Sixth Mode Audio Clip Player Help Page

This page pertains to version 1 of the Sixth Mode Audio Clip Player.

Layout of a Podcast's clipper page

When you play a podcast using the Sixth Mode Audio Clip Player you are taken to the podcast's clipper page. The clipper page has visual controls as well as two types of links for controlling audio playback. This rich selection of audio control provides an optimal way to listen to a podcast whether you are sighted, low vision or use a screen reader.

The sections below describe how each of the controls work, starting with the visual controls and followed by the audio control links and then the table of clips. A second breakdown by screen reader provides specific hint.

Visual controls

For some people the clip player displayed at the top of the clipper page will be the preferred method to control audio playback. The large, high contrast display allows the controls to be used by many people with low vision. But for users of certain non-MSAA screen readers such as VoiceOver, the visual controls are imperceptible. For this latter group, the Audio Control links described in the next section provide an alternate method to control the clip player.

On the left of the clip player are Play, Pause, Stop Fast back 5 and fast forward 5 buttons. After these 5 buttons are a slider and a time display. All of the visual controls except the slider are accessible to screen readers such as Jaws that uses Microsoft Accessibility Actions (MSAA). See below for details on each control:

Play - play the podcast starting at the current position
Pause - pause the podcast so it can be restarted where it was paused
Stop - Stop the podcast and reposition it to the beginning
Fast back 5 - Position the podcast back 5 seconds
Fast forward 5 - Position the podcast ahead 5 seconds

Slider - drag the slider handle to adjust the current position of the audio. Clicking the slider handle will advance the audio position in 10% increments.

Time display - displays the current time position followed by the total length of the podcast.

Audio Control Links

The links under the "Audio Controls" header include play, pause and positioning functions, as well as a download and help link. Clicking on these links has proven to be a very reliable way to control audio playback which works in all screen reader/browser combinations tested. The only exception is browsers that do not allow any Flash such as on the iDevices. See below for details on what each link does:

Play - play the podcast starting at the current position.
Pause - pause the podcast so it can be restarted where it was paused.
Forward 5 seconds- Position the podcast ahead 5 seconds.
Back 5 seconds - Position the podcast back 5 seconds.
Advance 10 percent- advance the audio position in 10% increments.
Download - download the podcast as an mp3.
Help - bring up this help page.

Table of Clips

The links under the "Table of Clips" header include a list of links you can click to get directly to the described segment of the podcast. As with the Audio control links described above, these links work reliably in all the screen reader/browser combinations tested except browsers that do not allow any Flash such as on the iDevices. The actual clips listed in the table of clips depends on how the podcast distributor wished to segment the podcast. The segments are typically numbered starting at 0 for the start. Numeric short cut keys will usually be defined for each segment.

See below for how to access the control bar for each screen reader/browser combination.

Shortcut keys

The following shortcut keys are available in most screen reader/browser combination. While the keys used are constant, the modifier key and behavior is screen reader dependent. Jaws and NVDA use alt-A, alt-Z, alt-0 and so on. Typing the shortcut key moves the cursor to the link, you still need to press enter or space to execute the link. VoiceOver uses control-A, control-Z, control-0 and so forth. Typing the shortcut key in VoiceOver immediately executes the link but does not move the cursor.
G: Play
S: Pause
J: Forward 5 seconds
K: Back5 seconds
L: Advance 10 percent
0: Start playing at the beginning of the file
1 (up to 9): Start playing the specified clip number

Defining the above shortcut keys is included in the guidelines for using the clip player, but is up to the web author to include an appropriate accesskey attribute in each link. Most combination of screen readers and browsers appear to support accesskey defined shortcut keys, specifics may be noted in the screen reader/browser notes section below.

Jaws with Internet Explorer

You can access the audio player controls with the up and down arrows. After you hear "Flash movie start" subsequent down arrows will announce each of the Flash player controls in this order: play, pause, stop, fast back, fast forward and time. These buttons directly control the Flash player. By contrast, the links in the table of clips, such as play, pause or the numbered links, use a javascript interface to Flash. Use which ever method you prefer for controlling the audio, but be aware there is overlap which can be confusing. The reason for the overlap is to allow screen reader/browser combinations that do not support direct Flash player control to have an alternate way to play and pause the audio.

The shortcut keys defined above are supported by Jaws. Shortcut keys in Jaws require the alt key be held down while the shortcut key is pressed. Typing the shortcut key moves the cursor to the link, you still need to press enter or space to execute the link.

VoiceOver with any browser on the Macintosh

While VoiceOver is unable to access the visual audio player controls (see below for more) most controls can be accessed via the the Audio Control Links and the Table of Clips. The only control not available through links is the time code read out. The shortcut keys defined above are supported by VoiceOver. Shortcut keys in VoiceOver require the control key be held down while the shortcut key is pressed. Typing the shortcut key in VoiceOver immediately executes the link but does not move the cursor.

The audio player is written in Flash which uses Microsoft Accessibility Actions (MSAA) to allow screen readers to interact with it. VoiceOver on the Macintosh currently does not support MSAA and therefore can not directly interact with Flash or other technologies that utilize MSAA to enhance accessibility. However, the table of clips uses a javascript interface to Flash to provide control of audio playback using VoiceOver with Safari or Firefox.