Hello everyone! My name is Andrei Tuicu and I’ve been selected to work at MuseScore for Google Summer of Code 2014. My project is called Accessibility with Focus on Visually Impaired Musicians and I will work with Marc Sabatella’s guidance and with the help of Jaffar Ahmad Sidek. On this blog I will be posting weekly updates regarding the progress of my project. At the bottom of this post you will find a link to my fork of MuseScore’s repository on GitHub and a link to the full proposal that I’ve submited for GSOC in PDF format.
Now lets talk a bit about the project.
What is accessibility?
Accessibility means making sure that an application/a web page can be accessed by individuals with disabilities using specific assitive technologies.
What are assistive technologies?
Assistive tehnologies are tools on which people with disabilities rely on in order to use the computer. This tools can be either hardware like Braille-displays, head pointers or software like screen readers. For my project I will focus on adding support for screen-readers and if time allows it Braille-displays in MuseScore.
A screen-reader is a program that bassically tells the content of the screen to the user, allowing him to hear rather then read what is displayed. A Braille-displayis an electro-mechanical device for displaying braille characters, usually by means of round-tipped pins raised through holes in a flat surface.
Why this project?
When we talk about music score editors, one of the most notable aspects is the fact that very few of them are designed with accessibility in mind, or scarcely do they provide support for it. If they indeed meet this need, most of them are quite expensive. This leaves blind or visually impaired musicians who wish to create scores in standard notation with very few options. Another important aspect is that not only those who want to create scores have difficulties in doing that, those who just want to read scores and learn to play an instrument have the same problem. In truth, there are very few scores printed in Braille or available in other accessible formats online. Also, at this point there is a gap between blind and sighted musicians. Blind musicians are interested in writing in the standard notation so that sighted musicians can play their music, as well as to be able to play the scores written in standard notation. At the end of the project MuseScore will break the barriers between the two categories of musicians by providing a common ground.
GitHub repository: https://github.com/andreituicu/MuseScore