Automation and Blindness

Hi. I don’t know if this will interest anyone else, but this mornings automation adventure was so ridiculous I had to write it up somewher, and I’m still working on setting up my blog.

People often ask me, when they hear that I’m blind and that I’m into automation, what blindness specific automations do I use?

The fact is, I use almost none. What I automate is far more because I’m a geek than because I’m a blind geek.
That’s why I thought I’d write up this mornings automation, because this one was definitely blindness specific.

I use my iPad as my primary computer, and I use Documents by Readal as my file system. I recently upgraded it and found, joy of joys, they’d redone the video player. Yes, I know, I can’t see. I still often watch video. Anyway, the button is now apparently an x in the corner of the player, but an x that can’t be seen with Voiceover, Apples screen reader.

I battled with this for quite a while, until I stumbled on the fact that, if I opened a link into Documents that pointed to an audio file, it would exit the video player. So right, a hack is born. Why don’t I find a tiny sound file, put it somewhere and write a shortcut widget that just opens the link? Perfect.

So I tried this, and it didn’t work. Anywhere else I opened this link from, the file would play, but from Shortcuts, no dice.

So, more thinking. What else do I have that can open the link? Of course, Drafts. So I tested it, and yes, from Drafts, the file will open. So, to create my hack, a second even scarier hack. A drafts action that does nothing but open a link.

And now, my shortcut works. The Documents URL to my sound file as the first action, and a run Drafts action as the second, pointing to my open link action.

Yes, it’s uglier than heck. And yes, of course, I’m writing to the author(s) of Documents to see if I can get these bugs dealt with. But in the meantime, at least I’m no longer stuck in a video player. Not to mention being grateful that I’m a slightly mad geek who can think outside the box and that I’ve got the tools to make it work, no matter how ugly it is to anyone else.


I’m glad you escaped the video player! That really is a creative hack :slight_smile:

Well done, @Yvonnezed. The ugliest hacks are often the most beloved, as they are evidence of conquering the seemingly impossible through sheer determination, persistence, and will. Automate on, mad geek!

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