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Jolly Jan
2009-05-16, 12:25
Greetings to everyone who is reading this!!!

I would like your permission to address an issue for the visually impaired. May I do so, please?

I am a student at CSULA (California State University - Los Angeles) and am a disabled student. I chose to write my thesis for my Master of Arts degree on the topic of The Benefits of Internet Radio for the Visually Impaired.

In particular I am interested in your excellent Squeezebox products, especially the Squeezebox Boom and the open source software it supports.

If it is okay, I would like feedback from any customer(s) who is(are) visually impaired who got your Speezebox Boom because I have already successfully interviewed a representative of your company in Sales about it, and he said he had good feedback from a number of visually impaired at how easy it was to use the up-down left-right arrow and just remember how many times to press it to get to their favorite, and would you have any other comment at the benefit this device has over a conventional way of listening to Internet radio by not having to connect through a standard desktop computer in the house, and does anyone use their Speezebox Boom outside of the home in an area with WIFI capabilities like at school where you often hear of some students taking their laptops and listening to music in the background while they study when they are by a WIFI Internet friendly reception place on campus within range, or is the Squeebox Boom mainly used at home by the sighted mostly on account of its price?

I did a survey questionnaire about this topic which I broadcast on this Internet radio station that you CAN access from Squeezebox, it is on the list! It is on a radio station called the American Radio Network broadcasting Kaledisoscope Radio Magazine shows with my show Jolly Jan with What's Your Viewpoint sometimes heard on KCLAFM


Thanks
Blessings
Jolly Jan
1-310-358-9941

kh6idf
2009-05-17, 06:57
I'm not visually impaired, but I think what would be really useful would be if the menus were read aloud. We already have the audio system after all, and the Squeezebox is capable of playing various sounds (look under the extras menu, there are lots of short sound effects there). If there were an option that would play short speech samples corresponding to every time a different menu item is selected it could read aloud the current display. This might make a great project for someone to work on.

mherger
2009-05-17, 07:52
We have a web skin for SC which is optimized for screenreaders. It's
called "ScreenReader" :-). I know a user who's using it to control his
Squeezeboxen with a Nokia E65 mobile phone and Talx (or similar)
text-to-speech software.

Michael

bobkoure
2009-05-19, 06:42
IMHO, for visually impaired, an audio user interface might be the way to go.
- Navigate via voice input (limited vocabulary / multiple users was quite usable last I checked).
- specific "action in progress" sounds
- speech-to-text for listing albums, artists, track numbers, genres, etc.

I did some work in this area (access to Notes databases via phone / audio only) in the mid-90's, and can tell you that most users "think" about access differently without the instant random access available by just moving your eyes around a display already up on a screen. So doing something like this would be non-trivial.
And so far, there's been one request, and that person posted once and disappeared. And it's not at all clear that this's what they might have wanted, anyway.
Maybe when car computers become more common, and there's a larger audience who would like to control a SB in an "eyes busy / hands busy" situation...

Jolly Jan
2009-05-26, 22:04
This sounds wonderful! Just wondering what other recommendations?

Best wishes
Blessings
Janine (Jolly Jan!)
(310) 358-9941


IMHO, for visually impaired, an audio user interface might be the way to go.
- Navigate via voice input (limited vocabulary / multiple users was quite usable last I checked).
- specific "action in progress" sounds
- speech-to-text for listing albums, artists, track numbers, genres, etc.

I did some work in this area (access to Notes databases via phone / audio only) in the mid-90's, and can tell you that most users "think" about access differently without the instant random access available by just moving your eyes around a display already up on a screen. So doing something like this would be non-trivial.
And so far, there's been one request, and that person posted once and disappeared. And it's not at all clear that this's what they might have wanted, anyway.
Maybe when car computers become more common, and there's a larger audience who would like to control a SB in an "eyes busy / hands busy" situation...

jo-wie
2009-05-30, 07:29
IMHO, for visually impaired, an audio user interface might be the way to go.

...

- specific "action in progress" sounds


What about a voice telling the menu numbers? Could use pre-recorded voice clips or text to speech. I do not know if a free text to speech system is available.

Edit: not at every click only after a delay or key press, to be a sign when you get lost.

Jena
2009-05-30, 10:28
First, I'd like to say Thank You to the two gentlemen who helped me find this forum, and then this thread.

I'm totally blind, and I haven't yet purchased a Squeezebox Boom. I was unsure whether or not it would be accessible, so the posts in this thread are very encouraging. If one can use the arrow keys and memorize the menus, that's fantastic.

As for suggestions for making the product more accessible, the idea about having the Squeezebox speak channels numbers is excellent. Personally, I would take any improvement for accessibility, no matter how small. The Boom doesn't have to do everything for me, just as long as it's accessible in some fashion.

Did I understand correctly that from the "extras" menu, you can configure the Squeezebox Boom to play sounds when various keys are pressed? That would be wonderful!

Here's a link to my topic. It might give some insight into the way blind individuals interact with technology.

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=427793#post427793

Jena
2009-06-01, 08:53
I just thought I'd let you all know I'm buying a Squeezebox Boom today. The store doesn't have the universal remote, so I'll wait on that. But I'll let you know how it works out.

Jena
2009-06-05, 05:34
These days, it's rare to get surprised in a good way when you buy a product. I was hoping for minimal accessibility with the Squeezebox Boom, and I found a product that surpassed all my expectations.

I was afraid the setup would be difficult for my sighted assistant, after I'd read the quickstart guide. He was done in thirty minutes, and I was on Squeezenetwork, independently setting up all my accounts with the Slimdevices partners. Within the hour, I was adding favorites, and listening to music! :-)

I wish all web developers would take their cues from the Squeezenetwork site! It is one of the most accessible sites I've ever found, and of special note is the on-site player. I was able to do things with my Slacker and Pandora stations from the Squeezenetwork site, that I've been unable to do from the original sites! Every button is clearly labeled on the player, so that i can control the Boom from my computer, which is something i could not do with the other wifi radio I own.

This weekend, I hope to explore the actual player more, and see if it's going to be accessible without the computer. But even if it isn't, I've learned that I can buy a universal remote, and access all my favorite music that way. So either way, this is the best $300 I've spent in a long time.

I think it would be very simple and inexpensive to give the Boom even more accessibility features. If I could make suggestions, I would add;
1. the option for click sounds to the scroll wheel
2. speaking menus where the options are consistent (for example, "home" "now playing" etc.)
3. speaking channel numbers

I'll let you know how things are going as they develop. But again, thank you to the developers of the Boom for a wonderful product!

jo-wie
2009-06-08, 13:00
I've filed an enhancement request

http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=12306

Declan Moriarty
2009-06-09, 14:58
I am registered blind in the UK and have bought a Slim Devices squeezebox 3 (with Slim Services) on the front from eBay. Very good product. I did research on these products and found the Squeezebox was the best for my requirements. I wanted to connect it to my Hi-Fi.

I chose not to get the Boom because I wanted to connect the device to the Hi-Fi and having speakers built in wasn't necessary and was too expensive.

The Duet was out because the remote I felt was difficult (very hard to read - no magnification available). I tried to see the remote in action but was unable to do so. I saw the Sonos remote in action but it was impossible to read so that was out. There is an Internet Radio from the Blind available from the British Wireless For The Blind Fund in the in the UK but they wanted 27 or so I think par year for the privilege of Internet Radio that I wasn't prepared to pay. (To be fair they were offering Talking Newspapers and RNIB's streaming Talking Book Service (although you have to pay for that separately)).

I do have some sight so can read the display of the Squeezebox and the large fonts are marvellous. Even the smaller fonts are readable up close. The viewing angles are good, and the remote control is good.

Having a Duet controller that could talk to you or one that could be magnified would be useful. You could then control Squeezeboxes, Booms and receivers. The idea of buying a mobile phone and Talks software just to control a music player whose remote control is unusable doesn't appeal. I have just replaced my 10 year old inaccessible mobile phone with a Motorola F3 Fone that is excellent. It doesn't have wi-fi internet capabilities but it was less than 20. I have found it immensely difficult to get accessible mobile phones in UK. The shops no nothing and don't take responsibility!

Audio feedback as to where you are in menus seems a good idea at first. But I wonder how useful it would be in practice (I use print not Braille). The problem is that nearly all the menu options are either your music collection or internet radio stations. The way Rock Box solves this is to have Voice Files for fixed menus and .talk files that go into your Music Library and are played every time you select a menu item. As you scroll down the menus the .talk files are read out to you. Rockbox is open source firmeware for MP3 players. I have an iAUDIO X5 which is great with Rockbox!

The comment about Harmony remote controls was interesting. Checking on Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0012RHQN4/400001208-21/?m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE

I find it is a touch screen remote! Again small type on the screen and poor contrast. The rest of the remote looked OK, but because of the touch screen and the small type it would be useless for a totally blind person and very difficult/ next to useless for someone who has severe sight loss.

I worry about how long the Boom will be in production given the emphesis on the Duet. What are the supplies of VFD's like?

Note although you can control these players using a laptop, I didn't go down that route since I wanted a stand allone music streamer not a fully fledged laptop. To have to buy a laptop just to access a Reciever because I couldn't use the Duet controler rather defeated the purpose.

Finally the Squeexebox 3 is an excellent product - the only affordable accessible Internet Radio/Music Streamer on the market. The Boom replaces it in this category. However the Boom has it's own speakers. For someone like me who has a Hi-Fi already this is a bit disappointing. You have to get it online new where you can or go second hand. (Although Second Hand is cheaper). The idea that the SqueezeBox 3 could disappear to be replaced only with the Boom or unusable Duet; or Very Expensive Transporter doesn't appeal.

One final general suggestion would be to make the players Squeezeboxes/Duets/Receivers/Transporters use DNS names. This would allow people to use DCHP servers properly without having to re-configure things each time the player had it's address changed. The player name at the moment is used by the server and is not part of the DNS system. My firewall has my 2nd PC's DNS name programmed in, but my Squeezebox IP address.

Again the Squeezebox is a very good player. And again a talking/magnified Duet would be VERY useful. Being able to use the database in the Music Library in SqueezeCenter is very good. In Rockbox when you use the Database this items are spelled out to you. Although there is no speech in SqueezeBox being able to read the menus in large print on the display and navigate in Albums rather than through the Artist/Albums Directories that I have in my Library is very welcome!