As promised yesterday here are my observations when using Audacity 2.3.1 on Mac
OS 10.14.2 Mojave using Voiceover.
Before I start please be aware that there are some specific links on the
download page to the screenreader version of Audacity for the Mac. Find it
I downloaded the application and opened it for the first time. Here are my
findings in no particular order:
* Voiceover can not read the category list/tree view with the different items
such as: Interface, tracks, keyboard, mouse etc. It only says Category dimmed
hidden. when interacting with this area nothing is spoken than empty.
It is possible to arrow up or down but it is not possible to get speech
feedback so I don't know which category item I am located at.
Many of the different options under the different categories are readable and
Voiceover can check and uncheck boxes as needed. But the tab and shift-tab
shortcuts does not work correctly in the keyboard section. This however was no
showstopper for me, since I am used to use the Voiceover cursor when
navigating, but it may be for others.
* Navigating the track view:
For this I imported two files into a blank project.
Note: Normally I would not compare accessibility on Windows and Mac, but for
this case I will try to describe the differences I saw here, because here we
are having the (from my point of view) biggest accessibility issues when
working with Audacity:
The track view is useable but does not work as expected
On Windows the track view gets keyboard focus automatically and any
screenreader will get the track name and status (selected, muted etc.) when up
or down arrow is pressed.
In the latest version on the Mac up and down arrow does not speak anything. But
I will get a sound from the system itself when I am at the top or at the bottom
of the list of tracks.
The return key works, but again no feedback from Voiceover.
But something has actually changed since last time I checked Audacity out after
If I interact with the track view which by Voiceover is spoken as: Track view
hidden layout area.
Voiceover can read the track name and the status of the track when I press the
voiceover up/down or left/right arrow keys. When I refer to Voiceover key I
mean the capslock or the control and option keys hold down while pressing one
of the arrow keys.
Now here I noticed something that nobody has documented which actually changes
things a lot in my use of Audacity:
If a Mac user uses the voiceover keyboard commands to move up, down, left or
right we will get the information and the keyboard focus actually moves along.
I tested this by going to the bottom track and pressed shift-M to get the track
context menu where I looked at the move track options. Because I was at the
last track I couldn't move it down, so interestingly enough something has
changed recently in terms of accessibility on Mac OS with Audacity. However
this is not perfect since I have to double check track selections by pressing
Voiceover up, down, left or right and the opposite direction to get the change
spoken. For example if I have two tracks in a project and want to select track
one I do this:
1. I interact with the track view.
#. I find the track which I want to select.
#. I press return on set track. No feedback from Voiceover.
#. I then press Voiceover up, or down arrow to move to the other track and then
back to the track I hit return on. Voiceover now says the name of the track and
#. I tried to solo a selected track and here is the exact phrase Voiceover gave
me when I checked as I described above: Track 2 Select On Track 2 Soloed
Selected. As you see some of this is spoken twice.
Clearly it would speed things up a lot if the old behaviour was restored so the
arrow keys would work as they do on Windows and in the earlier version of
Audacity for Mac.
* Using the selection toolbar:
It still works when navigating to this toolbar by pressing command-F6 and
command-shift-F6. But still the track view is not able to be controlled until I
interacted with the Voiceover command. In earlier versions cycling between the
different parts of the window would have taken me directly into the track view.
Editing the edit fields seems impossible because left or right arrowing doesn't
give any speech feedback. Interacting with the edit fields and pressing
Voiceover- left or right arrow only repeats the first two values like 00. It is
possible to enter numbers but no feedback.
Changing the values was a little hard because the native context menu doesn't
work here, so I had to cheat and right click with a command in Voiceover. This
command is not labeled and it would for sure make things easier if we could use
the context menu by pressing either shift-m or voiceover-shift-m instead.
* Editing audio with Audacity
For this I used the fantastic guide for JAWS users and converted a few things
so they would work on the Mac. Thanks David for this great resource please keep
it alive for the future!
For reference the guide is found here:
Editing itself works as expected. Labels work as well except when adding a
label. As the guide suggests I use the dialog to create a label instead of the
edit box which JAWS couldn't see, so I wanted to follow along here with
Voiceover on the Mac.
Interestingly enough the ok button could not be pressed even it is the default
button when adding a label. So I had to go to the button instead with the
Voiceover cursor and press it there.
Editing labels didn't work for me because the fields were not possible to edit.
I hope some of this was helpful to you.
I will be more than happy testing anything you can come up with in order to
improve accessibility in Audacity on Mac OS.
Best regards Thomas
Sendt fra min Mac Mini via Apple Mail
Den 26. apr. 2019 kl. 17.21 skrev Paul Licameli <paul.licameli@xxxxxxxxx>:
New subscriber, and one of the Audacity development team.
I worked on improving Audacity's interaction with VoiceOver on Mac, two years
ago in version 2.1.3.
I made it possible to navigate to the individual toolbar buttons (like Play,
Record, Cut, Copy, etc.) and to navigate to the individual tracks, and the
names of all of those are read.
There are still some defects, compared with the better integration on
Windows, such as in the Preferences dialog.
But the manual still says recent versions are "not accessible" and recommends
use of the old version 2.1.1, which I think is not a fair judgment. 2.1.2
was worse than the previous version here, but I think 2.1.3 accessibility is
superior to 2.1.1.
I want to hear users' opinions. Do any of you use Audacity on MacOS, as well
as Windows? How do you think accessibility compares between the platforms?
You may not have 2.1.1, but never mind. Give me your opinion whether recent
versions of Audacity are accessible enough that the warning on the manual
page could be amended.