but for example a web browser, instand messaging software, etc. If you il create talking gui itself, i will must switching a pfl on my mixer between soundcart with this "gui" and main output. In my opinion the best way is a simple, standard gui with standard controls. Jaws, and Window Eyes will recognize it, i'm sure. :-)

In case anyone is still interested in this topic, I have now finally started to prepare a screenreader-friendly version of mAirList which uses Windows standard controls for the playlist (almost finished already) and the players. This is because I got an enquiry from a group of blind people from a community radio in northern Germany who are going to display their studio during this year’s Cebit trade fair in Hannover next month. And now that mAirList 3.0 with its modular architecture is available, it was fairly easy to replace some GUI objects with screenreader-friendly ones.

Currently, this version is available as a separate snapshot. It will eventually be merged into the official mAirList release once it is finished. For the moment, you can download it from http://www.mairlist.com/download/mAirList/v3.0/blind/. Also make sure to grab the mAirListBlind.bat batch file which will run mAirList with “blind mode” enabled.

Hi Torben,

this is still interesting for us, so we will try your “blind” version in the next weeks (hopefully we will meet on sunday and can already test it).

Christoph

Just wanted to say that your effort in this is much appreciated Torben - even though we don’t have any blind presenters yet, I’m pretty sure we might have some in the future, and the same probably goes for many community radio stations, so it’s good to know there is something for them on the horizon…
I have to agree with midzi that using well-labelled standard controls (and allowing users to utilise their screen reader of choice) should make a lot more flexible solution, rather than teaching mAirlist to speak (so to speak ;D).

Torben,
Very nice information. I downloaded the Mairlist Version for the blind and playlist works fine. There is only problem with songs with long titles or artists, e.g. A Teens gimme, gimme, gimme, (A man after midnight), Screen Reader reads only Gimme Gimme Gimme A man aft %time% a teens. When i’ll back from my holidays after 25th, I can write more about experiencing with this version, now only few thinks you should think about:
1: A serious problem are the lists with values they may be checked or not. My ScreenReader isn’t able to recognize status. This list is for example in advanced PFL dialog, on the tab called Options. There is list with values E.G. Special Item, Exclude from Backtiming etc. That lists are in config too, and in most cases i must gues values of that options, orr editing manualy the config.
As the helpful information for you, in the instalation program, the list with components to install is great, I can read status is it checked, or not.
2: In the Mairlist Configuration tool, im not able to go by pressing the down arrow in to next item after “Notification scripts” i must use the mouse emulation.

Michal,

glad to hear that you’re still around and interested in this topic.

I’m sorry to hear that the TCheckListBox component used for the on/off options doesn’t seem to be compatible, but to be honest, I don’t really know what to use instead. Using single ordinary checkboxes is not an option, because all these option lists are generated automatically which makes it very easy for me to introduce new options. I just need to write two lines of code (one declaring the internal name used in the source code and .ini file, and one declaring the text used in the config tool and menus), and the option is instantly available in all parts of the software, including the new line and check box in the config dialog. This saves me so much time!

One thing I could do is add the text of the current state (“on” or “off”) at the end of the normal text. It’s a little work to update to make the lists update the text as you changed them, but that would solve the problem, wouldn’t it?

The reason why you can’t navigate below the Notification Scripts item is that the item below, “Actions”, does not have a config page associated with it. I can solve this by adding a dummy page to it.

Please understand that the current goal is to enable a blind person to operate the software, while the configuration might still need some assistance by a non-blind person. I’m aware that there are still parts, in particular in the configuration program and some special features, which cannot be handled by a screenreader, but I won’t be able to fix any single of them in the short term.

Ofcourse, that will be OK.

The reason why you can't navigate below the Notification Scripts item is that the item below, "Actions", does not have a config page associated with it. I can solve this by adding a dummy page to it.
And that will be OK too. :-)
Please understand that the current goal is to enable a blind person to operate the software, while the configuration might still need some assistance by a non-blind person. I'm aware that there are still parts, in particular in the configuration program and some special features, which cannot be handled by a screenreader, but I won't be able to fix any single of them in the short term.
Yes, i understand it. But, i don't think, it will be so hard work. Most work you did by making able adding shortcuts to most of operations, and it's excelend for blind users. In old versions of mairlist i was having only few problems, but i was still using this software, because with it i was able to create nice program. Now, I am sure it will be better. :-)

Next problem i found, and it wasn’t in older version of mairlist is adding shortcuts. When I am pressing a keystroke im not able to select an action. In older version there was a combo box with possible values, now it’s an editbox, and I can type command manualy, ofcourse, but really there isn’t a list of possible commands? It was very usefull.

There is one. In the newer versions, you first select a key, then click “Add”. The key will then be added to the table above, and in the table, there is a combo box next to each entry where you can pick the command.

Ok, i am pressing key, clicking add. Now really, there is list, but i can’t enter it. I have only first command displayed, it is pause. I have scroldown arrow to enter the list too, but, when i am clicking command, or this arrow, it does’nt work, im not able to enter the list and select comand

Ok, so this Delphi component (TValueListEditor) is obviously not keyboard-friendly.

Perhaps yes. Are you able, when click on the list with standard computer mouse select command from this list using down arrow key?

Sure. There’s the small arrow on the right, and when you click it, the list pops up. Just like an ordinary drop-down combo box.

After few tries, Window-eyes started speaking somethink. But unfortunatelly not always and sometimes it is not currently selected walue, or e.g. next or previous. Perhaps i’ll be able to create a workaround using scripts included in WE, but there is no guarantee it will be spoken properly in Jaws or other software, and users of this will must create they own scripts. So if you will be able in blind mode inplement method from v.2, it will be nice. But, it means, that config will have to be running in speciall mode too.

Let me please clarify that I will not be able to make the whole software screenreader-compatible.

I will also not be able two maintain two separate “blind” and “non-blind” versions of mAirList. This is simply too much work. At the moment, it’s only a separate download because I’m working on it and want to provide a snapshot more often. Later it will be merged into the main branch of mAirList, which means that the “blind GUI” is available in each official mAirList release. It is started by running the mAirListBlind.bat file which runs mAirList with the “-mode blind” parameter, requesting it to use the “blind GUI main window” instead of the normal one. The config dialog will be the same, there will be no “blind config dialog”.

So all I can do is to try making the ordinary config dialog screenreader-compatible whenever possible. I will try to do so but cannot promise that it will work all the time.

For the moment, I concentrate on making the operation of mAirList possible for blind people. For the configuration, you are requested to ask for assistance by a non-blind person.