Xbmc not working for blind users.

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Anders74 Offline
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Post: #1
Hi! My name is Anders and i am a blind guy who like to testing a lot of software. I have a friend who was sighted but has become blind. He was very dissapointed when i found that xbmc does not work with his screenreader. It is sadly totally inaccessible. I have installed it here and can't use it at all as a blind person. I don't mean to be rude, i just will suggest that the interfaceis being changed so that blind users can use it. I can't even configure it to use it with a web interface. Thanks.
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natethomas Offline
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Post: #2
Well, time for a bit of regrettable honesty. None of the coders on the team are blind. Most of the time, the things the Team codes are things that either Team members or non-Team members who know how to code contribute. Fortunately, this tends to result in a great deal of awesome software. Unfortunately, this means there are occasional gaps in the code. Because we aren't a massively well funded foundation, like Mozilla, or a extremely wealthy company, like Microsoft or Apple, we tend to focus on either items that would benefit the largest number of people, or items that the people who are doing the coding for free want to see integrated into the software.

Unfortunately, to date, no coders have popped up and offered to help make XBMC blind-accessible, and without that kick start, it seems fairly unlikely that the feature will make it into the code. With that said, A: never say never, and B: this is actually a pretty good thread to keep running, because there might be a coder or two out there who will read it and come up with a brilliant way to make XBMC more accessible, which is never a bad thing.

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
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For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.

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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #3
It is possible to use some smart phone XBMC remote apps to control most of XBMC. iOS/iPhone/iPod touch devices have text to speech built in, and will work with most of the XBMC iOS remote apps. I'm not sure about Android.
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Banjer Offline
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Post: #4
Umm... is it me or does using a program geared to playing visual content for a blind person sound kinda strange?
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jhsrennie Offline
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Post: #5
Banjer Wrote:Umm... is it me or does using a program geared to playing visual content for a blind person sound kinda strange?

XBMC plays music as well of course.

Actually a blind friend of mine likes watching TV and films. She reckons she gets a good idea of what is going on just from the audio.

JR
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Anders74 Offline
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Post: #6
Banjer Wrote:Umm... is it me or does using a program geared to playing visual content for a blind person sound kinda strange?

Hi! Maybe strange but it works. I normally use vlc but their team as become very nonchalant so i am trying to find something new.
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Anders74 Offline
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Post: #7
Ned Scott Wrote:It is possible to use some smart phone XBMC remote apps to control most of XBMC. iOS/iPhone/iPod touch devices have text to speech built in, and will work with most of the XBMC iOS remote apps. I'm not sure about Android.

Hi Scot! I have seen a couple of such app on ap store. But dont you have to do some configuration on the computer first? /A
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #8
Anders74 Wrote:Hi Scot! I have seen a couple of such app on ap store. But dont you have to do some configuration on the computer first? /A

XBMC would have to be set to allow remote apps to control it (I believe default is off). The initial sources (folders, network drives, etc) would also probably need to be set up through the XBMC GUI at least once (well, technically speaking you can edit sources through an XML file, but that's hardly an elegant solution).
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skybird1980 Offline
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Post: #9
i have an idea for them.
activate the webserver - the website including a remote can be read by screenreaders.
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pru1 Offline
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Post: #10
The blindplayer script was meant for doing what you need, I think. However someone must configure it first through GUI.
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Michael.F Offline
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Post: #11
i don't want to offend anyone.

But most i know are using xbmc because its visually appealing and skinnable.
Where are the benefits of xbmc vs. Windows Media Center, which probably offers support for blinded people.

I think microsoft is responsible to create a good user experience for handicapped people.

Xbmc just isn't the mainstream mediacenter for everyone.
i don't think that people, which aren't very tech saavy could set it up..

But maybe blind people could use it, if someone would explain them the menu tree.. (just an idea, could work well with some simple audio feedback)
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Traker1001 Offline
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Post: #12
Hi, I know this is an old thread, I apologize.

My wife is blind. She watches a lot tv and online videos. She is very good at following whats going on. There are even many videos that play with a descriptive track that actually explains the visual stuff. Unfortunately, Very few, companies and/or programmers make the products accessible. There have been times where I actually wondered if they don't go out of there way to make things unusable. Sadly many many developers seem to think, "I am not blind, Why should I care." Unfortunately, While I don't agree with this selfish attitude, I can't fault or force anyone. As a software developer, I would think people would want to provide software that as many people as possible could use, Maybe even take that small extra step for the minority. For free software I understand kind of, However, developers that sell software, I will never understand, They don't realize they are literally giving up 10's of thousands of sells by not caring.

I know of one piece of software that sells for $35, It seems it would be very easy to make this software accessible, In fact it very much almost is. I could guarantee this developer would sell at least 1,000 licenses and that is just in my small group from my recommendations alone. That is an extra $35,000 dollars. And this developer sells the major upgrades, So more money. Yet no matter how many times I have contacted and tried to talk to this developer, My pleas have been ignored. I guess, the developer makes to much money already to care.

I am not a developer or programmer, but is it really that difficult to make software accessible to speech software? Or is it just a lack of knowledge thing?

<<<<<Rant over and my apologies, Back to the subject on hand.>>>>>>

Media center really isn't that accessible, The base program is somewhat, However it gets lost in the guide, addons, etc... I have yet to come across a Media player solution that is really accessible. This would be a SUPER GREAT help to my self, I personally would pay quite a bit to have a solution that my wife could use without my help.

I know MANY others who would also pay for a really workable solution.

If there is a developer who could and would tackle something like this, With XBMC or even something else, Maybe I could get a kickstarter fund going, Or something of the sort. I would need a goal number to reach for though. Again from my personal little group, I know of many people who would love to see this. Now expand that group world wide.
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Ned Scott Offline
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Post: #13
Accessibility for the blind is certainly an important issue for XBMC. I'll admit, I was one of those people who originally thought that XBMC just couldn't really fit this role, but since then I've been convinced otherwise. Plus, there are many changes happening to XBMC's guts under the hood that will make using alternative interfaces and feedback easier for everyone, like changing settings. JSON-RPC could be used to interface with screen readers and such. I think we're closer to this goal than some of us realize, but yeah, it will still take some more work.

You can make easy links to the XBMC wiki using double brackets around words: [[debug log]] = debug log, [[Add-on:YouTube]] = Add-on:YouTube, [[Adding videos to the library]] = Adding videos to the library, [[userdata]] = userdata, etc
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HenryFord Offline
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Post: #14
(2013-06-25 05:56)Traker1001 Wrote:  Sadly many many developers seem to think, "I am not blind, Why should I care." Unfortunately, While I don't agree with this selfish attitude, I can't fault or force anyone.
Please, distance yourself from such harsh assumptions. In reality - I'd assume many developers aren't blind themselves and they do not even know people who are blind. It is, nevertheless, regrettable that handicapped people get overlooked, but please - you are not doing yourself any favour if you assume that this happens because the devs do not care or because they are selfish and even worse: Do it on purpose. I just think that for a lot of people this just is "out of scope": They simply do not think about that, because they never had to experience this challenge first hand or at least from a friend/collegue/etc..

I for one am with you - but I have to be honest first: I was also one of those people who even thought "Isn't that stupid? Watching videos when blind?" - I know that this was ignorant today, but I didn't in the past - I really thought I'd give a valuable opinion when saying things like that. This is just to show you that never experiencing the issue at hand leads to the ignorance you are talking about. Over the time, I came to another, different opinion which is in line with yours.

XBMC is making huge steps towards accessibility and as Ned, I think at some point we will certainly profit from the new possibilities XBMC includes today. There is a long road to be gone, certainly, but rome wasn't built in one day either. I think it's an ambitious project, and it should be realised eventually. XBMC is gearing more towards this today, and in the future I'm sure we'll see accessibility done just right!

Need help? Check out my XBMC Frodo Guide. It contains full featured guides to Sickbeard and CouchPotato as well.

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Traker1001 Offline
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Post: #15
My apologies, You are correct. It is difficult sometimes when you are willing to work with and even pay some developers to modify there software and still get the brick wall, Or worse the we will look into it answer and 8 versions later the not a thing has changed. However on the other hand We have had developers who have gone All out after we brought the issue to their attention. So I believe you are correct, In probably all cases it is just an oversight and/or out of scope. Please accept my apologies if I insulted anyone by my previous comments.

I think that in the past even for me the idea of blind watching videos was, well, iffy a bit. However, As I said my wife is blind, As I have been around her for many many years now, and she has brought me into a large blind community, I have come to realize, Many blind folks actually picks up more from the audio alone than I have ever really thought possible. She can listen to audio only of many movies, youtube videos, etc.. and it just amazes me how much she picks up from it even to this day. Then to top it off, Laws are being passed, and more and more video DVD and TV alike is coming with a descriptive track. A large percentage of the video on my server actually now has a descriptive track. It is really quite neat to listen to.

Please know that I am appreciative to any steps developers of XBMC take to make things accessible. I have a large testbed of equipment and software and would be more than happy to be guinea pig and believe I can probably provide others to test on. And I am serious about the Kickstarter campaign if money would help. If I ever had something like XBMC being accessible, It would actually make a large difference in my life. Especially with the new capabilities of XBMC frodo. My current setup is a collection of various software hacked together for different things to give my wife the capabilities that we all take for granted. And XBMC is capable of replacing ALL of those in a single package. For what its worth if you ever have any questions or do want me to provide any testing or anything of the sort I can be contacted at cljnco at gmail.

Again, You have my utmost appreciation for making steps to help.
(This post was last modified: 2013-06-25 23:57 by Traker1001.)
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