Accessibility For Blind Designers


I am a visually impaired sound designer and very interested in using FMOD.
I am hoping that there is some kind of accessibility option to help me navigate the software using Mac VoiceOver.
I searched this forum and the only mention of this issue was posted back in 2008. This issue was never addressed by FMOD support or community members.

I use ProTools and Reaper seemlessly with a screen reader and macro scripts created specifically for both programs and I am sure it is not impossible to apply something similar to FMOD.

As digital audio technology progresses it is important to include blind and visually impaired people in the process. I would love to be able to use this software but without this kind of accommodation I cannot.

If there is something that I am missing in regards to my inquiry please point me in the right direction. If this is something that has gone un addressed then I must request that we find a solution. I can’t see but my ideas in sound are abundant. There is no reason for the field of sound design to be populated only by the sighted.

Thank you for the support on this subject.


Hi Andy, thank you for getting in touch regarding this important issue. We really appreciate your enthusiasm!

We will schedule some time to investigate better accessibility options. In the meantime, given we don’t have a lot of experience in this area, it would be good to learn about your workflow with other software:

  1. Do you use screen readers to interact with the individual graphical items on screen? What is your approach to dragging and dropping of items (regions/clips) on the timeline? What is your approach for editing values on dials/faders for DSP effects?
  2. Are the ProTools and Reaper scripts officially provided or user created? Can you link to these?
  3. Have you tried our scripting interface before? While this may be less intuitive as it requires use of Javascript, it does allow full access to our project data model, and supports most playback operations.

Thanks again!

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Hi @patrick,

I too am blind, and am interested in the possibility of composing for video games.

It looks like Andy didn’t respond to your questions.
I’ll attempt some responses to give you a better understanding of how we go about using screen readers.

The first rule is that we should be considered keyboard ninjas. That is to say that any implementation of keyboard commands, shortcuts ETC. is very much appreciated.
though we do have some control over the mouse pointer with our screen readers, it is rudimentary at best, and quite frustrating when we have to rely on it.

When working in reaper we use a deeply integrated extension called OSARA.
though it was not developed by Cockos, it is fully supported and the OSARA devs have high level contact with Cockos.

OSARA makes extensive use of the keyboard shortcuts facilities in Reaper, as well as the SWS extension.
We navigate the interface using keystrokes and keyboard shortcuts, as well as menu diving. OSARA provides spoken feedback by passing info from Reaper to our screen readers.

When working with the timeline, for example, I select my track by arrowing up and down until I hear the one I need spoken by my screen reader. then, Assuming there is something on the track, I press ctrl/right arrow to select the item I need to interact with. If I want to move it, I press ctrl/x, I press ctrl/j to jump to a point on the timeline, and ctrl/v to paste my item.
If I need to split the item, I either play until I get to the split point, or scrub by tapping right/left arrows to find the place I need. I press “s” to split.

Almost every operation is available via a shortcut or menu item, and when feedback is needed OSARA is able to pass the feedback on to the screen reader. About the only thing I can’t do is look at a spectragram or routing diagram.

For adjusting values in plugins and the like we rely on midi implementation in the plugins. If a parameter is exposed to be controlled via midi, then OSARA has a parameters dialog where we can tweak thee parameter through use of direct entry of values or moving sliders up and down with arrows or pgup/pgdn.

When midi implementation is not provided for a parameter or control, sometimes we are able to get by with an OCR solution which allows to click on the screen with mouse commands. This isn’t ideal though.

I hope this is helpful.

As a starting point for accessibility i would suggest that you implement as much keyboard control as possible.

I’m just learning about the existence and use of middlewear but I hope that when I’m ready, that I can take advantage of FMOD to create some amazing game scores.

Thanks for reading! :slight_smile: Rusty

Thanks for your feedback, it’s a very interesting perspective on how software is used by the blind. I agree that keyboard shortcuts are the best place to start ensuring we have good coverage of the features. I think one of the biggest issues is our lack of selection model, the ability to use direction keys / tab to navigate around the interface, switch tracks etc.

Hi @Mathew,

thanks for responding.

Yeah, that would put a damper on things. :slight_smile:

I know virtually nothing about development, so I have no idea how
difficult it would be to implement such a selection model so that one
could navigate with arrows and tab.

I have a blind friend who is currently working on an addon for NVDA a
commonly used screen reader which may create some level of
accessibility for FMOD.

And I thought I was learning about how to compose for videogames! :slight_smile: