Home Forums Pianobook Blindness And The Challenges Of Samples

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  • #1830
    Kiko
    Participant

    So I just finished up a video on my channel about the challenges blind people face in creating music and thought I should extend the conversation here, Since Pianobook is very much a community for sharing inspiration and tools and trying to make tools as available as possible.

    For my part I am only low vision, While I am legally blind and have challenges, I can still use tools as intended for the most part, But alot of my good friends in the blind community have extreme difficulties in using alot of very simple and standard tools. And samples are a big one. I know I have inquired before about trying to label UI in Kontakt or make presets that show up in Native Access, And part of this is because the UI that any of us can have and use in Kontakt or Decent Sampler is simply invisible to blind users. Alot of the great instruments being shared here can not be used unless in Logic with EXS, and of course then making them very simple and losing the UI control options. Not to mention only being available to a certain group who own the right stuff.

    What I would personally love to see is something that makes these tools more standardised and accessible so that I and my business partner at True North Audio can make tools easily and even available freely, for our friends in the blind community. It would be especially cool to see Decent Sampler become an accessible alternative to the other options out there and open up more doors for more people. This is a conversation I have been having, and for those who have no other choice but to consider this on the daily, It is a conversation that must be had. There is not choice in it.

    I’ve linked the video here below for anyone who is interested.

    #3406
    Synthiemental
    Participant

    High Myopia guy here (though I can still see well enough to do most of my daily activities without additional tools, except for my glasses). Thanks for the demonstration, very interesting to learn how screen reading works!

    It would indeed be great if Decent Sampler supported that functionality. If it’s really mainly about text-to-speech accessibility of parameter names and values, it should not be too difficult to implement. Maybe you can contact David Hilowitz directly? He is a very approachable and generous guy!

    Another idea: currently there is active development in the Sfizz sampler, which is set to become a modern sample player for the .sfz format (the other main player for that format, Sforzando, has not been actively developed any further since quite some time and lacks a few features that Sfizz already has). They are open to feature suggestions.

    Here is the download: https://sfz.tools/sfizz/downloads
    Here you can file a request / issue: https://github.com/sfztools/sfizz/issues

    Speaking of Ableton: you can make fonts much larger and use different themes for better contrast, but you have probably tried this before I guess?

    #3624
    Kiko
    Participant

    Cheers, I would love to approach Dave about it, But myself not being a programmer I have wanted to at least try and get insight that allows me to try and approach him with a solution or some understanding of how to implement accessibility. Or at the least a good contact for someone who can help.

    I’ll look into Sfizz as well. I have played with Ableton some, But it’s also not a great feature to have to tweak everything I need to start using a program, Ultimately I am happy with my DAW and Ableton’s cost makes it not really worth the consideration for myself personally. Though no real issue. Appreciate the feedback.

    #4209
    Paul
    Participant

    Hi! I’m one of sfizz’s developer. Just to be a bit clearer, what would be necessary? I have absolutely no clue about this kind of thing, although I know there are provisions in operating systems for this kind of accessibility. Logic EXS has this text-to-speech functionality?

    #4210
    Eamon Coughlan
    Participant

    Is this a problem with Kontakt, or with individual instrument UIs etc.? Is there something we can do as instrument-makers to make our instruments more accessible, like including the Kontakt default knob labels in the UI for text-to-speech functions to work off?. The lack of an easy way to add custom text to Kontakt GUI (most people seem to add custom text in the background image) is one of the main reasons I’ve been opting for minimalist UIs with the stock knobs and labels.

    #4211
    Kiko
    Participant

    It is a problem with Kontakt itself. And the UI is only half the problem, the parts of the engine to load in an instrument without targeting the instrument file itself are not there. You can of course target the instrument file, however this also loads it into Kontakt stand alone and won’t work in the DAW. So far only NKS licensed libraries can be loaded accessibly through Komplete Kontrol. Right now it’s out of our hands without paying NI for NKS support.

    #4212
    Kiko
    Participant

    Sadly I am not a developer in any way fluent enough to say what specifically would need to be present, But for those using text to speech the main tools are Apple’s “Voice Over Utility” built into the OS, and Windows users are either working with “NVDA” or “JAWS”. EXS and Logic on the whole are developed by Apple, so they are already built to be compatible with the voice over utility.

    What would need to be figured out if possible is either, How to make UI elements readable by the screen reader technology, Or to add in some level of screen reader access that can be in the engine and initialised by some element that is readable by an outside reader.

    A good place to start may be to reach out to either an accessibility developer, Or even to an instructor in accessible technology like my friend Tony, who can at least point you towards some possible people to help. Tony’s info is in the video description. I know he has one friend who’s been trying to work with Native Instruments on Accessibility and may be able to connect you. Thank you for your comment by the way.

    #4213
    Synthiemental
    Participant

    Just a quick update: I added the text to speech / screenreader accessibility as a feature suggestion for Sfizz. Sfizz is a sample playback engine for the SFZ format and also supports Decent Sampler format. Paul, the developer says he will look into it and see whether they can implement it in a future update, but it depends on the ability of the GUI framework they use during development to support this function.

    https://github.com/sfztools/sfizz/issues/1046

    #4239
    Kiko
    Participant

    Very awesome, Obviously there is no saying how easy or doable it will be, But if it can be made to work that would be amazing. Best of luck and keep me posted on it if you have anything to post.

    #4247
    Synthiemental
    Participant

    Sure, will keep you updated!

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