[orca-list] Accessibility of Audio Apps (Was: Orca Fails in Studio)Feisty)

Veli-Pekka Tätilä vtatila at mail.student.oulu.fi
Tue May 22 16:08:12 BST 2007

Luke Yelavich wrote:
> I know for a fact, being one of the devs for
> UbuntuStudio, that many applications are not accessible, even if they
> do use GTK2, due to the many custom widgets that are used.
Ouch, I was kinda afraid this would be the case. Whether its OS X or Linux 
I'm switching to some day, music would be one thing I'd definitely have to 
get working and I think Ubuntu Studio is a step toward the write direction, 

If the GUI hassle is anything like in Windows it means:

- People make custom controls often neglecting usability because they: a. 
look cool, b. are portable, c. aren't already built-in.

- Most of the time they forget that knobby things should have a keybord 
interface for manipulating them. I see no reason why knobs could not have 
the same keyboard interface as sliders, for example.

- Not to mention that many inherently graphical things could have a keyboard 
accessible interface. Consider a graphical envelope control with linear 
slopes and n draggable points as in Sound FOrge. there's no reason why you 
could not manually manage the points in a list view and some buttons, its 
not just very handy for the sighted, so stuff like this is not implemented 
very often.

- OFten the system controls could do with some improvements, too. Can you 
re-order, sort by and resize columns in multi-column lists? I think many 
GUis lifted the basic keyboard interface from windows, which has been 
lacking this functionality for ages, for instance.

- And when you go custom enough, people dich the tab order, visual 
affordances and the whole concept of focus as it relates to the keyboard. 
Image-based text that is totally horibly inaccessible and crudely 
magnifiable is a common occurence in plug-ins.

- As a low-vision user conformance to system or user colors would be 
desired, too, but this tends to go, when custom controls enter the picture.

This is my experience in Windows with software like reaktor, new versions of 
Sonar and many VSt plug-ins. IS the situation this bad in your average LInux 
MIDi seq, multi-track recorder and audio plug-ins?

> have a few critical apps that are QT
I know, like Rose Garden which is the LInux equivalent of QWS, I guess. Too 
bad. I still think the multiplicity of GUi libs out there is bad for 
accessibility and consistancy. Actually I would like to use KDe in stead of 
Gnome if i could, to mention but one important example.

> At this point, I'd say UbuntuStudio and accessibility is not going to 
> happen for a long time yet
Howabout the command-line stuff, is EmacsSpeak configured and included? 
Someone hyped super collider to me and I've had some positive experiences 
with the chucK programming language at a Wintel platform, though. It would 
need more reaktor-like high-levl modules to be useful for your average 
modular synth user, who might not want to program new modules compare to the 
Kore technology in Reaktor. Well, that's kinda OT anyway, and I've let the 
ChucK people know on their mailing list some time back, too.

Without several sound cards, there are possible issues with speech, as well, 
I guess:
Can you lock Linux audio to a particular sampling rate, such that 22 kHz 
speech will be upsampled to that, rather than the audio system downsampling 
everything when  there's speech? I can do this with my TerraTec card in 
Windos, which is highly desirable but also card specific.

With kind regards Veli-Pekka Tätilä (vtatila at mail.student.oulu.fi)
Accessibility, game music, synthesizers and programming:

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