Prism Sound joins the ProGUIDE project to help improve opportunities for the visually impairedCambridge, UK: Prism Sound is delighted to announce its support for the ProGUIDE Project, which is helping to improve facilities and opportunities for visually impaired sound engineers, musicians and producers.
Following its acquisition of SADiE, Prism Sound has joined the project in place of SADiE's former owner, Studio Audio and Video Ltd. The company recently held a ProGUIDE seminar day at its headquarters in Cambridge and is also assisting with technical and marketing initiatives that are designed to further the ProGUIDE cause.
"This is an important initiative and one we are very happy to support," says Graham Boswell, Sales and Marketing director of Prism Sound. "Without special tools, blind and visually impaired people face real difficulties finding employment in audio production. This is a shame, as the aural nature of our business ought to make it an ideal profession. The work ProGUIDE has done to date is already providing a neat solution that allows blind and visually impaired people to work on audio production projects using SADiE. We are determined to help further this work and we hope that by lending Prism Sound's weight to the project we will be able to encourage other manufacturers to take this issue seriously."
Pro GUIDE was established in October 2006 by Stig Hedlund, head of the Swedish and Finnish SveFi Academy, which offers training in a real environment for visually impaired music technology users. Its aim is to provide sound engineers, musicians and producers with effective solutions so that they can access the latest digital recording technology. It also promotes education for the visually impaired in these professions.
"Many visually impaired sound engineers lost their jobs when digital technology was introduced because the new technology proved to be inaccessible for them," Hedlund says. "ProGUIDE has identified three steps that can help to change this situation - surveying current needs and prerequisites; developing software to make the technology accessible and creating a lasting forum through which we can disseminate project results to other manufacturers, educational establishments and sound recording professionals so that they, too, can help provide access to the visually impaired."
SADiE audio editing systems have been used by blind and visually impaired people for many years due to their ease of use and comprehensive editing abilities. The brand became formally involved in the ProGUIDE project in 2006 and has created hardware surfaces that were designed with the visually impaired in mind.
SADiE product specialist Steve Penn says: "The technical side of the ProGUIDE project greatly enhances SADiE's accessibility features. Visually impaired computer users can operate PCs by means of "screen reader" software, which uses a number of techniques to gather information from the screen and report that information via speech-synthesis or Braille displays. At the same time mouse clicks can be replaced by hotkeys or voice commands.
"SADiE v5.6.1 added enhanced accessibility by reporting much more information to the screen reader. Where previously some screen reader scripts were written for specific workflows in SADIE, there is now much more scope for producing an interface that gives the user as much control as a sighted operator."
ProGUIDE has recently released a set of scripts for JAWS (one of the most popular screen reader products) that exploits SADiE's accessibility features. Hedlund believes this solution provides a real chance to broaden the labour market and job opportunities for the visually impaired.
"The SADiE system with the Papenmeier Braille display and the adapted JAWS screen reader allows blind people to take job opportunities that were inaccessible before," he explains. The quality of the SADiE system is close to perfection and these latest adaptations make it possible for our target group to use it in a very effective manner."
More information about ProGUIDE can be obtained from www.proguide.eu. This website is sponsored by the European Union Commission and by the Leonardo Programme.
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