Started by senara, May 13, 2014, 23:21:37

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Hello all
I am completely blind and for that reason working with a Screenreader software. I am looking for accessible sample tracking Software. OpenMPT seamed to work at the first look because it uses Standard Windows elements instead of graphical stuff like many other progs do. (congratulations for that!!!)
I cannot use the mouse, so I have to be able to manage the whole prog by using the Keyboard. There are some elements I could not reach such as a certain tree view described in the beginners tutorial. Also I wasn't able to load a sample from Aryx as described in the same tutorial (I cannot see any plus sign, and I don't know how to reach it with the Keyboard (smile))
I was able to load a sample I have made on my own in Audacity, but I was then completely unable to navigate in the Patterns-view. Colomns and rows are not announced by the screenreader, nore did the Braille Display Show anything. I have been to the Keyboard Settings and wonder if they could help me making the prog more accessible?
Accessibility is a great issue for Software like that. Music is an area where blind People can grow, but more and more they are shut out by unaccessible Software for digital Music production. It would be great if OpenMPT could get more accessible! Thanks!

Saga Musix

The tree view should be completely accessible through screen reader software, I cannot really help you on how you would do that, but Diamond (another OpenMPT user relying on screen readers) can probably chime in here and provide help. The tree view is the part of the program that consists of a list of folders usually reading "untitled" (or whatever the current module is called), followed by Orders, Patterns, Samples, Instruments, Plugins, Comments (some of these elements might be missing depending on the module format being used, but you should get the gist here). Regarding the tutorial, the "plus sign" mentioned here is just an icon used in tree view structures to open a folder in the tree, so if you can locate the "Samples" folder in the tree view, you just need to activate it to unfold.
Regarding pattern editing, the pattern editor is unfortunately completely bitmap-driven, and I'm not sure how to make this kind of stuff accessible to screen readers, but what you can do is to copy the whole content of the pattern to the clipboard and then paste it into a text editor - OpenMPT's clipboard format is completely text-driven, which should help a lot. Again, Diamond can probably shed some light on how to best use the pattern editor in this situation.
And yes, there are many unbound keyboard shortcuts that you can make use of. The problem is just that there more shortcuts than actual key combinations. :)
» No support, bug reports, feature requests via private messages - they will not be answered. Use the forums and the issue tracker so that everyone can benefit from your post.


Hello Senara,
As Saga Musix has indicated, I am also a blind user of OpenMPT.  OpenMPT can be used with a screen reader, but there is a bit of a learning curve and it requires some determination.  Over the last few years, I have discretely requested several minor features which have definitely helped in this capacity.  I don't know what screen reader you are using.  I primarily use Jaws myself, but I will try to generalize my instructions where possible.

First, the treeview has to be click with the Jaws cursor or equivalent to receive keyboard focus.  However, you have to make sure that it is visible before you can do that.  By default, Control+F2 is the shortcut for making the treeview visible, but you should probably enable it from the "View" menu under "Toolbars" since your screen reader should say "checked" if it is already visible.  Once you are sure that the treeview is visible, you will have to look for it using your Jaws or equivalent virtual cursor.  Start from the top of the window and look for any lines that say "sequence", "patterns", "samples", or "instruments".  These are branches of the treeview and clicking on any of them will give it keyboard focus.

As for loading samples, you first have to be in the "Samples" tab.  The default shortcut for switching to the "Samples" tab is Alt+S.  Once you are in the "Samples" tab, the buttons to load/save samples and to add a new sample slot are graphical and normally have to be clicked.  However, thanks to one of my older feature requests, these buttons can be assigned keyboard shortcuts, but they are not assigned by default.  You will have to assign them in the "Keyboard" tab of OpenMPT's settings under the "Sample Editor" category.  These same shortcuts will also work on the "Instruments" tab for loading/saving instruments and for adding a new instrument slot.  When assigning shortcuts, you will have to use the virtual cursor as well to click the "Apply" button since tab navigation does not work once you are in the hotkey capture field.

The pattern view is where things get tricky.  I believe the pattern data is rendered as a bitmap and I do not think this could easily be made more accessible to screen readers without some major changes.  You mostly have to keep track of where you are mentally.  Although the status bar does display the current row and channel/column.  This information is readable by screen readers and at least with Jaws, Insert+Numpad3 will read it without having to resort to the virtual cursor.  Another trick which I figured out for retrieving the current note/channel, is to open the "Note Properties" dialog.  When the dialog first opens, Jaws at least will automatically speak the current row and channel.  The default shortcut for opening the "Note Properties" dialog is the Applications key.  You can jump around the pattern quickly by using the "Goto" dialog which by default can be accessed with Control+G.  This was yet another feature request of mine and it has been quite useful.

So in conclusion, OpenMPT can be used by the blind with screen readers as is, but it does require some patience initially.  If you have any other questions, feel free to ask and I will answer to the best of my ability.


I forgot to mention that once you are in the treeview, you can also use the shortcut Control+Enter to add the selected sample to the currently active sample or instrument slot.  Haha, this was yet another feature request of mine which Saga Musix was kind enough to recently implement.  I think you will find that the developers are willing to add reasonable feature requests as long as you are patient.


Something else occurs to me which helps track your position in the pattern view, is the fact that there are several ways of navigating using the keyboard.  For example, you can jump up/down by beat or measure using the Alt+PageUp/Down and PageUp/Down shortcuts respectively.  There are many other similar examples.  Too many to list here, but you can find them in the manual.

Saga Musix

Quote from: Diamond on May 15, 2014, 03:03:24I forgot to mention that once you are in the treeview, you can also use the shortcut Control+Enter to add the selected sample to the currently active sample or instrument slot.
I have to add that this only works with the sample browser part of the tree view though - in the module browser (the part that is used to load a sample from Aryx in the tutorial), Ctrl+Enter is used to edit the labels (i.e. rename the selected sample rather than importing it). However, it is possible to load a module into the sample browser as well by locating the module file in the instrument browser (another item in the tree view). Activating aryx.s3m from this location will add its samples to the sample browser.
» No support, bug reports, feature requests via private messages - they will not be answered. Use the forums and the issue tracker so that everyone can benefit from your post.