GSoC 2021 - Week-3: Improving Accessibility For the Visually Impaired

Posted 3 years ago

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I hope everyone is staying safe and doing well.
This week has been a rollercoaster in terms of the progress made, and the steps and efforts it took to get to said progress. Without further ado, let's get into it!

The Good

I have made more visual modifications to the High-Contrast mode. High-Contrast Black and High-Contrast White modes now have borders around most of the interactive buttons in the MuseScore UI. The color of these borders is tied to the former "Stroke" property (now renamed to "Border Color"), in the "Accessibility" menu under the "Preferences" setting. I think this addition is a big step towards improving accessibility. I think it also adds a breath of fresh air to the UI and gives the user the ability to add some personality to their version of the application.

for example:

Welcome/Recent Scores screen:


Additional Score Information screen:


Note Input/Score Modification screen:


If you want to get your hands on this before release, check out this commit on GitHub. Feel free to experiment and come up with better and more expressive color schemes!

The Bad

These changes took me the entire week to successfully implement, when in fact they should've taken a few days. For Context, I have had problems building with Qt Creator when I have other RAM-hungry applications open (I'm looking at you, Chrome).
My Qt Creator builds compiled and ran successfully each time on windows. However, the changes I was making to the code failed to show up in the built executable. It was almost as if Qt Creator was launching an older executable. After further inspection, I did find that the "build" and "run" paths were exactly as they should be, which added to the confusion. Moreover, when another developer (Casper) tried out my changes on his machine, they ran perfectly for him (on both macOS and Windows).
I tried building on the command line since I figured it could just be an issue with the Qt Creator IDE, but that didn't fix matters either, thus affirming that it is a deeper issue than I had previously thought.

After hours of video calling, screen-sharing and other filthy debuggery, I finally have Ubuntu installed in Dual boot, and my changes finally show up. So far, I'm really liking it.

The Ugly

The problem, it seems, is with my RAM.
I have a single 8Gb stick, and if I have other RAM hungry applications open (even in Linux), My Laptop freezes up, and I have to hold down the Power Button to hard shut down my system.
After messing around in the BIOS, I found out that I have an extra DIMM slot, which I can use to add more RAM, but that upgrade will easily take a few more weeks since the lockdown still hasn't been completely lifted where I live.
I am currently using the command line to build, and I have to actively make sure that less than 50% RAM is being used before I build (Incremental builds are more forgiving though).

Anyways, that was it for this week. Please be sure to share your thoughts, ideas and criticisms in the comment section below.
While you're at it, please also be sure to check out the blog posts of my peers, and remember, kind words and constructive feedback keeps us going :)

You can keep up with my progress at the following locations: