Is there a technical support team on this site?

Is there a technical support team on this site?

Sorry if this counts as a meta-discussion but was just wondering. I’m blind and use the Voice-Over program on my phone to post. The site is very accessible except when I’m adding recordings. The program always gets stuck at every word with the "Add a recording, step 2" popping up, so at every word I have to tap to get out of that field. It’s doable but very, very slow. This is only for adding recordings, not for comments. Anyone know who I could try to contact? Thanks!

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

There is a blind member who posts on the forum & I remember when he was sorting out how to use different parts of the session.org. His screen name is Blind Bard. You might message him if he does not see your post.
Here is his profile page: https://thesession.org/members/88819

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Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Thank you. I’ll message him in a few days if he doesn’t see it.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

@Wanderer, I also happen to be blind. I know exactly what you’re talking about and it’s quite annoying, but I guess I’m also good at not letting it get to me. For the record I also use VoiceOver. And as for technical support, Jeremy’s your man. He pretty much single-handedly runs this thing. He’s corresponded with me about screen reader support before and I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to work with you.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Hey Daniel, that is so cool that you’re also blind. Yeah, this doesn’t bother me too much, but I just wasn’t sure if anything had been done about it. Thanks.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

This is great feedback—thank you! I’ll look into that issue with step two of adding a recording right away.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Right, I’ve investigated this and made a few small changes, but it looks like this is a bigger issue:

When you add a recording, or a tune, or a session, it’s a multi-step process. Instead of using full-page refreshes for each step, I’m using JavaScript to only update the form (instead of the whole page). I’ve got all the necessary accessibility hooks in place, but for some reason Voice Over always hangs on to the content of the previous form and reads that back again before reading the new form content. It’s particularly noticable in the recordings submission process because there’s so much that it’s reading back.

I’m a bit stumped here. This seems to be a bug in Voice Over, but without any other way to work around it, the only solution might be for me to disable all the JavaScript functionality. That would be a bit of a shame as the JavaScript helps the form submission process go more smoothly (in everything except Voice Over).

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Yes, Jeremy, this happens whenever you add or edit something. For me, I usually just hit the control key a bunch of times to silence it. I don’t think it’s a huge issue although it would be nice to get rid of that verbosity. I guess if it’s a VO issue someone should raise it with Apple, but I don’t know how to even describe it and this is the only site where I experience this problem, full stop.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Okay, I think I’ve figured out a solution, but I’m a little concerned that I might have made things worse in other screen-reading software.

Daniel Parker, TheWanderer, and any other Voice Over users, can you try testing the process of adding a recording (or tune, or session) to see if it’s easier now?

And if the Voice Over problem is solved, would you mind also checking in your desktop screen reader of choice (Jaws, NVDA, etc.)

(If anyone’s interested in the technical side of things… the areas that are updated with JavaScript had an aria-live value—"polite"—and would be updated with aria-busy whenever new content was added. I’ve now removed those attributes and that seems to solve the Voice Over problem. But I’m worried that without the aria-live attribute, it is now more difficult to know when and where content has updated.)

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Hi Jeremy, thank you so much for looking into this issue. Unfortunately I’m not very tech-savvy, so don’t know too much about Javascript, but really appreciate your help.
I just tried adding a recording with Voice-Over, and "track 1" (or whatever the track is) is popping up after every word I write. I’m away from my Desktop for the day. Daniel and other blind users, it would be great to see what you think.
I wouldn’t want you to have to make things worse for other people on other parts of the site, so although it does take me longer to upload a recording, I could live with it.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

TheWanderer, thanks for testing it. It sounds like the initial problem is gone (where it kept repeating step 2), and what you’re describing sounds like a separate (but solvable) problem.

I think the issue is that, unlike almost every other form field on the site, the form fields for inputing track names on recordings don’t have labels associated with them. I added an aria-label to each input, but from what you’re describing, I may have made things worse instead of better. I’ll look into that.

In the meantime, I welcome as much testing and feedback as people can provide—I really appreciate it!

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

TheWanderer, good on you. Jeremy, I’m currently travelling but should find it easier to work with a computer in a couple hours. I use both VO (on my MacOS) and NVDA (on Windows), so can test both. As for NVDA, what do you think you might have made worse, if anything, so I know what to look out for? I’m also not tech-savvy but should be able to figure out if anything’s changed. And as TheWanderer said above, thanks so much for everything you’re doing on this. I’m sorry I’ve failed to mention this when we’ve discussed screen reader accessibility in the past. It’s one of those things that escape my mind completely except right when I have to deal with them.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Daniel, actually my concerns about NVDA and Jaws may be unfounded. I’ve been making more changes, and I think I’ve got everything to the point where updates (via JavaScript) will be announced automatically, which is what I was concerned might have been lost.

I still need to sort out the annoying issue with inputting tracks of a recording—the way that Voice Over is reading out the name of the field after every single character that’s entered. But that’s something I feel I’ll probably be able to sort out soon.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Right, I think I’ve solved the Voice Over problem when entering tracks for a recording.

I’m a little concerned though, that the form fields are now un-labelled. So when you’re navigating through the page, the inputs are announced just as "text field" instead of something more descriptive like "track one" (but adding the more descriptive label was causing the extra verbosity in Voice Over).

What do you think, TheWanderer, and Daniel? Are the unlabelled form fields acceptable when you’re on step two of adding adding a recording?

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Jeremy,

I just tested it. Now when I go to add a recording it says "track 1", then if I scroll to the right it says "required edit text". Can’t speak for TheWanderer, but the way I navigate means that I can figure out easily enough which text box goes with which track. And of course it isn’t so verbose anymore, like you said.

Just as a side note from our previous discussion about having VO try to read ABC: now that the abbreviations are marked up, it doesn’t actually do much except create twice as many scrolls to get to the body of the tune. So which is more important: the fact that the abbreviations stand out as separate elements for navigation, or the conciseness of the tunes / notation? I’m not sure.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Daniel, thanks so much for testing that. Glad to hear that adding recording tracks is navigable now.

As for the ABC metadata abbreviations, I can see how the extra verbosity could get annoying. Maybe I should change them back to the way they were.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Per the ABC abbreviations, it’s not really extra verbosity, it’s just less concise. It used to take me 6 presses of the arrow keys to get through the metadata; now it takes 12, because the abbreviations stand out from the stuff after, so it looks like "K:" and "Dmaj" are on 2 separate lines instead of a single "K: Dmaj" as in the past. Not a major issue, but I don’t think the change actually helped much, which is a shame because I realize you were trying to make it easier for us.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Hi, I’ve been away all day but will try testing a track soon. Thank you both.

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Hi Daniel,
Just to add, I apologize for the fact that I haven’t been able to help Jeremy help you with ABC notation and adding tunes. I’m very passionate about listening to traditional Celtic music, and have a bunch of albums, but I don’t play any trad instruments. However, I still really love this site for the chat about albums and tunes!
I wonder if there are other blind users, too?

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

Hey Wanderer, no big deal. I completely understand. In fact, I’m able to use ABC quite well, and if and when you decide you may want to learn it, I can tell you firsthand it’s not hard at all, at least not because of blindness-related issues. As for other blind users, I think it’s only the 3 of us (including TheBlindBard) who have disclosed that fact. Jeremy will know better, though he may not be allowed to or feel comfortable saying anything. Who knows?

Re: Is there a technical support team on this site?

I don’t know how many members of The Session use screen readers …which is kind of great!

One of the things that I love about the web is that, if sufficient care has been taken to ensure accessibility, there’s no way of knowing whether people using a site are blind, have limited mobility, or anything else about their physical characteristics. Everyone can participate and contribute.

That’s also one of the reasons why I really, really welcome feedback from any screen reader users—because I’m not a screen reader myself, and because I have (quite rightly) no way to detect when someone is using a screen reader, it’s only through direct feedback that I discover where I can make improvements.

So, once again, thanks for this feedback, and if anyone has any accessibility-related feedback, please don’t hesitate to send me a message:

https://thesession.org/members/1/contact