iTunes Scripts and Set Files from Brian Hartgen

Last summer, Brian Hartgen created JAWS scripts that make iTunes considerably easier to use. Some features which are usable without the scripts are much easier while using them, such as transferring tracks to an iPod. Other features cannot be used at all without the scripts, such as burning CDs, changing the order in which tracks in a playlist are played, and rewinding and fast forwarding within a track.

One of the most frustrating aspects of iTunes is that some graphics can’t be detected by a screen reader. Brian has attempted to get around this problem by having JAWS click the exact spot on the screen where such a graphic is located. This only works, however, if your screen is set up exactly like Brian’s. As a result, some features may or may not work. For example, while Brian and others can use his scripts to purchase tracks from the iTunes music store, I can’t; JAWS clicks in the wrong place on my system. If you have a willing sighted friend, you can ask them to click a particular location, like a Buy Track button, and assign a keystroke to that location. When you need to click the same button, you use the keystroke. This is a useful stopgap.

Unfortunately, the layouts for albums in the iTunes music store are so complicated and varied that it is not possible to purchase albums using Brian’s scripts. Let’s hope iTunes builds this very useful program in a more standard way in the future so that it is easier to access.

The scripts cost 30 pounds, which is currently about $52. For me, they have changed iTunes from a program I use when absolutely necessary to my primary means of listening to music on my computer, burning CDs, creating playlists, and putting content in my iPod. They’re great!

Brian has also created Window-Eyes set files for iTunes. Because Window-Eyes doesn’t have the ability to click on a particular location on screen unless it can see a graphic there, the set files have fewer features than the JAWS scripts do. But they do enable you to navigate the lists within iTunes using the application cursor, control the Autofill process for an iPod Shuffle, and rewind and fast forward through a track. They are free. For more information, you can check out the set file manual.


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