Accessibility improvements for blind/visually impaired guitarists/bassists


Just discovered MIDI Guitar 2 today, and it’s a huge improvement in terms of tracking and expression over my previous solution (a higaldy-pigaldy chain of stock plug-ins that I had to fight to get a clean take, so much so that often times I’d just give up and inexpertly prod my way through the line on keys instead lol). It’s a joy to find that your plug-in is already so responsive to play.

I’m totally blind here, so for me, using a DAW is all about keystrokes and control surfaces handling input, and screen reader software speaking changes for me in a synthetic voice (think of it like having the robot ghost of Stephen Hawking as a talkative studio assistant :P).

As things stand with MIDI Guitar 2 right now, the GUI is completely inaccessible. However, I noticed that you’ve already exposed some settings to generic DAW automation, so I’ve been able to get some stuff done, and I’m here to ask a couple things:

  1. Can you get those parameters that’ve already been exposed to provide formatted values to the DAW? Right now, every slider is a generic range from 0.0 to 1.0. Formatted values would be super helpful because they enable screen reader software to speak real-world terms. They’d also make what’s displayed on surfaces with screens more user friendly.
  2. Is there any mileage in adding some keyboard shortcuts?
  3. What framework do you build on? If by chance its JUCE, there’s a huge leap forward in its accessibility for Windows and Mac coming in version 6.1 that only requires minimal time for JUCE devs to adopt.

If I can clarify anything above or be of any help testing and providing feedback, please feel free to hit me up. I’m comfortable on the bleeding edge in all of the operating systems your plug-ins are compatible with and would love to get involved.


Scott (London UK)

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I’m aware of our shortcomings here. I’m also a bit embarrassed to say that its something we (and other audio developers) often fail to prioritise when there is so much else to do…

As with most of the audio industry, we use custom UI’s, because audio apps tend to have more custom knobs and widgets than can be displayed with OS-native widgets or webpages. And the problem is then that Apple and Microsofts accessibility features get lost. Its good to see that JUCE 6.1 picked up the ball and pawing the way for accessibility in the audio industry.

  1. We’ll make sure parameter values are formatted correctly in upcoming updates.
  2. Keyboard shortcuts is certainly a possibility. Ill put it on the TODO list.
  3. We transitioned away from JUCE because its rendering performance is just such a showstopper… and now happily use our own rendering engine. But I guess there will be several things in JUCE 6.1 which we can still use going forward. I have to look more into this after the upcoming releases.

Hi there; -Had planned to respond to Scott’s original post earlier. -Thank you Scott, for posting!

I also am a blind musician. I’ve heard about Midi Guitar and Midi Bass for some time now and have also just picked them up. -Very, very nice! :slight_smile:

Thanks very much for your response in this thread. It’s much appreciated as these changes would really make using these plugins a much easier and enjoyable experience.

It really means a lot when devs show consideration and are open to feedback from visually impaired / blind users so thank you again for taking time to write. -Appreciate your thoughtful response.

-Looking forward to getting some great synth guitar and bass tracks with these plugins! :slight_smile:



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Thanks for the speedy response @JamO, it’s excellent to read that you’re already aware of what accessibility is and that you’re open to feedback on it.

I reckon concentrating on making your plug-ins as configurable as you can via DAW automation is gonna be the cleanest way to address this in the short-term. While we’d prefer to have full access to the GUI you’ve undoubtedly put a ton of time and thought into, it’s also fair to say that most blind/VI folk are used to operating via params (essentially we’ve adapted to thinking that way because accessibility of custom UIs has been at a standstill for so long). The accessibility bridge for Reaper that I use here even provides a way for me to filter those parameters and adjust them while tweaking the mixer etc, so sure, it’s a different method of interaction, but it can still be made productive when implemented intentionally by developers and users alike.

Looking forward to trying out what you come up with, and again, if there’s anything I can do to help as you’re working on it, gimme a holler.


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Yeah, wanted to add yet another voice to the ones already here! :slight_smile: Incidentally, I created another posts and then @JamO directed me here. So, here I am then! :slight_smile:
Given the UI limitations mentioned, it does seem that perfecting the automation route and, hopefully keyboard shortcuts in the future, is the way to go. I would reckon that well-formatted automation parameters would benefit the user audience at large. Perhaps we could even convince one of our allies to create NKS presets for this plugin?
As you look into improving automation parameters, perhaps more could be introduced to cover MIDI machine, amps and such?

Eagerly looking forward to MIDI Guitar 3 and beyond!