MenuBar Stats now accessible
I had ben looking for an accessible app that would allow me to monitor information about my system such as fan speed, temperature, CPU load, etc. I had tried several times to request the developer of iStat Menus consider accessibility without any success. I learned about MenuBar Stats, https://seense.com/menubarstats from listening to the Mac Geek Gab podcast, http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/features/mac_geek_gab/.
I downloaded the trial of MenuBar Stats and found it was not accessible. I reached out to Fabrice, the developer of MenuBar Stats and within hours he had made the app pretty accessible. Here is a blog post he wrote about his experience, https://seense.tumblr.com/post/144353903400/seense-and-accessibility. Please note that for now he has two versions of MenuBar Stats. He has created a version that is compatible with Voiceover, https://seense.com/menubarstats/voiceover/ and the plan is to merge the VOiceOver accessibility changes with the next major release of MenuBar Stats. Please be aware the accessible version is not in the App store yet. Fabrice also plans to make accessibility enhancements to his other apps.
I really like MenuBar Stats and it provides all the information I was lookng for.
Fabrice of Seense is extremely receptive thus this is no surprise. iStat Menus is now at version 6, and the release notes mention VoiceOver support. Has anyone confirmed this? Can anyone elaborate? I attempted to contact the developer at least once prior to version 6 to no avail.
I can report that iStat Menus version 6 is pretty accessible. There are still a few areas that need some work; however, Bjango has made significant strides in improving overall accessibility of the app. I also contacted them frequently via email and Twitter to push for accessibility. I encourage anyone who decides to try iStat Menus to reach out via Twitter and provide feedback. Most of the accessibility issues are more annoying than limiting to use of the app. I won't post an exhaustive list here, but some key areas is inability to interact with data to read character by character etc. Overall, on a scale of 1 - 10, iStat Menus falls about 7 for accessibility. I'll give it a 7 since there has been a considerable effort to take something that started off as inaccessible to a point where it is very usable. With all that said, Fabrice has done a great job with his apps to include MenuBar Stats. I think he may be working on a new version, which I know will be accessible. I have both apps, but find iStat Menus provides a bit more info.
That is very good news! Thanks for the confirmation. I have no connection with or to social networks so I will yet again try to e-mail Bjango. I distinctly recall VoiceOver saying nothing when in the status menus of iStat Menus because everything changed so frequently. I could not shut down the programme because it was that inaccessible. I anticipate to use version 6.
Maybe I'm doing something wrong, or running into a demo limitation... But anyway I grabbed iStatMenus 6, opened it up, and this part of the UI works great. I can toggle the various options on and off, and access the registration screen if I decide to buy it. Problem is, the actual stats don't read for me, at least what's displayed on the menu extra doesn't. So taking the Weather as an example, the current temperature is displayed on the menu extra itself. With VoiceOver, all I get is "iStat menus status, iStatMenus Weather menu extra". So I can't actually read the temperature. But all the additional information which you get by pressing one of these status icons, like the wind speed, is perfectly accessible. Same thing for the Battery icon. The menu extra itself just says iStatMenus battery, so I can't read my percentage or time remaining, but all the extended information like Voltages is perfectly accessible. For some of the widgets, like CPU or disk, nothing is read at all as in addition to the not reading the menu extras, pressing on them just opens a window with what I'm guessing is a graph. For Network, again nothing is read except 2 unlabeled buttons that don't seem to do much.
There are additional problems with iStats which haven't been mentioned here yet.
When configuring the menus, there are a number of places where VoiceOver will tell you that there are empty scrollbars, but in fact these are where you can set what appears in some of the menus and reorder items. The worst example of this is on the page where you configure the combined dropdown, making this menu impossible to setup.
As for the menus themselves, most of these use fly-out panels to display additional information. These are triggered when you mouse over certain areas on the main dropdown menu. If you have the mouse pointer set to follow VoiceOver focus, then you will probably be able to trigger and access one of these fly-outs for each menu. However, most menus will have several, and I have yet to find a way to access additional fly-outs on a menu.
If your mouse pointer does not follow VoiceOver focus, then it's likely that you will never be aware that additional information should be available through iStats, and that you are missing out on this.
I have tried every combination of keystrokes that I can think of to workaround the problems mentioned above. I have had some limited success with Option + the right/left arrows, but not enough to get anything consistent or reliable from them.
If somebody has been able to get all of this to work with VoiceOver, then please let me know how.
If not, then I think that the developers are doing a serious disservice in claiming on their website that iStats is anything close to being accessible. Some of it is, but we are missing out on so much of what this app offers. At best, I would say that we can access and use about 25%.
When you access the "iStat Menus Status iStat Menus CPU menu extra" are you then pressing VO-space bar? If I do this I am able to navigate the window and read the information. If you can explain how you are attempting to access the data, perhaps I can help. Also, if you truly are having issues and I cannot help, please do send Bjango an email. I know after pinging them for quite a while I got their attention and they are listening. :)
You can reach them via Twitter or https://bjango.com/contact/#. Hopefully that link will work, but if not, just go to the Bjango site and search for contact.
I agree there are still a lot of issues that need to be addressed. In fact, I'm really glad that there is some discussion going on because this is a great app and does provide some very useful info. Some of the issues you have described are documented and hopefully the developers are working on it. Please do reach out to them because the more interest they see from VOiceOVer users means these issues may get attention more quickly. Although their claim is based on a limited set of features, at least they finally have started taking steps. I have to at least give them kudos for that. I do continue to ping them and hope they will work through these issues.
As I said in my previous message, it's not the main dropdown menus that are the problem, it's the fly-out panels that propagate from these as your mouse pointer hovers over specific elements on that main dropdown.
As it is right now, you can only consistently and reliably access a fraction of the information which is available through this application.
For example, on the Weather menu, days are listed on the main dropdown. Hovering on each of these will reveal more detailed forecast information. Good luck with even knowing that this is there if you are using VoiceOver.
There are similar examples on each and every menu. In the case of the combined menu, there are even more layers to these fly-outs, where hovering on an area of one fly-out will trigger another fly-out.
Eileen, Understand the issues and I sent off your comments to the developer. The app is not perfect by any means, but considering how long it took to get this much is at least a start. I'll certainly keep pushing for improvements in accessibility. BTW, some of the fly-outs are images that VO won't speak in any event, which is a problem as well. Like I said, not perfect, but a start.
There are a plethora of VoiceOver related issues which needs to be addressed by Bjango, but as is currently is a massive change for the better since I attempted to use the same programme just months prior. The Disks menu, for example, still offers absolutely zero information.
Does anyone have a direct e-mail address to Bjango? Their contact form is feasible to use, but I prefer direct communication via e-mail. An in-depth internet search revealed nothing. Thanks in advance.
Hi, I don't have an email, but they have responded to my support issues posted to their site. I did find Twitter a faster way to reach out to them. Send a tweet to @ Bjango.
I have just upgraded to iStat Menus 6.20 and the menus now appear to be completely inaccessible.
Triggering one of the menu bar controls (now which all seem to have the same name as far as VoiceOver is concerned) results in VoiceOver telling me “Menu”, but I have yet to find a way to interact with this or any data being displayed.
Is anybody else able to make this work? Any tips would be appreciated.
If not, it might be time to finally give up on this application rather than sit hoping that the next release will be the one where VoiceOVer support finally reaches the level where the application can truly offer me something.
Eileen, I have raised the issue with the developers and please do the same. They are aware and have fixed some problems, but we need to make them aware when things are broken. My effort is to keep them aware and ensure they look at accessibility during the process and not wait for us as users to tell them things are broken.
Any help is welcome and lets them know there is more than just me out here yelling.