Seeking feedback on possible accessibility improvements to AudioStretch

App Developer

I'm the creator of AudioStretch, and I just discovered this site via Google Alerts. I designed AudioStretch mainly for musicians, for example for transcribing music, and aimed to make it as simple and intuitive as possible. While I never thought of AudioStretch as a tool for empowering blind or low-vision users, intuitive navigation of audio files must be important for that group. So I'm wondering - if you could have an audio playback program created specially for blind or low-vision users, what features & characteristics would you want? Bigger buttons? Voice control? Bookmarks?

Forum: 

Thanks for visiting AppleVis

Hi Gerry,  We always appreciate it when developers visit this site -- even more so when they ask for suggestions!  I&;ll just quickly say that I noticed some unlabeled buttons under iOS 6, that are labeled under iOS 5. These are the buttons for changing speed and pitch that get announced as "Increment" and "Decrement" on my iPhone 4, with iOS 5.1.1. But on my iPhone 5, which is running the most recent version of iOS 6, when I flick to these controls, they just get announced as "button" with no labels. You can check what a VoiceOver user will hear by enabling VoiceOver. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility.  Set the behavior of "Triple-click Home" to "VoiceOver", which will let you toggle VoiceOver on and off by triple-clicking the home button.  Then lauch your app, and triple click the home button.  To hear the screen controls read out starting from the top of the page, flick up on the screen with two fingers.  You can pause the announcements at any time by tapping with two fingers on the screen, and resume them with another two finger tap. For faster navigation, just flick right with one finger to move to the next control or flick left to move to the previous control.  To activate a button or selection, double tap on the screen.  As for requests, it would be great if we could set up multiple bookmarks to choose loop points.  They could be indicated both by time and a label.  Most users are going to flick to controls, so the size of button doesn&;t matter unless they have to locate it by touch.  Could you really set this up for voice control?  Usually that requires dropping the background sound level to trigger a command, so we don&;t get audio feedback on our navigation, but it might be nice to have a setting where you could say "replay that".What I&;d really like to be able to do is have a feature called "Direct Touch" implemented for accessing the waveform part in the center of the screen.  You can tell that most of the time, in order to let us use the touchscreen with VoiceOver, we have to double tap.  Well, for music apps like GarageBand, Apple devised a way for us to use parts of the screen directly.  Right now, I have to triple-click the home button to turn VoiceOver off if I want to scroll through the music with the waveform section.  But I think you can make that section of the screen available to use through "Direct Touch", so we&;d be able to scroll by touch without having to do this.  I don&;t know how much work that would be to implement, though.  Fixing button labeling is pretty simple, though.  You&;re probably sorry you asked for suggestions now! *grin*. 

I don't know how much work

I don't know how much work this would be to implement, but it would be nice if the speed in pitch were sliders instead of values controlled by separate buttons. That way, when I hear the speed, I can just swipe up or down with one finger to change his value. The same goes with the pitch. Also, I noticed that when the song is done playing, I either have to rewind to the beginning which takes a few seconds or reselect The song. Tapping the play button doesn't seem to do anything. Also, there are a lot of apps which use what I think is called the voiceover remote control. When you do it to finger double tap on the screen, audio playback starts and stops. This is another great feature. I am a musician, and I find this app both amusing and very helpful. It's definitely one I highly recommend!

features for audio stretch

Hi I am glad that another developer is reaching out to the blind community for help on what features to add to make the app accessible the one thing I would want in a app is for the buttons to be labeled so every one who uses voiceover will no what the buttons do. The next thing is voice control so we can use our voice to control the app.

I really don't think we need

I really don't think we need voice control. The app is already perfectly accessible, and new features would simply enhance an already accessible app. Like I said, direct touch and either speed and pitch sliders are the only things that could, for a blind person, perfect it.

Thanks for the feedback!

App Developer

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions everyone! I definitely have a few things to learn about accessibility in iOS apps - totally new area for me. For example, I had no idea that iOS could read out the names of controls.

For the visually-impaired, what do you see as the main use case for an app like AudioStretch? Is it for learning to play music by ear? Or are other important use cases, for example navigating through audio books or recording/managing/playing back recordings of college lectures?

I'll definitely try to improve accessibility of AudioStretch, but I have a hunch that an app specially-designed for the visually impaired could be even more important. And depending on the use case, the UI could be made even simpler than AudioStretch. Trivial example: for playing audio books, there's no need for the pitch control.

Great app!

Hi! I'm a full-time musician and I play a lot of complex guitar and keyboard parts that sometimes can be hard to pick out from a recording at normal speed. So this app will definitely come in handy! I've actually been looking for something like this for a while now. I also think the already feature to hear just one of the channels will be very useful. So that's actually the thing I want to use this for. For audio books and stuff like that I have other apps.
I've also labeled the four buttons myself, so I easily can find them and know what they do. But the thing I really miss in the app, is the ability to open a file from dropbox. Since I only have a 16 GB iPhone, I rather not keep anything of my 400 gigs of music on the device. Would be too hard to choose... So what would really make things easier, was if I could just drop the one song I'm struggling with into dropbox on my laptop, and then be able to open it in audio stretch on the phone. Maybe this is possible already, but I couldn't figure out how to do this...
I know, this has nothing to do with accessibility, but except for the unlabeled buttons and maybe making them to be sliders instead, I think the app is pretty accessible as it is.

By the way, if you're

By the way, if you're manipulating the waveform with voiceover off, a swipe left will quickly scroll it to the left, fast forwarding it. A swipe right will scroll up right, rewinding it.

Dropbox support - already there! :-)

App Developer

Cliff, glad you like the app!
> But the thing I really miss in the app, is the ability to open a file from dropbox.

That ability is already there - it's just not very obvious, because you need to open from the Dropbox app. In the Dropbox app, choose the audio file you want. It'll start playing in the player built-in to Dropbox. At the bottom right (at least on iPhone, haven't check on iPad), there's an "open in" icon (an arrow pointing into a box). Click that, and you'll see icons for all the apps that are registered as being able to open audio files; one of the icons will be for AudioStretch, with the words "Open in AudioStretch". Click that, and like magic the file will open in AudioStretch.

Tip: if the "open in" icon is greyed out/disabled, click the "favorite" (star) icon, go back to the list of dropbox files, then choose the file again; that seems to force Dropbox to keep a local copy of the file, which is necessary in order for any other app to open it.

BTW, you can also open email attachments. In the iOS Mail app, after the attachment has finished downloading, touch and *hold* for a couple of seconds. A list of apps that can open the attachment will then appear.

>> I also think the already feature to hear just one of the channels will be very useful.
It is - especially for songs where parts are panned hard left or right. For example, the start of "Stairway to Heaven" has acoustic guitar panned full left, and the recorder consort panned full right. The "Mono left" and "Mono right" features allow you to isolate those parts. The purpose of "Left minus right" option is less obvious: it eliminates anything in the mix that's panned dead center, which is typically the lead vocal and bass. On the Eagles "Take It Easy", it does a brilliant job at eliminate the lead vocal, making it super-easy to pick out the harmony vocals in the chorus.

I must add all these tips to the website...

My brain was out of radiorange or switched off ;)

Ahh! Nice! Don't know why I didn't think of that! :)
I did almost the exact same thing, only I didn't make the file as a favorite, so the export button in the lower right corner of the playback window was as you gathered grayed out... My brain didn't manage to link the fact that I of course will have to save the file locally on my phone... I was probably hungry :)
Thanks a lot!

Accessible Apps.

Hi Gerry,

Thanks for taking the time to visit the Applevis website and hear what blind and visually impaired users have to say about developing accessible apps.

Perhaps the most important thing that needs to be said here is that making an app accessible is not the same thing as simplifying an existing one. You talk about developing a separate app for blind users in which you would perhaps remove some features, however, wouldn't it be better to make it possible for blind users to take full advantage of all that your app can do? Apple has built-in very advanced screen reading technology into iOS to make it possible for blind users to use their phone as freely and comprehensively as sighted people. Thanks to this, we don't really need features like larger buttons, voice control, etc, to use our phones; all that is required from developers is that they label their buttons properly, check that all controls like sliders and switches function correctly when using VoiceOver, and enable Direct Touch to the portions of their apps where it is necessary, such as the waveform in yours or the playing area inside Garageband or Thumbjam.

I think that ensuring that an app built for sighted users is accessible with VoiceOver would require considerably less work than developing a separate app for the blind from scratch. I try to support apps made for the blind as much as I can, however, I must say that, when I have several options to pick from, I tend to use apps developed for sighted users that are accessible with VoiceOver instead.

In conclusion, please don't sacrifice functionality, take advantage of iOS's built-in accessibility functions instead!

Best regards and thanks again.

Accessibility

App Developer

>> In conclusion, please don't sacrifice functionality, take advantage of iOS's built-in accessibility functions instead!
Good advice! I tried VoiceOver for the first time yesterday, and realized AudioStretch already works pretty well with it, apart from small issues with a few of the controls. For example, the "+" and "-" on the Speed stepper control are announced just as "button", which isn't very helpful. I've been reading up on the relevant APIs, and it looks like the remaining issues will be fairly easy to address in a future version.

This is exactly what I was

This is exactly what I was trying to say. You said it way much better than I did! Thanks for summing this up Rob.

For the developer of Audio stretch

Hi. I also do not think you need to develope a different app just for blind people. If you just make audio stretch work with VoiceOver like people were saying, I would love that. Just last night I posted a question to this site asking people what I could use to speed up and slow down and change the pitch of audio files. Someone told me to get audio stretch. I read the description of it and got it in the app store because it was just what I was looking for. However when I downloaded it there were 2 problems. One it did not work with VoiceOver and two I tried to open the file I wanted to use in audio stretch. The file I wanted to use was in UBI Disk and I tried to open it in Audio Stretch. Audio Stretch was not in the list of apps I could open the file in. It was a .wav file that was about 5 seconds long. Is this why? Does audio stretch not support .wav files? You also asked what blind people would do with apps like this. Well for me because I can not see I have to use my other 4 senses even more then other people. I love sound and I like to play with sound. I have Hokusay, but I do not see a good way to change speed and pitch with that app. It is good for splitting and joining audio files and cutting out unwanted parts. However, That's about all I can do with it. I find other parts of it harder to use, probably because I do not know what frequency and reverb and resonance and all the other words that hokusay uses mean. Speed up and speed down and pitch up and pitch down make sense to me, but I could not find anything like that in Hokusay. I am not saying it's a bad app, I am just saying I need to learn how to use it better. I also tried the pitch bender in Hokusay, but it did not seem to change the pitch even though I tried different strengths. Also the time stretch features in Hokusay did not seem to change the speed of the audio file. Sometimes it would change the speed, but only for part of the file then it would go back to normal playing speed. If audio stretch worked with VoiceOver, it would be a good way for me to change pitch and speed of audio files.

Importing wav should work

App Developer

Hi Jessica,

Thanks for trying out AudioStretch Lite, and for taking the time to write. I really appreciate feedback from users!

I just installed UbiDisk (never heard of it before), and figured out how to get a wav file into it. From UbiDisk, I was able to open the file in AudioStretch Lite with no problem. In UbiDisk's list of local files, I brought up the File Info for a wav file by tapping on its name. Then in File Info, I tapped the Open In icon at the bottom left, chose "Open In...", and chose AudioStretch Lite from the list of apps that appeared.

Is it possible you have too many apps that can open wav files? I think there's a limit on how many apps it'll show (in iOS 5 it was 10, not sure in iOS 6). On the iPhone, it can't show all the icon anyhow - you typically have to scroll the list to find the one you want.

AudioStretch can also open wav (or other audio files) in your phone's music library, which can be accessed by tapping the Songs button in AudioStretch.

As for VoiceOver - I haven't had time yet to make the necessary changes. I investigated briefly a while back, but realized it would take quite a bit of work to do properly. It's still on the to-do list!

How are you using AudioStretch? I understand you want to change the speed and pitch of files, but I'm wondering with what purpose. The app is designed for music transcription, but people have been all kinds of other uses for it, including live performance and listening to audio books.

Best regards,

-Gerry

Hi Gerry! I'll just throw in

Hi Gerry! I'll just throw in a little line here:
The highest priority for getting more VO accessibility into the app, at least for me, would be to just label the buttons properly. And from what I understand, that's a fearly easy process. I've labeled them my self on my iPhone, so I now hear "speed down"' "pitch up", "play" and so on. Think only that minor change would make a great difference for other VO users, who's just starting to use the app! :)
I've of course noticed many other great features which isn't exactly accessible with VO, e.g. the scrub feature, but it can be worked around, if you are willing to turn off VO while investigating the screen a bit.
However, only improving the labeling of buttons would kick this app into next gear when it comes to accessibility, and that would in many cases, for many users, be enough to have them decide to continue using the app after the first trial. :)
I'm still loving it, and Scott Henderson is revealing more of his guitar secrets to me through this app than I think he'd like! Haha :)

my use for audio stretch and VoiceOver

Well, I have 3 pages of apps that support open in, I do know how to scroll the list, so I know I checked every app in the list and audio stretch was not one of the listed apps. I have an iPhone 4s and an iPod touch 5. I sent you that first email on my iPhone, but I am using audio stretch on my iPod. Like I said, I just want to change speed and pitch of audio files to play around and have fun and hear neat sounds. I have been looking for an app to do pitch and speed changes and yours is the best I have found. People on Applevis have found other apps that do similar things, but they are even more inaccessible then audio stretch. Please do not give up on VoiceOver. Me and lots of other people would appreciate if they could use audio stretch. Almost every blind person I know is in to messing around with music and sounds. If audio stretch worked better with VoiceOver I would definitely buy the full version. In the meantime, I remember you saying on applevis that you were playing around with VoiceOver. Maybe if you turn Voiceover on you can see what buttons are labeled and which ones are not. If you tell me which ones are not labeled and where about in the app they are, maybe I can label them myself. VoiceOver has a feature where users can label unlabeled buttons, but I have found it to only work long-term in some apps and in other apps, the labels go away as soon as you close the app. However, I will try it. Also, I do not know how app programing works, so here's a suggestion that may or may not work. You said it would be a lot of work to make audio stretch work with VoiceOver. Why not look at the coding of the buttons that VoiceOver does read and look at the coding of the buttons VoiceOver does not read and then program the buttons that VoiceOver does not read the same way that the buttons that VoiceOver does read? PS. I have not updated to iOS 7 yet because I do not know if the 6.1.3 jailbreak or the 7 jailbreak will be out first. If the 6.1.3 jailbreak comes out first I will stay on 6.1.3 and jailbreak. If the 7 jailbreak comes out first I will upgrade to iOS 7 and jailbreak. I used to be on 6.1.2, but I was forced to restore both my iPhone and iPod in iTunes because they were not working. Now I am stuck on 6.1.3 because there is no way to downgrade to 6.1.2. So do you know if audio stretch works on iOS 7 for when I do upgrade? Thank you.

Hi Cliff

Hi. Can you please tell me where each of the unlabeled buttons are and what they do so I can lable them? Also you mentioned using the scrub feature with voiceover off. Where in the app would you use this feature and what is it used for? With VO off, which parts of the screen are ok to touch and which parts will take me to a different part of the app or close the app or activate a button I do not want to activate?

Labels for buttons in AudioStretch version 2.2.00

Jessica, this is not Cliff, but I can tell you what the button labels should be, since most of these were present in an earlier version that I had on my iPhone until I read your post just now, and updated to the latest verision of AudioStretch (version 2.2, released September 6, 2013). If you have loaded a song, and do a two finger swipe up ("read all") gesture on the screen, you&;ll hear VoiceOver announce in succession the buttons for "Songs" and "Gear" (which is Settings), followed by the artist, song, and album, then the current time position of the play head in the track (if you have paused playback, otherwise it&;s 0 for the start). Then the waveform occupies about two thirds of the active screen, and the (currently) unlabeled buttons start just below this. They are the playback controls (from left to right): "Rewind", "Play/Pause", "Fast Forward", "Refresh", and "Action".Below the row of playback controls are the information for "Speed" and "Pitch" (e.g., initially "Speed: 100%" and "Pitch: 0").  Then, below the Speed and Pitch values is a row of four unlabeled buttons that are the "decrement" and "increment" buttons for speed, and then a similar pair for pitch. In the current version of the app, each double tap to decrease or increase speed changes the speed by 5%, which will show up in the speed value that VoiceOver reads (e.g., 105%, 110%, etc.).  Note that you can decrease the speed to make these negative values, all the way to -250%, where the track is p,aging backwards, as well as increase speed up to 250%.   The pitch buttons increase and decrease by 1 cent (from -12 to 12).  I suggest you relabel these buttons as "-5%" and "+5%" for the speed, and "-1" and "+1" for the pitch using the two finger double tap and hold, and inserting the label values for the text field once you hear the tritone indicating that you have brought up the "Label Element" window and are in the text field for changing the information.  By the way, in the earlier version of the app that started the discussion, only these four buttons were unlabeled, and that was only in iOS 6, and not under iOS 5.  Somehow, when the recent changes were made that changed the speed increments to 5% from 10%, and that changed the way looping behavior was selected, and also added the option to email a WAV version of the track with the "action" button, the playback control labels also disappeared.A few more tips: when you stop the playback with the "Play" button and double tap the "Refresh" button, you mark the current position in your track as point "A".  It&;s a bit tricky to note, but if you try to flick past the "Refresh" button or do a two finger flick to read past this information, you&;ll hear VoiceOver announce "Capital A" after the "Refresh" button, which now gets announced as "Selected".  Flicking left back to the "Play" button, double tapping to start the playback again, and then double tapping to stop, so you can flick right to the "Refresh" button that is now announced as "Selected" and double tap, will add an entry "Capital B", after the "Capital A" to mark the second track point.  this will allow you to continuously loop between these two points with your speed and pitch settings.  Pausing playback and double tapping a third time on the "Refresh" button that is now announced as "Selected" will clear the playback point settings A and B.Another thing I found handy here is to add "Vertical Navigation" as a rotor option under Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Rotor.  If you set the rotor to "Vertical Navigation", you can easily flick up and down from the playback controls and buttons for changing speed to check the track time.Hope this helps,Esther

Mailing a track using the action button

I forgot to mention the option to mail a track using the "Action" button that is one flick left from where the current value of "Speed" is announced.  This feature is new since the version I had been using, which had the other playback controls correctly labeled (just not the buttons to increase and decrease speed and pitch).  The first time I tried the action button was a bit confusing, since I didn&;t know what it did.  If you double tap this when you have a song  selected, but you haven&;t selected a section of your track to loop though, it prepares the whole track as an attachment in .m4a  audio file.  (This is not WAV format, which was a typo in my earlier post.) For a long piece of music, this can be a short while (several seconds) while this is prepared.  What happens is that a window pops up in the center of the screen with the message "Preparing file for email" and a "Cancel" button if you flick around or touch the center of the screen and flick before the attachment is finished.  Then a mail screen appear with the named of the track and your speed/pitch selection in the screen heading, with the audio file as an attachment.  If you selected looping points, the heading with be prefixed with "Extract:", and this  track info from the heading will be the subject field of your email.  You can fill in the "To:" field and type a note in the message body, or just send off the attachment.  There are buttons at the top of the screen for "Cancel" (top left corner) or "Send" (top right corner).  If you double tap the "Cancel" button you&;ll have options to "Delete Draft", "Save Draft", or "Cancel".I&;ve found that the AudioStretch app has good features, but it&;s not always obvious they&;re present and why they&;re useful.  The only way I initially knew this app had Dropbox support is because I read a review that described this feature, which wasn&;t particularly called out in the earliest versions that implemented its support.  This is similarly true for other features (such as selection of left minus right track, in addition to mono left and mono right track selection options in Settings).  Similarly, I&;d read reviews from people who pointed out that by using the 0% speed setting, you could fix on checking a specific note.  (I&;m not sure this is as easy to do for VoiceOver users.)The other accessible app you can try for working with music tracks is Amazing Slow Downer by Roni Music.  It has a different set of options, and is very accessible with VoiceOver, but also more expensive.  It uses sliders instead of the buttons to make adjustments.  Both AudioStretch and the Amazing Slow Downer apps have free, lite versions with more limited functionality that you can try out first.HTH.  Esther

Thanks for the feedback!

App Developer

Esther, thanks for the feedback! I'll attempt to address some of the issues in a future build.

Pointer to Link for Developers Info

Hi Gerry, I&;ll point you to the link for Developers at the bottom of each AppleVis web page.  That will save me some copying and pasting of links, because the most readable article I&;ve found, for both developers and VoiceOver users alike, is Matt Legend Gemmell&;s old blog article on accessibility in iOS apps, and that&;s one of the first links on that page.  Or, you can simply Google for his post by searching for his name along with a phrase like "iOS accessibiility".  This is probably the fastest way for a developer to get up to speed on solving simple accessibility problems, like making sure controls are labeled, because Matt describes what&;s involved from the developer&;s point of view using the vocabulary, concepts, and tools of interface builder.  He also gives some common-sense advice about choosing short, descriptive names for labels.The version 2 release removed the labeling of the player controls, so labeling needs to get fixed in order for a first time user AudioStretch to find the app usable with VoiceOver.  Regarding the labels to increase and decrease speed and pitch,  Cliff&;s suggestions of "Speed Up", "Speed Down", "Pitch Up", and "Pitch Down" are probably better than my personal labels of "+5%", "-5%", "+1", and "-1", which are based on knowing that the "increment" and "decrement" labels (announced in iOS 5) referred to 10% adjustments up and down in the earlier versions of the app, and that the pitch adjustments are in units of semi-tones.  Most VoiceOver users are going to navigate to these controls by flicking left and right, so you can&;t assume they&;ll know which buttons are related to speed and which to pitch by their positional relation below the current speed and pitch values on the screen. The "Action" label for sending stretched/shifted files by email is probably Apple&;s default label for that icon.  It would help to have a label like "mail file" to clue the user about the nature of the action.  IF you have time to go beyond basic labeling, you can add a VoiceOver hint associated with the control, that might be something like "email stretched/pitch shifted file or segment".   You could also add a hint for the "Refresh" button like "double tap once to add start point A, twice to add end  point B, and three times to clear points&;.I think those are the suggestions in order of priority and ease of fixing.  Remember to apply the same changes to both Lite and regular versions of the app.  If you want to find out more about Voice OVer than what&;s described in Matt&;s article or in my first post in this thread, there are a couple of apps that we recommend for new VoiceOver users.  One is the (free) and another is the ($0.99).  These explain basic VoiceOver actions to brand new users, and you might find at least the free LookTel app worth trying. You can always ask on the AppleVis forums for people to test out your new release versions  for accessibility before you submit them to the Apple Store.Finally, I&;ll just note that for you and for people like Cliff who are alrady using your app, and who may have upgraded to iOS 7, you can tell Siri to turn VoiceOver on and off.  That&;s an easy way to get access to interactions with the waveform section of the app, where you can check notes by setting the speed to 0 and then using scrub gestures to move through different part of a track, or where you can swipe right or left on the waveform section while the track is playing to quickly move to another section of the track.Hope this helps.Esther  

Nice post, Ester! You know

Nice post, Ester! You know your stuff! :) Thanks for writing this! Saved me a great deal of planned research...

More quick tips for Cliff

Thanks, Cliff. I should add that if you use the "Vertical Navigation" setting on the rotor, it&;s easier to minimize flicks to between the buttons for adjusting speed or pitch and checking the final values, because you can flick up and down for this. You can also then just flick up from the speed reading to the "Play" button and double tap. To check the time position in the track, flick right from the "Play" button to the "Rewind" button and then flick up to read the time.  If there&;s a section I want to hear repeated as a loop, I start the track playing, and then use the "Refresh" button to set the repeat points.  I find it easier to select the points by moving my index  finger to touch the position of this button and then doing a split with another finger to mark the positions for the start ("Capital A") and end ("Capital B") of the loop.  Of course, if you stop the track playing close to start or stop position you want, and then scrub left or right through the waveform section in the center of the screen, you can hear exactly where you want to start.  Then when you turn VoiceOver on, flick to the "Refresh" button and double tap to set the start position.  You can start this playing again, and similarly set the exact stop point with track scrubbing before double tapping the "Refresh" button again with VoiceOver on, and the track will loop between the set points "Capital A" and "Capital B".  Note that when  the track is not playing and the two points are set, that you cannot scrub to points earlier than "A" or later than "B", and that in play mode you continuously loop between these points. I should have answered Ken&;s (comment ) that if he wants the track to loop continuously, double tapping the "Refresh" button so that you hear "Selected" and mark the track position as "Capital A" when you are at the start of the track, playing through, and then double tapping the "Refresh" button a second time when you are at the end of the track will continuously loop through the music piece (or any section you&;ve selected out with your start and stop points, while the selection is in effect.)HTH.  Cheers,Esther

bought audio stretch and need help

So today I bought audio stretch after a lot of research on which app to get for importing audio files, changing the tempo and pitch and then exporting the changed audio files. I emailed developers of different apps and explained to them what I was looking for and read stuff on applevis trying to figure out which app to get. Audio stretch does everything I need it to and it is the only app I found that would do these 4 simple things, so I got it. The app developer him self told me open in was supported so I would be able to open audio files from other apps in audio stretch. A friend who has the app also told me open in works. So I got the app and almost everything works. I can change tempo and pitch of audio files and export them by emailing them to myself. The only thing that does not work is the open in. I tried to open an audio file from ubi disk, but audio stretch was not in the list of apps I could open the file in. So I can not get the files I want to change into audio stretch. I can only use files from my music library. So what I need help with is does anyone know how to fix open in and make it work or is there another way for me to get my files into audio stretch without open in? The files I plan on changing are under 30 seconds. Some are .wav and some are .mp3. I hope I can get it working, because it was $5. Thank you.

Open In

App Developer

Hi Jessica,
Thanks for buying AudioStretch. I just tried using Ubi Disk on my iPhone 4 and my iPad. I had no problem using "Open In" to open audio files (both wav and mp3) stored on Ubi Disk; AudioStretch appears on the list of compatible apps, and the files opened in AudioStretch perfectly. I'm using iOS 7 on both devices. As I mentioned in an earlier email, iOS has (or at least used to have) a limit on the number of apps it can display in Open In for any given file type. Perhaps you've hit that limit. On my iPhone, I've got 10 apps that can open audio files via Open In, including AudioStretch and AudioStretch Lite, which both appear on the list when I try to open an audio file from Ubi Disk. Have you tried Open In from other apps, for example Dropbox or Mail attachments? Another option for opening audio files in AudioStretch is to just add the files to the iTunes Music Library on your Mac or PC, and from there add them to the music library on your iOS device.
-Gerry

Open In function works for me

I tried selecting mp3 and wav files from both Dropbox and Phone Drive, and in both these cases I was able to use the "open in" function to choose "AudioStretch". In the case of the Dropbox app, I selected the file (and played it), and then double tapped the "Export" button in the bottom right corner. (Using a four finger tap on the bottom half of the screen to move to the last element, and then double tapping on the "Export" button immediately brought focus to the "Open in AudioStretch" button, which I double tapped. This opened the AudioStretch app with my selected music track loaded for playback. If you have several apps capable of performing the "open in" function for these file types (e.g., more than the 9 apps that can be displayed on a single page), you may have to do a three finger swipe to the right to move to the next page to display them all.In Phone Drive I double tapped to select the music track from the Root file structure menu, and flicked to the "Menu View" button that is the third of 5 buttons at the bottom of the screen (just above the Home button), and I double tapped. Then I double tapped on the "Open In" option, which again gave me access to the "Open in AudioStretch" button.Finally, I&;ve never used UbiDisk before, but since you asked about this, I downloaded the app and then transferred a few music files from my computer to the "Local Files" location.  (I&;m using a Mac, and I gather people with Windows PC like the "Easy Push" feature that requires downloading a separate file on your PC, and which only works under Windows.  I found the other file transfer methods slightly clunky compared to using DropBox or Phone Disk.) I navigated to the "More Info" button of a WAV file under the "Local" files and double tapped the "Action" button in the bottom left corner of the screen.  Then I flicked past the "Send By Email" button to the "Open in…" button and double tapped.  For the UbiDisk app, this put the focus on the "Cancel" button at the bottom of the list of "Open In" app options, unlike the Drop Box or Phone Disk apps, where focus goes to the first of the apps that you can select for the "Open In" operation, but you can either do a four finger tap on the top half of the screen to bring focus to the first of the available app selections, or you can flick left through the options   Again, if you want to choose an "Open In" app that is not on the first page of 9 listed "Open In" options because you have more apps that can support opening this file type, you have to do a three finger swipe to the right to move to the next page.  This gesture won&;t work when focus is on the "Cancel" button, so either flick left or do a four-finger tap to move to one of the app buttons before trying to scroll to another page.I&;m running iOS 6.1.4 on an iPhone 5, with the latest version of AudioStretch and Dropbox.  I think my version of Phone Drive is the last version before the September iOS 7 release (meaning it&;s the version 3.0.3 with Dropbox support, but before the iOS 7 optimization versions).  Did you check whehter AudioStretch might have been on another page of apps in your "Open In" options?    (It shows up as the first button option for me, but I have more than one page of apps that will support "Open In" for these file formats.)  Did you try restarting your iPhone after installing AudioStretch (e.g., shut it down and then bring it up again)?  I think that I had to restart my iPhone the first time I wanted to get "open in" files to show up in Voice Dream Reader and in Read2Go, and it may be because the apps that are capable supporting "open in" for different file types are only identified by the system at the device&;s startup.If none of this works, could you please give more information about exactly what steps you are taking to transfer the files?  If your method is PC-specific or usies  the "Easy Push" feature that works directly from a Windows PC I won&;t be able to test it, and maybe somebody else who regularly uses UbiDisk can help you.  However, every app that I used with the "open in" function transfered files into AudioStretch, including UbiDisk, when I downloaded it to test this.   

it works now

I emailed the developer and told him what was going on. It turns out if you have too meny apps that can open audio files, they will not all show up in the list of apps to open the file. So I had to keep deleting apps that support open in until there was room in the open in list for audio stretch.

Podcast on AudioStretch

App Developer

Hi Jessica,

Thanks for your podcast on AudioStretch. As a sighted developer, it's fascinating to hear how the AudioStretch UI 'appears' in Voice-over. Given that I hadn't considered visually-impaired users when designing the app, I find it mind-boggling that AudioStretch is usable by the visually-impaired at all. I'll definitely try to improve it in future versions, e.g. by adding labels to the buttons that currently have none.

I'd like to make a few clarifications of things you mentioned in the podcast. There are a bunch of things about the UI that are not entirely obvious even to sighted users, so really no criticism here. I need to do a better job at making things clear!

The units for the pitch control are semitones. One semitone is about 6%, and is the pitch difference between adjacents keys on a piano. AudioStretch allows you to shift up or down by up to 12 semitones, 12 semitones being equivalent to one octave.

The "Gear" button really is "Settings". Seems that Voice-over calls it "gear" because that's the name of the file I used as an icon for that button.

The 'back' and 'forward' buttons have multiple functions depending on how they're used. Tapping back brings you to the beginning of the track (or the beginning of the loop, if one is set). If you're already at the beginning of a track, and playback is paused/stopped, it'll load up the previous track from the same album. The 'forward' button (which you called 'end of file') jumps to the end of the loop or track. If you're already at the end of the track, and playback is paused/stopped, 'forward' will load up the next track from the album. If the track is currently playing, pressing and holding on the back or forward buttons rewinds or fast-forwards at high-speed, while playing the audio. It's extremely handy for navigating by ear, but perhaps it's not possible to press and hold on a button in voice-over.

The keyboard/spectrum really is of little use unless you can see. What it does is display a piano-like keyboard above the track's waveform (which takes up most of the main UI). Just above the keyboard you get a spectrum display, which visually shows the sound energy at different frequencies. It's a useful visual aid for transcribing music, that is figuring out what notes are being played in a composition.

The high-precision time option just shows the current time with 10 milliseconds. By default, the time is show with an accuracy of 1 second.

Your description of the "left minus right" audio mode is pretty accurate. It's useful for removing whatever is in the center of the mix. Since the lead vocals are often mixed in dead center, this means that "left minus right" behaves like a 'vocal eliminator' or 'karaoke maker'.

The coolest feature of AudioStretch compared to Amazing Slow Downer and other such apps is one you didn't mention at all, so I guess it's not accessible when voice-over is enabled. Which is a shame, because I think it could be extremely useful for the visually-impaired. The biggest part of the AudioStretch UI is the waveform display, which scrolls to the left as a track is playing. AudioStretch allows you to drag the waveform, and as you drag the waveform you hear the audio , so you can navigate through an audio file completely by touch. It'd be great if you could give it a try. After loading a song, try turning off voice-over and drag the waveform, which occupies most of the top-half of the user interface. At some point, I'd like to make that waveform-dragging feature accessible while voice-over is enabled!

Thanks again for buying AudioStretch, and for the insight into how it 'looks' and behaves for blind and low-vision users!

Best regards,

-Gerry

Direct Touch

There is a guy named Bryan Schmitt who wrote an audio game. Even more valuable than the game perhaps is his easy two lines of code that can do exactly what you're asking about Jerry, make the wave form display accessible when Voiceover is turned on. Here is his letter about it verbatim, and the two lines of code lifted right from the game.

As a FYI, implementing the "DirectTouch" is pretty simple
First you check the device is iOS 5 or greater. Then you make one system call which turns off voice over on your view.
The entirety of the code is below:
SYSTEM_VERSION_GREATER_THAN_OR_EQUAL_TO(v) ([[[UIDevice currentDevice] systemVersion] compare:v options:NSNumericSearch] != NSOrderedAscending)
if (SYSTEM_VERSION_GREATER_THAN_OR_EQUAL_TO(@"5.0")) {
[game.view setAccessibilityTraits:UIAccessibilityTraitAllowsDirectInteraction];
}
And that's all she wrote. Put that in the code for the wave form display and it's accessible.
HTH

reply to comment 28

Hi Gerry, I sent you an email in reply to comment 28, which is one of the comments you left here in this thread. I am just wondering if you got that email? Thank you.

VoiceOver labels and hints in AudioStretch version 3.3

App Developer

I've finally put in hints and labels for most of the controls in AudioStretch. You'll find them in AudioStretch version 3.3, which has just been released to the app store. I'm sure the accessibility can be improved still more, and I welcome any feedback you might have.