[linux-audio-user] Miscellaneous hardware/software questions

Janina Sajka janina at rednote.net
Sat Dec 23 11:33:08 EST 2006

Gabriel Brachtel writes:
> >>>it's easy for non-programing people to bring "visions" regarding
> >>>interface design. (and i love do so :) as i know programers, it's quite
> >>>hard to establish a new standard. but imho the interface standards
> >>>(buttons, dropdown boxes, scrolling, menu-structure, etc.) are now a
> >>>couple of years old, and there might be better solutions for specific
> >>>tasks. audio seems to me like a good point to start.
> >
The accessibility approach now being codified in Free Standards Group
(FSG) accessibility standards treats these objects abstractly as objects
with properties that might be exposed in numerous ways--some of which
would be nonvisual ways. That's the basis of the AT-SPI & ATK
technologies developed for Gnome 2.X and now adopted by KDE (beginning
with QT 4.2).

We have already seen these accessibility enhancements to computing
provide benefit in non-accessibility contexts. Several automated testing
tools rely heavily on this architecture to pinpoint problems. Indeed,
today's Red Hat and Suse releases, if they are less error prone, owe
their mrobustness to the ability of AT-SPI to expose problems. It seems
to me one needn't be a blind musician to find benefit in this more
generic approach either. Seems to me this might prove a readily
available mechanism for 21-Century organ-type pistons, various foot or
hand driven actuators, or even event driven actuators. That's just one
example, imho.

> >
> > i wasn't talking about such rudimentary stuff. of course there are
> > alternatives to these basic widgets and several audio applications (even
> > free ones) have begun to support them.
> >
> > the point about a visual interface is that it acts as a "memory buffer"
> > for the user: you do not have to remember much about the structure of
> > the session because the structure is made visible on the screen. can't
> > remember precisely where you put a certain sound? how many copies of the
> > bridge riff did i put in? is the door slam before or after the creak?
> > its all there on the screen, just waiting for you to look at it.

Well, yes, but that doesn't necessarily result in smarter use or smarter
navigation of the neighborhood. If you ever get lost in some unfamiliar
city, ask a blind person how to get somewhere. You're likely to get
superior directions. If sighted people are so good at navigation, why is
the GPS navigational aid business such a success?


> >
> > as soon as you move away from a visual UI, you have to find some way to
> > avoid requiring the user to remember everything about the session.
> when i try to remember a poem my brain creates images and i walk trough
> them, when i reproduce it. when i learn a piece of music it does other
> stuff (i'm a pianist and singer) but in the end i have a very complex
> thing in my mind, just think of a bach fugue. i have the fugue also in
> "the fingers". different areas of the brain work together. i have the
> same oppinion as you, we are very good in using a visual UI. we trained
> it for a long time. but there could be other combinations that work
> nearly as good as "mouse-to-eye".
> > the visual interface offers another hard-to-replicate feature as well:
> > trivially variable precision. if you try doing cut-n-paste based only on
> > audio feedback, you will find it quite hard/laborious to be as precise
> > as you might want to be. with the visual interface, its much easier to
> > use visual information to get the rough location of an edit and then
> > get to precisely where you want, without many steps. with audio feedback
> > based approaches, i think you will find yourself needing many more
> > iterations through the edit-play-edit-play cycle before you get the
> > location correct.
> i think it's all a matter of training. you do the
> "display-keyboard-mouse-combination" for long years and you became
> professional in speed and precision. watch a pro-gamer gaming with
> mouse.. what's about data-gloves? whats with feet-controlers and other
> "non-standard" devices?
> greets,
> gabriel
> (sorry for my clumsy english)


Janina Sajka				Phone: +1.202.595.7777
Partner, Capital Accessibility LLC	http://CapitalAccessibility.Com

Marketing the Owasys 22C talking screenless cell phone in the U.S. and Canada--Go to http://ScreenlessPhone.Com to learn more.

Chair, Accessibility Workgroup		Free Standards Group (FSG)
janina at freestandards.org		http://a11y.org

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