By Tai Blas
Pandora is one of the most popular Internet radio services today. It allows users to create and customize Internet radio stations based on genre and artist preferences.
For example, users can specify the name of a favorite artist, and Pandora will create a playlist containing music with similar characteristics. As songs are played, users can provide feedback as to whether they like or dislike a particular song or artist. Through this feedback, Pandora gradually fine-tunes users’ custom station to meet their specific tastes.
Unfortunately, if you want to use Pandora on a Windows computer running screen access technology for the blind, it is completely inaccessible. Blind users cannot sign up or listen to content without sighted help or through an application on the iPhone. However, the majority of blind people do not own an iPhone.
A new program called Hope allows blind users to access Pandora independently with screen access software from their Windows computer. Hope provides a simple interface to Pandora. Using simple hot keys, users can register for free to use Pandora; search for an artist, song, or genre to create stations with similar content; play, delete, or edit stations; listen to stations; and access Amazon or iTunes to buy content that they like.
A “now playing” dialog contains information on the song and an explanation of why Pandora added it to your station, along with feedback buttons and playback controls. All controls within the program have hot keys for quick access.
I have used the Hope Pandora interface with JAWS for Windows version 10 and really enjoy the service. This program couldn’t be easier to use! It is great for users of all Windows screen readers. Currently, there is not a version for the Mac.
Hope can be purchased from www.q-continuum.net for $10. Proceeds fund continued research and development of accessible software.