Accessibility in MuseScore 3
We have long had the goal of making MuseScore as accessible for visually impaired users as we can. There are many aspects to what this means, and slowly but surely, we've been progressing toward that.
I would like to start a discussion here about our priorities and strategies. We will of course continue to use the issue tracker for specific bugs or individual feature requests, but let's talk here about the big picture.
For MuseScore 2, we made a big and fairly successful push to make MuseScore accessible as a score reader - to make sure all controls necessary to navigate a score and have a screenreader read the notes and markings aloud. In the process, it also became possible to do at least some rudimentary score editing, but many things still required a mouse, and visual examination and adjustment of the results was most often required if you want the score to actually be readable. We also implemented a number of options for producing "Modified Stave Notation" - basically, large print score that are tweaked for optimum readability.
For MuseScore 3, we made some significant strides forward. For one thing, the palettes - including the template and key signature selectors in the New Score Wizard can now be accessed by keyboard. The main palettes currently rely on use of the search facility to enable navigation so it is not an ideal solution, but it is a start, and work is continuing on palette accessibility. Also, automatic placement means scores have a good chance of being readable right out of the box, without the need for manual adjustment that requires a sighted user to perform. We also improved the score navigation commands to provide keyboard access (via Alt+Left/Right) to most symbols in the score.
There is also the matter of using MuseScore to prepare scores for eventual conversion to Braille music. For the most part, this means making our MusicXML export as good as we can and then assuming interested people can rely on third party tools to that work with that format. There were a number of issues identified with our MusicXML export that are gradually being addressed.
I have recently submitted fixes for a number of issues relating to the navigation commands, and we're about to go through and improve the tab order for dialog boxes, which had fallen into some disrepair. We are aware that the screenreader (NVDA is the only "supported" option right now) currently is not functioning properly; this seems to be primarily a Qt / NVDA issue that we have been working to resolve and we expect a coming update to restore this to proper functionality.
I have it as a personal goal to have code in place (contributed by me and by others) by this fall to begin using a development build of MuseScore with a blind student I expect to be working with.
I welcome feedback!