CanAssist

University of Victoria

Together we CanAssist.

Visual Music Browser

The Visual Music Browser allows users to play and manage their iTunes music and audio files independently. The software program displays several albums or audio book covers at a time on a full computer screen. The program can be used with a range of input devices, such as a regular mouse, head mouse, joystick or any similar pointing device. The program has a voice component that speaks the name of an album when the user highlights it.

 

Key features:

  • Simplified interface
  • Supports a range of input devices
  • Screen reading option


Read a story about how our client Kieron is using this technology. 

 


Kieron's story

 

Leo shows Kieron how to navigate the Visual Music Browser.

Kieron loves cranking up the volume of the latest pop music - energetic tunes from Kings of Leon or Nelly Furtado. Meanwhile, Samuel gets a kick out of listening to audio books, especially ones that feature superheroes and old-time radio adventurers.

Due to their disabilities, both young men have difficulty managing and listening to their favorite CDs. They came individually to CanAssist looking for help.

"Kieron was the first to come to us," recalls Leo Spalteholz, CanAssist's Software Manager. "He has lots of CDs, but doesn't have the dexterity to change them. So every time he wanted to change his music, he had to rely on someone else to help him." Kieron's dexterity challenges and vision impairment mean he can't use a regular digital music player, such as an iPod.

Before creating a solution, Leo tried to determine if any programs already existed that would meet Kieron's needs. But he found none with the all the accessibility features that were required.

Screenshot of the Visual Music Browser.So Leo set to work creating an interface for iTunes software that would allow people with a range of disabilities to manage their music and audio files independently.

The Visual Music Browser displays six albums or audio book covers at a time on a full computer screen. Because Kieron can't use a computer mouse, the program was originally designed to be used with a stand-alone keyboard number pad, which lets the user scroll through pages of music using the arrow keys, and make a selection by pressing the "enter" button. The program can also be used with a range of other input devices, such as a regular mouse, head mouse, joystick or any similar pointing device.

Album covers appear large enough on the screen for Kieron to see them. But in case an album is difficult to identify, the program has a voice component that speaks the name of an album when the user highlights it.

The program also includes a time-delay feature that enables users to determine how quickly CD covers are highlighted - an important consideration for some people.

Samuel and his father, James, listen to “The Avenger,” an old-time radio series.For Samuel, a young man who has cerebral palsy as well as a vision impairment, the independence that the Visual Music Browser provides has been wonderful. Now he can sit down at the computer and listen to music, a book or radio program without having to ask someone else for help.

"I really like it because I can control it and listen to what I want to hear," says Samuel, a polite young man from North Saanich, who is devoted to his family. "I like it a lot and I mean a lot."

 

 

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