Accessible Palettes

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Accessible Palettes

AndreiTuicu
Hello everyone!

I saw that the accessibility for palettes is one of the points in the roadmap for MuseScore 2.1 [0], so I revisited the implementation I started some time ago. I know that Lasconic had the idea to make the palettes searchable and I think that it is a great idea for accessibility since it will speed up the process of score editing for keyboard users and that Marc made it possible for all elements to be added to the score without drag and drop which was a huge step.

My implementation provides the ability to traverse palette elements with the keyboard, while keeping the palettes stateless in the rest of the time and provides screen-reader feedback for each selection change. It works in the palettes from the main window, the master palette (although it needs a bit of fine tweaking here to make things perfect) and in the key signature palette from the create new score dialog. Everything can be found in this branch [1] .
I've also started in the past to add shortcuts to jump to each individual palette, but if the palettes become searchable I think this will redundant and MuseScore already has a lot of shortcuts, so it would be hard to find meaningful ones.

Even if the palettes will be searchable, I still believe that users should be able to traverse the palettes using only the keyboard, so that can learn what is there in the first place.

Any feedback would be very appreciated. :)

Thank you,
Andrei Tuicu


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Re: Accessible Palettes

Marc Sabatella
I'm finally getting around to looking at Andrei's accessible palettes code.  In some quick testing, it does seem to work as advertised.  Palettes have "state" only if focus is placed there using keyboard commands, so for normal mouse-based use, I see no obvious changes.  When I tab into the palette, I can see a red cursor showing me the currently selected palette item, and hitting Enter applies it as if by double click.  So without knowing the ins and outs of the implementation and wheterh there are concerns about specifics, I hope it does generally meet expectations and could be considered.

From a usability standpoint:

It isn't clear how one is supposed to transfer focus to the palette.  Right now I just press tab and hold it a long time while it cycles through the Inspector and Toolbar controls before finally reaching the palette.  We'd need a more direct method.  Also, when focus is transferred to the palette, the name of the palette that has focus is highlighted, but it was subtle and I didn't notice it at first.  Might be less of an issue if there was a command to directly transfer focus to palette.  This might also be a time to look at the possibility of Ctrl+tab to move directly between toolbar, insepctor, palette, etc.

On a related note, It seems to me that once control reaches a palette, and you open it if necessary with Enter, then maybe only the cursor keys should be needed to navigate within the palette, with tab skipping to the next palette?  Right now tab & cursor are equivalent.

Finally, the key signature dialog within the Create New Score wizard doesn't quite work.  There is already a blue cursor showing the currently-selected key, and when I use the cursor keys, only the red cursor moves.  Hitting Enter moves the blue cursor to match the red.  But again, it feels like tab should then take me *out* of that palette and down to the buttons below, rather than having to continue moving the red cursor through the rest of the key signatures first.  It's rather confusing as is.  Also, when I do hit Enter with the red cursor on a key signature, if there is a score open and something is selected, the key signature is applied to the already-open score.  There was a bug were this happened on double click that was fixed by disabling double click a few months back, so I guess you may need to find a different fix now.  Or just reimplement this dialog a bit to not require Enter at all but instead give user direct keyboard control over the blue cursor.  Having two different cursors in this dialog seems wrong.  Anyhow, see https://musescore.org/en/node/43521 for info on the original double click bug.

Good work, and I hope we can eventually see this in MuseScore 2.1!

Marc

On Sat, Jul 25, 2015 at 2:30 PM Andrei Tuicu <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello everyone!

I saw that the accessibility for palettes is one of the points in the roadmap for MuseScore 2.1 [0], so I revisited the implementation I started some time ago. I know that Lasconic had the idea to make the palettes searchable and I think that it is a great idea for accessibility since it will speed up the process of score editing for keyboard users and that Marc made it possible for all elements to be added to the score without drag and drop which was a huge step.

My implementation provides the ability to traverse palette elements with the keyboard, while keeping the palettes stateless in the rest of the time and provides screen-reader feedback for each selection change. It works in the palettes from the main window, the master palette (although it needs a bit of fine tweaking here to make things perfect) and in the key signature palette from the create new score dialog. Everything can be found in this branch [1] .
I've also started in the past to add shortcuts to jump to each individual palette, but if the palettes become searchable I think this will redundant and MuseScore already has a lot of shortcuts, so it would be hard to find meaningful ones.

Even if the palettes will be searchable, I still believe that users should be able to traverse the palettes using only the keyboard, so that can learn what is there in the first place.

Any feedback would be very appreciated. :)

Thank you,
Andrei Tuicu

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