'Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus'

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Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius dev... - Hu Haipeng, 28 Feb 11:21AM
     Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 01 Mar 10:52PM
         Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 01 Mar 11:19PM
             Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Hu Haipeng, 01 Mar 11:33PM
             Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 01 Mar 11:34PM
                 Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 02 Mar 12:08AM
                     Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Hu Haipeng, 02 Mar 12:55AM
                         Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 03 Mar 09:46PM
                             Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Hu Haipeng, 03 Mar 10:31PM
                                 Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 06 Mar 11:59PM

Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Hu Haipeng - 28 Feb 11:21AM
Hello,
I just bought Sibelius this month. As a blind musician, I use it with NVDA and a CHinese screen reader, with the help of the Sight Impaired plugins and instructions from Bob Zawalich and Kevin Gibs. Although most of the functions are accessible, I still found many important places can't be accessed by blind people. So I sum up all issues I can think of, and list them here. The Sibelius developers and/or plugin writers can freely discuss here, to make solutions for blind musicians by either invent plugins or improve the software in the next version.
1. The most obvious problem is, no matter what screen reader we use, articulations and playing techniques entered using keypad are not read, and we can't select them even using shortcuts in the reference guide. Or perhaps we have selected them, but no readout, and our operations such as deletion or hiding always apply to the note, not the articulations.
2. Lines are not read correctly. Currently, a line may be read as "begin from bar 1, beat 2 to bar 1 beat 2 percent" (I translate it from Chinese, so it may be different in English, but the issue is the same). The correct announcement must be for example: "crescendo line, from bar 4 beat 3.5 to bar 5 beat 4".
3. For keyboard and harp music, the most serious problem is we can't place dynamics or texts between staves correctly. This is because the distance of the texts varies from note to note. Could anyone figure out a solution by writing a plugin to place selected text(s) between staves? Or can the future version of Sibelius include an auto-placing function to process selected text(s) to the correct middle place between staves?
4. Another critical problem for a pianist is arpeggios connecting two or more staves. This needs a mouse drag which can't be achieved by blind musicians. Can we invent a function that connects arpeggios? For blind musicians, we can enter arpeggio lines in individual chord or voice in a staff, and when pressing a key or running a plugin on the selected chord(s), Sibelius can detect whether there's or ther're arpeggio lines in other staves (sometimes there are 3 staves in complex piano music), and connect them together. Lilypond has a command to make connected arpeggios automatically, so I believe Sibelius can do this more easily.
5. Some places can't be read: lyrics, tables in the More Option dialog of text, line and symbol galleries, and More Options in other places such as clefs. We can't choose things in that places to get advanced options. Also, tables in Edit dialog of lines, texts and symbols are also covered by this issue. Therefore, we can't create a customized line such as a dashed system line with text "poco a poco a tempo". I need such a thing because there are 3 measures in my piece requiring gradual return of the original tempo.
6. How can we work with inspectors and barlines? They are all not accessible by keyboard. The inspector does have a shortcut, but one must click the displayed inspector to get keyboard focused there. Only some checkboxes are readable, and we can't change anything. For this reason, although we can make system or page breaks using the "breaks" plugin, we can't create section end, or change the property of a barline, e.g., to make normal barlines of a passage into dotted barlines.
7. How can we work with brackets and braces? Although Sibelius can group instruments as we adding them, sometimes there must be some exceptions, e.g., the violin solo should be out of brace in a violin concerto. If we can go to the bracket or brace, and use shortcuts to extend, shorten and delete it, we can control the grouping conveniently.
8. How can we control instrument names? Although we can edit instrument names using a plugin, but the complicated names such as the ones with some line breaks can't be written in the plugin. The Return simply ends the plugin. Also, this way can't set formatting and font related options to the names.
9. How can we work with blank pages? There are no shortcuts for us to jump to a blank page, only a draggable slider is available. What's more, when we want to enter text on it, we must click the page to make the creation context menu available. After choosing a text style, we must click a second time, although Sibelius can correctly place specified text to its correct place. If we want to create a preface or instrument list in Sibelius, we have to ask sighted assistance. This is not ideal if we want to work with complex projects which needs lots of clicks.
10. Sibelius's Musicxml export is important to blind musicians, because we can convert our scores into braille to read. However, the internal export function doesn't work well on system texts and special symbols; while Manuscript Language has problems and limits Dolet's result. The latter issue is the "stemwightcross" function, which doesn't work at all. Therefore, for piano music, Dolet can't export cross-staff notes correctly.
11. At last, can the future development of Sibelius make the Mixer window accessible? Although this is not a critical issue, it's important to adjust something there to make a better blance of sounds in Sibelius playback.
Sorry for so many issues, but these are all important to blind musicians. We don't expect all the above solved in the next version, but the references are here, and we can continuously discuss and improve them. Sibelius is the only accessible mainstream engraving software currently, so we hope it become more friendly to the blind in the future.
Thank you in advance!

Regards
Haipeng

A Chinese blind musician, founder of BrailleOrch and Open Braille Music Project.
Windows 10 Pro and Pro for workstation
Sibelius 2018.1, Finale 25.5, Dolet plugins, Noteperformer
Sonar 8.5.3, Reaper, Vienna Symphonic Library Super Package and many other libraries

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Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Bob Zawalich - 01 Mar 10:52PM (edited 01 Mar 11:24PM)
Re #9: I have updated the Instrument List plugin (category Text) so that it can put the list on any blank pages that immediately follow the title page (i.e., pages prior to bar 1) as well as on the title page. You can read about it here. I am hoping the a number of changes I made will make it easier to use for sight impaired users.

Also, the text styles will now work even if run in a non English version.

It is described here:

http://www.sibelius.com/cgi-bin/helpcenter/chat/chat.pl?com=thread&start=723119&groupid=3&

I am looking into a few possibilities of possible writing to or navigating to a location at least near to blank pages.

Unfortunately a plugin can only navigate to bars, not pages (which to Sibelius are just collections of bars), so one can figure out which bars blank pages are attached to, but we cannot select a blank page itself.

Might be awhile before I have anything to show for that...



--
Bob

An experienced user of Sibelius. Sib 1.2 - 8, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, 32 G RAM. Year 2018.
For plugin lookup and categories see https://www.nycmusicservices.com/musicresources
For manual plugin installation see http://www.sibelius.com/download/plugins/index.html?help=install

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Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Bob Zawalich - 01 Mar 11:19PM
Re: #1. There are a number of things that can only be selected with a mouse, and these include articulations, stems, ties, and other note properties, bar numbers and page numbers.

There is now way to select these with a keyboard.

Filters do not work on them, though you can select notes that have the desired properties, and in some cases, such as changing or toggling articulations or ties, this works pretty well.

--
Bob

An experienced user of Sibelius. Sib 1.2 - 8, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, 32 G RAM. Year 2018.
For plugin lookup and categories see https://www.nycmusicservices.com/musicresources
For manual plugin installation see http://www.sibelius.com/download/plugins/index.html?help=install

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Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Hu Haipeng - 01 Mar 11:33PM
Thank you Bob for the improvements of the Instrument list plugin, and this makes us easily put instrument lists. Currently we have to go with the help of such plugins, and we hope the future Sibelius can do better on accessible navigations.

Haipeng


--
A Chinese blind musician, founder of BrailleOrch and Open Braille Music Project.
Windows 10 Pro and Pro for workstation
Sibelius 2018.1, Finale 25.5, Dolet plugins, Noteperformer
Sonar 8.5.3, Reaper, Vienna Symphonic Library Super Package and many other libraries

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Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Bob Zawalich - 01 Mar 11:34PM
Re: #4

Lines in Sibelius are defined with respect to a single staff only. This applies to note attached arpeggios and magnetic glisses as well.

A plugin, such as Line Between Notes, can draw lines between notes on different staves, but a plugin does not know the actual distance between the staves. It does know the default distance, and Line Between Notes does a pretty good job when the staves are the default distance apart, as in the example in the attached screenshot (which I realize you will not be able to see).

I would not expect multi staff lines to show up any time soon, though you never know. Some interesting things have happened lately. It would probably wreak havoc on existing plugins and conversions back to previous version formats.

The fact that another program has a particular feature does not really bear on how difficult it would be to implement in Sibelius.


--
Bob

An experienced user of Sibelius. Sib 1.2 - 8, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, 32 G RAM. Year 2018.
For plugin lookup and categories see https://www.nycmusicservices.com/musicresources
For manual plugin installation see http://www.sibelius.com/download/plugins/index.html?help=install
Attachment snap1.png (45K)

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Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Bob Zawalich - 02 Mar 12:08AM (edited 02 Mar 12:09AM)
Re: #8: 8. How can we control instrument names? Although we can edit instrument names using a plugin, but the complicated names such as the ones with some line breaks can't be written in the plugin. The Return simply ends the plugin. Also, this way can't set formatting and font related options to the names.


The plugin Edit Instrument Names will add a line feed to the name if you type \n\ where the line should break. It will also accept a number of formatting wildcards, as described in the Reference in the Wildcards section called "Adding formatting changes to Score Info data" (excerpted in the 2nd screenshot. While the wildcards are documented as affecting the Score Info/BackStage/ File tab fields, you can also use them in text you are editing in the score, or, as in this case, in dialog boxes.

Not all of them work, but many do. It is bit like writing in HTML or TROFF, or Score, for that matter, but there are times when it comes in handy, even if not elegant.

The Help button discusses some of this, though it could probably be written more clearly.


--
Bob

An experienced user of Sibelius. Sib 1.2 - 8, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, 32 G RAM. Year 2018.
For plugin lookup and categories see https://www.nycmusicservices.com/musicresources
For manual plugin installation see http://www.sibelius.com/download/plugins/index.html?help=install
Attachments snap1.png (83K), Wildcards formatting.png (138K)

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Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Hu Haipeng - 02 Mar 12:55AM
Ok, thank you!

--
A Chinese blind musician, founder of BrailleOrch and Open Braille Music Project.
Windows 10 Pro and Pro for workstation
Sibelius 2018.1, Finale 25.5, Dolet plugins, Noteperformer
Sonar 8.5.3, Reaper, Vienna Symphonic Library Super Package and many r libraries

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Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Bob Zawalich - 03 Mar 09:46PM
Re: #9: I have written a new plugin Move Text to Blank Page (in category Sight-impaired) that will let you create a piece of text anywhere in the score and move or copy it to a blank page or title page with an appropriate text style.

It is described here:
http://www.sibelius.com/cgi-bin/helpcenter/chat/chat.pl?com=thread&start=723191&groupid=3&

--
Bob

An experienced user of Sibelius. Sib 1.2 - 8, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, 32 G RAM. Year 2018.
For plugin lookup and categories see https://www.nycmusicservices.com/musicresources
For manual plugin installation see http://www.sibelius.com/download/plugins/index.html?help=install

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Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Hu Haipeng - 03 Mar 10:31PM
Thank you Bob for your hard work!

Haipeng



--
A Chinese blind musician, founder of BrailleOrch and Open Braille Music Project.
Windows 10 Pro and Pro for workstation
Sibelius 2018.1, Finale 25.5, Dolet plugins, Noteperformer
Sonar 8.5.3, Reaper, Vienna Symphonic Library Super Package and many other libraries

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Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius developers and plugin gurus
Posted by Bob Zawalich - 06 Mar 11:59PM
The plugin Breaks (category Sight-impaired) has been updated to support Section Ends and Split Multirests, among other improvements.

See

http://www.sibelius.com/cgi-bin/helpcenter/chat/chat.pl?com=thread&start=723259&groupid=3 for details.

--
Bob

An experienced user of Sibelius. Sib 1.2 - 8, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, 32 G RAM. Year 2018.
For plugin lookup and categories see https://www.nycmusicservices.com/musicresources
For manual plugin installation see http://www.sibelius.com/download/plugins/index.html?help=install

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Messages in this thread

Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius dev... - Hu Haipeng, 28 Feb 11:21AM
     Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 01 Mar 10:52PM
         Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 01 Mar 11:19PM
             Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Hu Haipeng, 01 Mar 11:33PM
             Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 01 Mar 11:34PM
                 Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 02 Mar 12:08AM
                     Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Hu Haipeng, 02 Mar 12:55AM
                         Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 03 Mar 09:46PM
                             Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Hu Haipeng, 03 Mar 10:31PM
                                 Re: Accessibility issues summed up for Sibelius... - Bob Zawalich, 06 Mar 11:59PM