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EBU Access Cast

EbuAccessCast31 Transcript

Jun 15, 2021

Transcript of EBU Access Cast - episode 31



This programme is financially supported by the fundings from the European Commission.

You are listening to the EBU Access Cast. The official podcast from European Blind Union about assistive technology for blind and partially sighted people.

And here is our host.




(Mario) Welcome to the 31st first EBU Access Cast. My name is Mario Perčinić and I'm coming to you from Luxembourg and this time we have the whole crew with me. As always  here is Tanja Kleut from Luxembourg, as we say. Ladies first. Hello.


(Tanja) Hello Mario. Hello, everyone.


(Mario) Then we have Pawel Masarchyk from … where is he … aha I see him in Austria.


(Pawel) Hello. Hello.


(Mario) And we have the most famous ouslander… no no  Icelander. (everyone laughs) From Iceland. Yeah. From Iceland mr. Hlynur Agnarsson.


(Hlynur) Hello, sir. Hello there. Happy to be here.


(Mario) Yes. How are you guys.


(everyone) good, fine.


(Pawel): Fine, everything reopening the summer. How could you not be happy.


(Mario) Yes. Summer. Summer is slowly coming back. I almost got into the global depression and it was winter was never ending here in Luxembourg. Here was really cold until a few days ago. But yeah, now it's much better.

So what's coming in today's podcast? First we go to the gadgets corner and after gadgets corner, we will talk about Twitter and its usability in its native interface and third party clients. After that, we will talk about messengers. Yes, (Mario singing Iggy pop parody I am a messenger). A messenger. Yes. How how do you use them and which ones are more accessible or less accessible or what somebody did to make them more accessible. Then we will talk about Clubhouse for Android. And we will also touch the topic about new thing which is happening right now. And these are the digital covid green passports. And the last but not least. But yes, it's last, its famous interview from Hlynur and Pawel About NaviLens. Yes, we finally got in touch with people from NaviLens and we will bring you the whole story with Mr. Javier Pita, Barcelona, Spain. He will tell us all about. The thing related toNaviLens, so we hope you will enjoy it. So what's new actually? Do we have some gadgets before we go into anything further?


(Hlynur) No, nothing from me, not this time.


Gadgets and apps: Replica, an app to share video and audio from iOS to Airplay and Chrome


(Pawel) Yeah, sorry, I don't have anything new either as far as hardware, but I discovered a tiny, nice app that is very handy to use, especially if you do a lot of accessibility demonstrations. And not only it's for iOS, it's called Replica and it lets you stream any audio coming from your iOS device, including VoiceOver, either via any airplay compatible device or via your Internet browser, preferably Chrome. I tested it. It is very easy to set up. You just install it open and copy the IP address into your computer's browser and allow the access once you are connected and then you can hear everything in your computer and see as well. So the picture is also there. But for us, in some cases, the sound is even more important and that comes through very clearly, sometimes with a bit of a delay. But for presentations like this, it could be quite useful.


(Tanja) Yes, I wanted to ask you for the delay, is it a lot?


(Pawel) I wouldn't compose music with it, but for demonstrating how VoiceOver works or for playing some multimedia that is only available on an iOS device, I think it's fine. So it's still serves its purpose.


(Tanja) Ok, that's nice because sometimes I had Bluetooth speakers on my demonstrations and the delay was too too much. It was like two seconds and when you want to have an interactive demo, it's impossible to follow that.


(Pawel) Yeah, it happens, especially if the sighted people can see that you moved something on a screen. But the audio doesn't correspond at once to us,


(mario) But is more noticeable with the older Bluetooth devices. For example, Bluetooth5, which is now being the standard, doesn't have that lag so much really. I do have a Bluetooth 5 headset Android five compatible phone and I almost don't have any kind of lag which was previously noticeable when you would use Bluetooth headsets with the phones. But now it's fine.


(pawel) Also your Android shouldn't go to sleep or your speech on Android.


(Mario) That's true.


(Pawel) You activate. There is no second or two of silence before TalkBack kicks in in the middle of a sentence that has to happen.


(Mario) That's still kind of happening, but it's not that annoying as it used to be. That's why, for example, if you're using Lazarillo app for theGPS, that's why they have this tiny, tiny sound before any announcement comes to be spoken. So then it's more, more or less. It's fine. It's usable.

 Oh, yeah. Good. Well, thanks Pawel for this recommendation for the app.


Gadgets and apps: Mario's new Svarovsky Cane


(Mario) I have something that can belong to a gadget's, but it's actually a low tech device, but low tech that we use every day as a blind people and it's a cane! Believe it or not.


(Hlynur) Hurricane.


(Mario) Yes. You see that song from Eurovision Group? No. What was it


(Hlynur) That was Hurricane?


(Mario) Yeah. No, this is a cane for blind people to walk around. It's a walking cane. Yeah. And believe it or not, it's the newest generation from Svarovsky canes. I know we have some listeners who are listening to our podcast. And a few years ago, I was very much criticising the first generation of the Svarovsky canes, which I still do. But the last one that I got my hands on really surprised me very positively. So, yes, they completely redesigned their canes, which is great. They're much more stable, meaning that. Every part of the cane, for example, if you have the cane that's folding, so every part of the cane is no longer conical , now it has it looks much more like, for example, the Ambutech canes or the canes from Comde Derenda or something like that. So the parts slide into each other much better and they're much more safer. But at the same time, when you have to dismantle them, they are much better. It's much more stable on the same side. The whole cane is still aluminium-based, but over the outer part of every part of the cane , there is this white foil around the cane, which is showing to the sighted people that it's a white cane and it's very well done. I have to say, because those kind of tactile markings on the cane. And the mechanism for the extensions, for example, I have the combination of cane, which is a partly folding cane, and this upper part is telescopic.

So I can make it shorter or longer. That part has been redesigned as well, and it looks now much more like, let's say, some canes from the other brands. And it's yeah, I really like it. I have it for about a month now. At the beginning, I started using it for just longer walks in the park when I go. And after very extensive usage of that, I use it for a month, I have to say that I'm really surprised by. The cane, the price wise, yeah, it's about 100 euros or maybe a little bit less, but it's worth it. Yeah, I really like it. It's not very heavy. It's about 200 grams or maybe a little bit more. And you can use with it the tips, the roller tips which come by the default fromSvarovsky, or you can also use the hook once,  from the Ambutech, such as a longmileage , which you can use for for a long time, there are slight modifications which you need to do with that ambutech tips, if you use them because they don't fit by default. So you have to use some sand paper and stuff. But it's it's very doable. After that. It fits very nicely. And you're ready to go. So that's good. I don't know Pawel Have you seen those new Svarovsky canes or any anybody else?


(Pawel) Oh, I haven't, actually. But there is some pretty good


(Hlynur) You have diamonds on them?


(Mario) I don't know, I haven't found them yet.


(Hlynur) So could be.


(Mario)There may be, but I think this is some other Swarovski.


(Pawel) Actually Swarovsky is not far from where I am right now. It's just the next city. And you can visit the Crystal Factory, which is now a museum as well. Quite an overwhelming experience, even from the sound perspective. The chambers are quite acoustic in different ways. So, yeah, it's definitely a feast for anybody, regardless of impairments.


(Mario) Nice.


(Mario) Yeah. So this is the news from the new Svarovsky canes for you. As I said, I really like them. And yeah, I got mine with a wooden handle. They also provide different kind of handles if you're buying them, such as the handle with the neoprene or with the leather. But the wooden ones are also being redesigned and which fit fits quite okay in the end. And you can use it for a few hours. No problem. So that's good. Yeah. OK, so time to go after the gadgets to our new section.


(Accessibility in the news jingle)


Accessibility of the Twitter Web Interface


(Mario) The first thing, before messengers, actually is a social network, and you guessed it right, yes, it's Twitter. And why Twitter? Well, because Twitter can be now used from various points??? and various machines and various phones, meaning that, for example, if you're using Twitter on the PC, you can use it from the Web interface and from the third party clients or even the official apps if they're accessible, however, there are some differences and there are also some articles which we will publish in our show notes, basically the one that I'm referring to is the one that was published on the Blind Bargains recently, that talked about how to use Twitter via its native, uhh, interface with a bunch of its built-In shortcuts. I have to say, I use it when I have to, it's a nice experience, it's nice that Twitter made that thing available. It's not new, I have to say at the beginning. It’s not new, it's something that exists over for for some time, but it was the thing that was expanding, so not all the features and shortcuts were available so far. And it is using…

(Hlynur) They were lacking. They were definitely lacking that in that aspect.


(Mario) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, they were. And they’re… since…  Twitter is out since… wow! What was that, 2003 or 4? And this native interface became accessible just a few years ago. Before that, there were some sites that were trying to, to gap between those stuff, but now the Twitter can be used, and in order to do that with a Screen reader, you have to use bunch of shortcuts which they provide and they have to be used with the browse mode, if you use the NVDA or with with JAWS, it's also a forms mode so that you are able to use… The… there are, like, shortcuts, which has to be pressed multiple key… You have to press multiple combinations in order to achieve that, for example, to go home, you have to press, uhh, G and an H or to go to Settings G and S and stuff like that, but it's usable, uhh, however, sometimes there are situations where you have to switch between this forms mode on and off to scroll through the tweets and stuff, but it's yeah, it's kind of okay if you have to use it; but what do you think guys, the rest of you, who u… who tried… have you tried it and have you used it? And I know that Tanja, you are a frequent user of those.


(Tanja) I am. Actually I am using the Web interfaces since few years ago, and I prefer it because in some other third party apps, you don't have some views that should be there but they are not for some reason, for example, what I like in the Web interface, you can easily see the replies while, for example, in the other that I'm using too, TWBlue, it's more difficult or very often it's not available; or when you have a retweet, you see every retweet, you don't see the number “retweeted 100 times”, but you see every time, so you read it each time. I don't know if you can adjust it differently. I didn't go into that. I mean, in w… TWBlue.


(Mario) No, there's no it's not possible to adjust it.


(Tanja) So for me, that was really disturbing, and, errrm, for this and some other reasons, I prefer the Web. I remember that it wasn't possible to see multiple accounts before on the Web, but now this is possible.


(Mario) Yeah, and you can even enable the notifications to have to have the announcements.


(Tanja) You can. You can. I don't use the notifications because I don't want to be disturbed any time. I use the notifications through my mobile phone and that is fine. Also, some other functionalities are missing from third party apps like pinning a tweet that you can do very easily through through the Web or through the mobile app; so most of the time I'm using the Web or the mobile app. For example, for the direct messages I think for me the most easy is to use the, uhmm, the mobile app because for some reason in TWBlue, when I have a more intensive conversation, the messages from the other person,are just not arriving. I don't know if you have ever experienced it for those who are using TWBlue.


(Mario) I don't know. Not really, not really. They were… There were some yes, I noticed sometimes that there are some delays in…


(Tanja) yes,


(Mario) In deliveries.


(Tanja) If you have an extensive conversation, you know, if you're chatting, it's, uhh, it's impossible to chat through TWBlue.


(Paweł) Yyyyeah, It used to be better in previous years when Twitter still offered its streaming API for third party clients and then they were pretty famous for making a very stable, very feature-rich API that you could just use to build any kind of interface over it.

(Mario) Mhm.

(Paweł) Then they took it away and so the s… all the streaming features, which is why we don't have replies and direct messages in real time and neither do we have tweets in real time, we don't have notifications that somebody liked our tweet or that somebody followed us or anything, any event that happens to us, it's not announced by these clients. They plan to bring it back, but well, that's actually an interesting take on accessibility in general. Of course, universal accessibility for the win, I do agree, but I still see when I look at GitHub, that building custom third party clients for accessibility for for blind community is pretty much a common practice and I see that a lot of blind people will still choose a custom-made client over even very well, very good accessible website or or proprietary client of the social network, and Twitter used to be famous for this, they allowed you to do pretty much anything, almost anything you wanted with the API, then they stopped doing this, now they want to sort of bring it back, for some smaller projects even for free, but I haven't heard any updates on this for a while, so…


(Mario) Yeah, yeah, yeah, the only thing I'm personally missing, maybe I didn't find it, but I don't think it's there in the native Twitter interface when you're on the web, is that Events tab.


(Tanja) Events or notifications?


(Mario) Events, events,


(Tanja) Events,


(Mario) For example, that you can see some kind of chronological follow ups what's happened like this person has followed you, this person has liked your tweet, blah, blah, blah.


(Paweł) This should come in thethe fications, actually, that's what it does on the phone.


(Tanja) Exactly.

(Mario) Yeah

(Tanja) Normally I see this in notifications on the web,

(Mario) OK

(Tanja) but it's true that on the phone I have events, but this is not notifications. This is something else.


(Mario) Because this is…

(Pawel) Yeah

(Mario) I see the difference between notifications and events or maybe now they kind of unified it under notifications. It's possible. I don't know. But yeah…


(Paweł) I think events were a bit more common terminology when the API was still around because they were, in fact, API events.

(Mario) Ach, yeah, it could be, it could be.

(Paweł) In that IT sense. So some Third-Party developers choose to name them events for that reason, I guess. But now events would be something like something is happening in the world and Twitter is discussing this, And and I think they have this Moments feature, which is more or less something like this; but for the notifications like this, yeah, hopefully you will get them under notifications on the on the web.


(Mario) Ok, so that’s…


(Tanja) Yes, and since we are talking about the web is G and then N. [laughter] It is the shortcut.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah, For the notifications, right, yeah, yeah, yeah.

(Tanja) The shortcut is G and then N. I discovered it actually through through your article, even though you you can access the list of shortcuts on the top

(Mario) Mhm.

(Tanja) of the screen inside Twitter, it's very easy, but sometimes the shortcuts that I use are J to go to the next tweet or K to go to the previous tweet or load more tweets, so just to go through the tweets.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah.

(Tanja) If I need to go inside the menu, normally I go it in the usual way, but okay, if you're a frequent user of Twitter, of course, you can have a look on these shortcuts.


(Mario) Yeah, yeah, in the article. OK, so these are the Twitter news.


(intermezzo jingle)


How accessible are the popular messaging apps and how to improve Whatsapp?

(Mario) The next thing we would like to discuss are the various messengers and improvements. The first one is from one developer in, I think he's in Portugal or in Brazil, I don't know. He's a Portuguese, he's called Juliano Lopez, and few months ago, he made the set of scripts for the browsers to make the better accessibility of the WhatsApp Web interface. I have to say, I tried it and it does work as he says. I'm sad to see that the WhatsApp themselves didn't think about these kind of features because eventually what what these scripts are doing, uhhh, is that they are making some buttons which are unlabelled by default, they are making them labelled; and you have a bunch of shortcuts which you can use such as alt+m to go through the message lists and yeah, if you if… alt+l, for example, to change the script language, for example, between English, Spanish and Portuguese and I don’t know if there are some other languages. Uhmm. But yeah, I mean, but for… fo… in order to have those scripts, you need to have Tampermonkey addon, there is a Tampermonkey for various browsers like the Chrome, Firefox, even Edge aaaand and opera as well as it???, and then you… So first you install Tampermonkey and then you install that script and just every time you go on the, you need to press alt+s to turn on this interface, I mean, to turn on those scripts. And then the thing is much more accessible. Anybody tried it, except me?


(Tanja) I think WhatsApp should recruit this developer because, you know, how come that the WhatsApp is not accessible and so much used and on iOS it is, I think, the most accessible messenger that I use.

(Mario) Mhm.

(Tanja) So it would be great to have this there by default, like Twitter is accessible now.


(Mario) I agree, I agree.


(Paweł) I mean, practically, they have a ready made code. They just have to implement it, so…

(Tanja) Exactly

(Paweł) What could be easier than that?

(Mario) Yeah.

(Paweł) I didn't try that, however, what I have tried is an NVDA addon made by a Spanish speaking developer for WhatsApp for desktop, which is more or less the same experience as WhatsApp Web, except you don't need to open any browser and type in the address anymore, you just click the shortcuts on your desktop and you're in.

(Mario) MHm.

(Paweł) And there is one caveat with this addon for now: it works in Spanish and Turkish versions of WhatsApp. The good news is the language files are available, so if you want to, you can just translate along with Poedit, I believe, and it will work for your language. The only thing you have to bear in mind is that when translating, in some places you will have to obtain the names of the controls from WhatsApp itself, and because well, basically the addon relies on some object names and some node names that are localized for each language separately, but once you get it working and I got to work the older version of that addon for the Polish WhatsApp for desktop, you have obviously labels for the buttons, you also have shortcuts for some things like start and stop recording, like copy the currently focused message, like load a file to be transferred and then sent this file; and it makes using WhatsApp very, very handy, so all the context menus open as they should, you don't have to look for all these items on the… in the window anymore, and maybe not everything is perfect about WhatsApp either web or desktop, but the good thing they have done and it works really fine, is that ARIA support they've added, so when you're in the application mode or forms mode in JAWS, you can just use tab and shift+tab to move between the different controls, and when you are in the list, like the conversations list or messages list,

(Mario) Mhm.

(Paweł) you can just use the up and down arrows to navigate and then the right arrow to expand some additional options like “reply”, “forward” and so on. And I think it's a really good practice that many, many messaging apps are implementing. Twitter was one example of this because of ARIA, all this nice layouts and shortcuts they use are possible, same with WhatsApp, same with Messenger actually and same with Discord, although in Discord it's currently broken, it doesn't read the messages, but it always says “Actions for a given message. Actions for a given message.”, And… Yeah… They say the first rule of using ARIA is do not use ARIA and I see why, because it's great power and responsibility in the hands of the person designing the page, but if you know what you're doing, you can actually build an experience that is almost identical to having a native desktop app and messengers like this are basically showing that it's possible if you have the nerve to do it, and I hope more and more will do it because, well, let's face it, I don't think we will see many natively written apps these days, especially from the bigger companies, it will be more and more web technologies.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah.

(Paweł) And it's good that the developers of these learn how to make this experience comfortable to use for people who use Screen readers, because it's… It's a challenge and it's a task, but it's definitely doable as WhatsApp or messenger have shown.


(Mario) Exactly. The thing that I like, for example, what you said also about the WhatsApp is that they started also implementing ARIA ARIA, so, for instance, you can jump quickly between the message pane and this upper part of the screen where you have the general information about the person you are chatting with and you can also use the button shortcuts such as B and Shift+B for the Screen readers in order to go between the buttons for voice calls, video calls or recording the messages etc., which is good. However, what I don't like is the fact that not all of the developers are paying the same attention to the accessibility in all the apps which are really becoming, you know, all these messenger apps are are becoming very much part of our reality on the daily basis. For instance, when WhatsApp started messing up their license agreements and stuff like that at the beginning of this year, there was a huge migration of people going from WhatsApp to Telegram, and that's when I switched finally as well to the Telegram. Luckily for me, I'm the Android user, so On the Android side telegram is much more accessible than it is on the iOS, unfortunately, and as a matter of fact, I know that the people on the iOS side who are depending on the assistive tech or better to say on the VoiceOver, are struggling with Telegram, which is a sad thing to see and to make the things even worse, if you try to reach out to the Telegram developers and you point them to the fact that they would have to fix the things with the accessibility which is broken on the iOS, Ermm, they are saying like, “Yeah, you know, we know that we have to do that, but you can do that also. We have our own… All the code is available on Github. Who Who wants to fix it, they can fix it”, which is like, “Yeah, well…”


(Paweł) Which is how the specific clients for 5€ are born or like 15.


(Mario) Yeah, true. And the problem with those clients is that they're being not maintained as they should be, so because they're receiving just… They're not even quarterly updates, they're like updates which go, [laughter], I don’t know, two times a year and they don't support the latest API changes which are happening in the telegram. For example, I know that as a matter of fact, Telegram went with the huge changes for their APIs for the last two or three months, introducing the voice chats and bunch of other features, but those features are not available in those special clients, which you have to pay 5€ just in order to send a voice message and stuff like that, so, yeah, I'm personally thinking that this is something that really should be taken care of… by t… from the companies themselves, and that's why I that's one of the reasons why I didn't go away from WhatsApp, because what happened about two or three weeks ago was that when WhatsApp did some changes on the iOS, at one point many people started saying that on the iOS side it was very much broken, you couldn't properly see the message replies and they were also introducing this new feature with the playback Controls, and it was quite… kind of messed up at one point, people were really starting to complain and they wanted to migrate to the other clients, such as Telegram and stuff, but then they realized that it's even worse than WhatsApp, but then like ten, let's say ten days later or two weeks later, what happened,  well… WhatsApp fixed all of the stuff and right now, there are no more problems, which is showing that somebody cares there at WhatsApp, OK, WhatsApp is part of Facebook now, and Facebook has their accessibility developers who are taking care of that, so I'm assuming this was also part why it was fixed in WhatsApp, but still, I mean, it's fixed and all of us can can still use it without problems, which unfortunately isn't the case with the… the Telegram. I don’t know, Paweł, what do you think or the rest of you guys, have you tried it, used it?


(Paweł) Well, there are some positives about this, such as there are, of course, unofficial clients, and there is this pretty nice desktop one called Unigram, which I even was in touch with the developer about fixing it, and it works fine. It's not the most convenient experience. It used to be better, for instance, before. The emoticon picker was introduced, because now it's pretty much cluttering a bit of the space there, so you have to do a little bit more shift+tab, shift+Tab, shift+tab work before you find the messages list. But at least it's it’s fully accessible. You can perform all the or almost all the actions you want. There are JAWS scripts for it made by Doug Lee. There are some attempts to make NVDA addons for it, nothing is complete yet, but you can find some, uhhh, work on that on Github, so this is definitely good. Android keeps improving, iOS also received some kind of VoiceOver update a couple of months back, but I know that it's far from complete work and since that update, there has been no major work on accessibility. And the funny thing is that in the release notes in the App Store, it says “The VoiceOver users can now from now on enjoy a better experience”, and there is still like a bunch of bugs that is not being fixed, so it's a bit


(Hlynur) But what is it? Why it is better? And better It's a very…

(Paweł) Yeah, I mean, at least…


(Hlynur) broad??? Term.

(Paweł) At least something is going on. I think there might be, again, some discussion on Github about this whole accessibility business with Telegram, I would have to find the conversation, but the problem of Telegram is that they have a source code on Github, but once you make a pull request to make things better, they're very adamant about taking it in and integrating it into the codebase. That's what I heard. So it's very difficult, even if you have good ideas and skills to put them into work, it's very difficult to get across and to make your changes a part of the solution, which is a sad thing, if you think about the open source ethics.


(Mario) That reminds me of a whole story with the TalkBack GitHub issues.


(Paweł) Oh, yes. I mean, there are different approaches to how you understand open source, for some people it's just “We put the code here, have a look, but do nothing to it”, to some people it’s “Let's make something nice together”. To some other people, it's just, I don't know, “We release, we release something from time to time”. It's difficult. It's not as ideal as we would like it to be.


(Mario) Yeah, yeah. Anybody else? No.


(Tanja) I don't use telegram.


(Mario) Ach, Ok.


(Tanja) But I uninstalled Viber from my iPhone.

(Mario) Arghh, man, it's, it’s ugh…

(Tanja) some time… some time ago because it was so inaccessible.

(Mario) Yeah.

(Tanja) and then it happened that I did some mistakes in Viber, I sent wrong messages and I couldn’t… [laughter from Mario and Tanja] I did a disaster and then I said, “No, guys, I'm closing Viber. Contact me on any other messenger app”.



(Pawel) What about signal? It was also quite popular, I think even more people came to signal than to telegram after the WhatsApp fall down.


(Tanja) Exactly. Yes I'm using it  mostly on my phone? I haveI have a desktop app, but I don't use it so much, honestly. And I use it mostly for groups and for, like, checking messages. It's fine. It's not perfectly accessible. I think they're also since. Is it open source?

(Pawel and Mario) Yes, yes.


(Tanja) So I think they should do some more efforts because the signal desktop app, you have plenty of unlabelled buttons, so and sometimes it reads you two informations at once. So you're not sure where you're focussed? It's a little bit.


(Pawel) I could use it on the desktop. I even made phone calls and video calls with it. But the problem on my end, I don't know where it comes from, is that quite often the installer will crash. So if I leave it for a bit, it's freezing my computer like crazy. Maybe eventually it will get there, and when once it gets there and I'm happy using it, they come up with an update which I have to install again and the circle repeats, and the last time I tried it, it's crashed halfway through the installation and it removed the version that worked. But it didn't put the version that the newer one that should work so out of signal on desktop for the time being because the update crashed.


(Tanja) Did you try to install it again or you gave up?


(Pawel) Not yet. I gave up because I didn't need it so much for my desktop calls. I still have other things and I don't need to go from desktop so much unless something happens with my phone or at least not on signal. If I need to really need somebody to look over the camera on desktop or for any kind of private conversation, I will still use messenger mostly I guess.


(Tanja) Yes yes yeah well now we have a choice. We have a lot of desktop apps for messaging. Actually, I started to use the Messenger desktop app from Facebook and what I discovered that you can also share the screen when you call someone.

(Mario) Oh yeah.

(Tanja) Which is really nice., if you want to show something is really, really nice.


(Mario) Yeah, actually, from my side, I have to say that I have the most of my contacts on WhatsApp. And messenger, it's about kind of the same number of people. Then there are people on telegram and then there are really a few people on the signal, and I'm surprised that maybe from like I have like about 300 contacts on my phone and from those 300 people, I don't think that I have maybe 15 people on signal. Not even that


(Pawel) It may be that I mean In the German speaking area like Austria, Germany, where there is a really huge focus put on privacy and data protection, and especially since I think Elon Musk. So Elon Musk sort of bumped up the whole Signal idea that it's very secure And the private messenger, a lot of people there moved over. For instance, we have our work chat group on signal now to communicate. So it seems to be sort of at least over here, an accepted standard and to use Signal because it's the most secure.


(Mario) Yeah, I'm not on any Signal groups for the moment, but of course, that depends from situation to situation. So it's different. But yeah, I mean, I still have it on my phone and it's it's sitting there doing nothing for most of the time (laughs), but yeah, I noticed last time I used it, I don't know if something improved in regards to accessibility, but I noticed that you could not see the names of the people if you were, for example, in the individual chats, it was not showing the names of the people like in the WhatsApp messages.


(Tanja) When you chat one to one, I think this is the case. But not in groups


(Mario) When you chat one to one, it's not showing the name of the person. Yeah, so this can be the the problem when you have multiple messages and then JAWS you want to scroll through the messages, you don't know who replied or who said something unless you read from the context.


(Hlynur) certainly offers the Tanja the opportunity to send the wrong message to someone.


(Mario laughs)

Tanja) Yeah. But the issue that I have is we use it also for work, but sometimes we have like an exchange of almost 200 messages per day, which is crazy. And then if you don't have time to check the messages during the day, you you open in the evening and then, you know, the focus is on on I don't know, the last message that you saw. And if you want really to see the most urgent messages, the scrolling, I don't know. It doesn't give me a way how to go directly. I have to scroll to all the messages. It's a little bit annoying for me. On WhatsApp. You have a button. Go to the most recent message, which is very convenient for these groups. When you have


(Mario) yeah it is also available on Telegram, you can click on the option go to the bottom or something like that.


(Tanja) I don't know if there is any shortcut that I didn't discover because I use the standard scrolling gesture for VoiceOver and I'm going to go from one page to another. And if you have so many messages, you have to scroll a lot of time.


(Mario) Yeah, I have to say, regarding all of these discussions about messaging that WhatsApp just recently introduced, also playback button on the Android side and I'm so huge fan of that man. If you're in the groups which deals with lot of audio messages, this can become your best friend (laughs).


(Pawel) Yeah at last couldn't come sooner enough


(Mario) yeah because on Telegram, this was a feature that I started using from the first moment I came there, like, oh, there's a 2x playback speed button. Yes, I can save some time, but yeah, on WhatsApp, it came out just recently. What I realised and probably Pawel you were right when we had the private discussion. WhatsApp is turning that feature by the server side from the server side. Because eventually you would get the update and then you would not see this playback button right away, but it would appear after some hours or even some days. For me, it took two days to appear on my phone. But once it appeared you're here and it's being used all the time. I like it.


(Intermezzo jingle)


Clubhouse on Android and desktop  and other voice conferencing software

(Mario) This was our messenger discussion, and we can just make a short announcement also that Clubhouse is now finally available for Android in all the world. So anybody who's wishing to go to the whole clubhouse mess because it is a bit confusing and people need some time to understand how it's being used, and at the same time, Clubhouse is constantly improving and changing how they think they should be used and stuff like that. But at the same time, there are really interesting topics and discussions which you can find probably. Pawel I know you were updated as well. I'm also there.


(Pawel) Oh, yes. It could throw your full names when it's showing you who is in the room so that you know who exactly of your friends are there.

(Mario) Yeah, true.

(Pawel) Well, that's the my my only minor gripe. Otherwise, it's very good.


(Mario) For me that I don't have problems with it. For me that's ok I know at least who is there.


(Pawel) If you have multiple friends with the same first name, that could be a bit confusing.


(Mario) Oh, yeah. Yeah. But it's I like it. I really like the audio quality of of the client as it is only audio network based. So they, they spend some time on very good audio implementation, which is good. And yes, I think now by the features it's almost the same as the iOS client. It's not fully 100 percent, but they're bringing up the updates on the weekly basis. No, I just got my the newest today morning


(Hlynur) They took their time to get over to Android.


(Mario) Yeah, it took them some some time, a few months to get into the Android. But I think now they got a lot of users from all the countries that are, you know, much more using Android than the iOS.


(Tanja) Do you still need the invitation?


(Mario) Yes, you still need the invitation, because the whole thing about the clubhouse is that the network itself is still in the beta stage. So that's why you still need the invitation.


(Pawel) But it's easy to get on DNS because more and more people have it.


(Mario): So, yeah. Yeah, it's it's no problem. I even have a few left.


(Tanja) So anyone from listeners wants invitation, contact Mario (laughs)



(Mario laughing) Yeah. And then I will get more invitations. So yes.


(Pawel) Then we know who is listening.


(Mario) The more you send, the more you sent, the more you get. So yes, what I really like about the whole story about the clubhouse is that there is one client that came out relatively recently for the clubhouse for Windows. It's like the unofficial clubhouse client developed by two geeks. It's called Clubdeck. It's not only made for blind people at all, but the thing is that those developers got a very good response from the community, from blind people. And in very short time, in a very few weeks, they started experimenting with Screen reader and how do how do they work and stuff like that, and they came out with almost 100 percent accessible Windows version of their product.Personally, when I tried it when I used it a few days ago last time, I haven't found any control that was not accessible, which is great. And that's showing how somebody who is looking forward to see what's what's this whole story about accessibility can sit down and learn how to code and how to implement it. It's also showing that it's not any kind of magic. You you can learn it and implement it into any of your apps. And yeah, I feel like it's the client has even much more features than the native clubhouse. Pawel have you tried it or anybody else?


(Hlynur)No I haven't, you can send me an invite, though.


(Mario) And I will, yes

(Pawel) Haven't yet I was a bit wary of trying this because I know it's an official app and I know they are not very Clubhouse People are not very happy about unofficial apps. And also you can be logged in only with one device at a time.

(Mario) yeah that's true.

(Pawel) If I  chose to be on the computer. I would have to sacrifice my Android device or my iPod, and I'm quite happy using this on my phone at the moment. So I didn't want to do it for that reason also. But I heard it's really great and it has some unique features. Even in the audio sphere. You can go apparently even in stereo, although I haven't heard yet how it works, but you can do some some real magic with audio there.


(Mario) Yeah. Yeah. So who wants to play around with it. Just Google for the Clubdeck and you will find it. It's, it's very easy to find it but yes. But speaking of the usage of the app, it's very easy to go back into the Android phone. You just basically get locked out. From the clubhouse and on the phone, so you just need to get your sms verification again in order to go back on your phone. And then when you go back, it everything is as you left it. So it's fine.


(Pawel) Ok, cool. Yeah, I'll give it a go. Also, simply, before we stop this, I think Twitter is also coming out to Twitter spaces now. So the space for this is getting a bit tighter on the Web and on Android and iOS. So it will be a bit more distributed across platforms. That's one thing I wanted to say. And the second one, there is another when we speak of audio apps, interesting project that is being developed in Poland and that’s  the Elten Social Network that maybe some of our younger listeners will know about already. It's a social network for the blind with all the options like forums, blogs, messages, a lot of the typical social networking features. But the module that is being actively worked on right now is conferencing. And it's really interesting because you have 3d rooms in which you can move around, you can get further away from people or closer to people. And you hear this all in 3D space audio. And you can even I think it's a premium feature, sadly, but you can place your own objects in this room so you can put some sound effects, some fireside crackling or birds singing or even some actual sound file that you have on your computer or some live stream. And it's quite advanced as well. You have stereo sound, you have all the high quality options. And the the latest one they're working on right now is the VST effects for each participant of the call. So even if they sound bad and you would like to record recording is also possible. A podcast, for example, you can you can try. And if you know what you're doing to improve the audio of the VST effects, or you can put some other effects if you want them to sound funny or anything different than what they already are. So there is that. And, uh, yeah, it's also something you can check out.


(Tanja) But how do you move in the 3D space?


(Pawel) You take steps witharrow keys, and the more you move to the right, the more you hear the person to the left and the more you go to the front, the more you hear the person to the back of your position and you can even locate people across the room. So you see the list of everyone and you can just choose, OK, I want to jump next to that person and you're teleported across the whole map and you can also whisper to people. So you just hold down the space bar on them and then only this person can hear what you're saying.


(Tanja) Ok, because is that through the Web browser?


(Pawel) For now, it's a client you have to install just for Windows, unfortunately. And it also, if you remember Clango back from ten years ago, it is self, voiced, however, with the sound of your with the voice of your own synthesiser. But it's not based on native controls of windows. So that maybe a bit of putting for some people, but it's still, uh, on the in the client. They are now working on the browser version, I was told. But apparently it's not so easy to put all the features in the browser.


(Tanja) Because I was using some months ago also a platform similar to this, but visual that was completely inaccessible. So I was not able to move through the room. But also, if it is visual, you don't know if you don't hear the other person, you don't know who is in the room. Maybe there are two other persons in some other corners of the room. But if you're not alerted, who is there, you don't know where they are that you can come closer to them. I mean, in these inaccessible Web based. app


(Pawel) I tried some of these solutions, too, and there was one that we were supposed to use for some training, which had stairs and different floors of the building and walls in them, and I couldn't figure out why I cannot reach the other person. And it turned out that she was across the room one floor below. I had to take the steps and I had no idea. There were also doors I had to open and none of that was announced with sound effects. So this kind of experiences, although this seemed like an ideal thing for blind people, they can be easily messed up as far as accessibility is concerned.


(Mario) That's definitely something I'm Looking forward to see if this web version of this network comes out, and I hope that it will be not only in Polish.


(Pawel) It's already in other languages, communities translating it, so it's you can even download the client if you want to and register in English and be free to explore it.


(Mario) Ok, and what's the recording quality of it?


(Pawel): It's good. It's actually it goes up to, I think for 44 KHZ so it's very it's they are definitely targeting audio geeks with that to because the developer who is doing it, he's in touch with people who know a lot about audio and he's keen to experiment with whatever they suggest to him as long as it's not too much tedious coding work. So a lot of really interesting ideas come up in this project.


(Mario) And does it record multitrack or.


(Pawel) It's I think it does. I think it does. And I think it also lets you stream two sound cards at a time. So if you have a mixer and you have two channels, no problem.


(Mario) Hmmm, something nice to experiment in the future. Nice. Maybe we even move our podcast platform, you never kno


(Intermezzo jingle)


The Green Pass and its accessibility

(Mario) I think we are finished now with our messengers and old stuff related to the messengers, and we can go to the almost last topic for today, but not the last, it's not less important. And these are the digital covid greenpasses , which are almost becoming reality, or in some countries, they're they're real since the beginning of June, when all of the story about digital version of those passes started to be announced a few months ago, there were different information floating around. And as it looks right now, this is a kind of PDF file in the digital form with the QR codes authorised by each country, and so when you get that. Certificate, you are able to travel through the through the whole European Union with it, and it should be accessible. That's what we've been told as well. Some organisations such as EDF were strong advocates of that. Which was nice to see, and however, I still don't have it, I have to finish my vaccination procedure. Yeah, I got my first one, and just after that, it will be available also in Luxembourg. I know that for right now, the countries that implemented it are using their national systems for the people to get those green certificates. Is that is that the case in your countries as well, guys, or how is it?


(Pawel) Yeah, definitely in Poland, from what I am told, because my vaccination is issued in Austria, so I can't access it like this. But you can use our national app for managing anything related to the governmental situation, your contact with governmental institutions and so on. And you can access it there. You can also get it separately, as far as I know, as a PDF and QR code. So, yes, that's how it's and also, I'm told in Austria, you can access your digital version in the form of a QR code through the local system here for for health insurance matters.


(Tanja) Yes. But what is interesting is not it is not only issued when you are vaccinated, it is also issued if you have a negative test on Covid or if you recovered so that you can travel freely or to enter cultural events where these green certificates will be required. So it's not only for those who are vaccinated.


(Pawel) Yeah, in German it's called the 3g rule because each of the words that means tested, vaccinated or recovered start with g: geimpft, getestet, genesen. So it's a bit easier to remember it in your head. I think it's everywhere like that.


(Mario) Yeah. I heard that the only difference between the certificate for the people who are vaccinated and people who unfortunately got Covid is the availability of the pass. I think that people who got through the virus, they can get the pass valid for six months and people who get vaccinated can get a certificate, which is valid for a year. That's what that's what I heard.


(Tanja) Yeah, but this is an interesting discussion because, you know, sometimes it seems that sometimes people who got the vaccine do not develop antibodies and some others who recovered have antibodies for some time.

(Mario) Yeah, true.


(Mario) Yeah, well, we will see what the future brings, but we hope that this summer we will be able to finally move around withthis Covid passes . If you have any comments about that, please send us an email or send us a tweet and tell us how did you obtain your Covid pass and whether is it accessible? I suppose that when I get it, I will put it on my phone and then I know I can put it on my home screen. Or it can be done as a notification, Pawel you found something for something for that?


(Pawel) Yes, there are. By combining two apps on Android. A quick shortcut maker and notification shortcuts, you can cause a button in your notification area to appear with a shortcut to any file on your phone. So if it's a PDF, you just choose in the notification shortcuts that you want to create a shortcut with the help of quick shortcut maker. And then you choose a shortcut to a file and then you point to your PDF file with your path and it appears as a button in your notifications. So it's all the time there as long as you don't take it down. So for all your travels or entering an event before you start, you can just put this in your notification bar and once you're done travelling or back home, you can remove it again. And it's very fast to do. And it's quite convenient. I must say.


(Mario) I have to say that I'm pretty much sure that this could be accessible by default on the Samsung phones, because Samsungs are coming with much more features built into their own interfaces. So maybe I don't even need to have those apps. I have to experiment.


(Hlynur) I can add a bit about how it is here. And I think we've have the digital vaccination certificates since late January.


(Mario) Oh, you are advanced man!.


(Hlynur) Yes, we are. And which would mean for you to login , that is. And I can see it now, I'm checking it out and I haven't. I haven't gotten the comment, I haven't gotten the vaccination. I've got nothing. I can see that there are three certificates here you can get a certificate for if you're being quarantined, probably to showcase to your employer or something like that. If you have gotten the cold virus, then you have can get a certificate for that. And also if you have been vaccinated. But I have done none of the above. So if I press the button to collect my certificate, that just tells me that there's no certificate to collect that. we've had here a vaccination lottery in the past few days.


(Mario) Vaccination lottery, what's that?


(Hlynur) Yeah, it's been has been showing live on TV every day. So what we did here is that it started with the the oldest people for vaccinations, health care employees and the people at risk maybe with. If you're working that kind of a job or if you have an underlying disease or an illness like cancer patients and such, after they finished those groups, they started just navigating downward in age. Until I think they have I think they have vaccinated like all people, like my in 1972, then 73 and so forth and seventy five, and then they were advised to do this more randomly. So instead of doing it, like, completely randomly, they said, OK, so now we will make some tickets, pink ones and blue ones and we will just track who will get vaccinated today. So. So they just pick a card and and they say, like, yeah, ok man born in nineteen eighty two, you will get a text message to come out and be vaccinated today. People were calling for like more predictability on that one because like if there were some extra doses left then you could, anyone could get a text message like at four o'clock. So like you need to be down in the major sports centre for vaccination in ten minutes. And so people are complaining a bit about that. So they just finished out all the rest that they have not vaccinated yet. And yesterday they were doing like a big lottery, just tracking everyone out. So everyone down to 18 years old should have gotten their first vaccination shot with in the next three weeks. So I think I am two weeks from now.


(Mario) Oh, OK, man, what a crazy time vaccination lottery. Before on the lottery, you would win a car. I don't know. A lot of money and stuff. Now you're getting the vaccine.


(Pawel) Well, when you said that Hlynur actually, because what we sadly had to do in Poland was apparently also was the case in the US is that so many people didn't want to get vaccinated, that in order to encourage people to give them a carrot and not a stick, they came up with actual lotteries where whenever you sign up to be vaccinated, you're entered for a draw for actual prices.


(Hlynur) Yeah, they don't need that here are except good for you have made it here. But I wouldn't I wouldn't mind.??? I saw one one dude in the US like win a million dollars in a vaccination lottery so I wouldn't mind


(Mario) Send the postcard to the Joe Biden maybe. Think about it. Yes.


(Hlynur) The worst case scenario here.


(Mario) What we still have left for you is the Netherlands interview, the interview fromPawel and Hlynur. Thanks, guys, for doing this. You made the great job I have to see.

(Pawel) It was also good doing this. Like pleasant to talk to Xavier and find out about this amazing technology.


(Mario): Yeah. Though it seems simple. It seems very effective. I have to say.


(Hlynur): Yeah, and it's probably not that simple. What do you mean by that? I mean, the the code itself is simple, but it took them five years to design it and make it work the way it was supposed to. Well, yeah, sure, I agree it's quite user friendly, but definitely much more sophisticated than people might think.


(Mario) Yeah, yeah. However, good point is that really you can use any kind of well, you can use a normal printer to bring those codes and put them wherever you want, which is nice. Or you can print them also on some plastic, some aluminium, whatever you want, if you want, if you want to have them forever on some buildings or some areas which are affected by the weather. So that's good.



Ebu Access Cast Interview Jingle


Interview with the CEO of Navilens

Hlynur: Hello, guys. Me and Pawel are sitting here with Javier Pita, founder and CEO of NaviLens. Good morning to you.


Javier: Good morning. Hello. Good morning, Pawel.


Pawel: Hello

Hlynur: Nice to have you here.


Pawel: Yeah, definitely.


Javier: Thank you. Thank you so much.


Hlynur: So for those who don't know what NaviLens is, maybe let's start with an open question. What is NaviLens?


Javier: Ok, very good question. NaviLens is like a new kind of QR code but instead of the QR code can be read very far away without need to focus or in frame it, that is very important. NaviLens was developed in order to search for a solution to help the visually impaired users to move indoors in unknown spaces. So we saw why don't create something, add to the space and help is the visually impaired users to receive information through their camera, reading the NaviLens code. And we spent five years to research and develop a new kind of QR code that could be read by a blind user without knowing where they are copies because you know that the QR code, you need to know where the QR code is going to read it. OK, so because the code was designed twenty-seven years ago. The QR code was invented in the 90’s in Japan and we spent five years to create a new kind of QR code that is the NaviLens code that can be read very far away. Very, very easily. And indeed a NaviLens code of 20 centimeters can be read at 12 meters far away, 12 meters away without me to inframe it. And there is a lot of use cases where this technology is being implemented.


Pawel: Ok, so maybe a question from me. There are many solutions for indoor navigation and the world sort of cannot agree, which is the best approach. Quite often we see Bluetooth beacons being the golden standard everyone wants to achieve, whether they are detected by your phone and the phone guides you or they are detected by your phone as well but they themselves that you know where they are by beeping or telling you, “Here I am, I'm the beacon for entrance door” or something. Why QR codes, especially when you think blind people using cameras, aiming with the cameras in a certain at a certain point. Why QR codes and not, I don't know, for example, Bluetooth beacons or some other technology that doesn't rely on you being able to use a camera?


Javier: Ok, so a good question. The point with the location, the problem as always is the location, the accuracy and the accuracy of the location. OK, so the problem with the Bluetooth becomes and the problem with the GPS as well outdoors, there is a problem is that GPS and beacons are not accurate enough to deliver a very accurate indication for the user. OK, for example, the beacons, you have an area, you can know that you are in an area, but you cannot see the direction to the element, the direction and the distance development. So the NaviLens code is solving this problem because then NaviLens code, we can know exactly the direction and the distance to the element. And these allow to an incredible new technology to deliver incredible instructions for the for the blind users. OK, so the idea behind NaviLens is making things simpler and more efficient for the places, because, for example, we started applying NaviLens at the bus, the transport system and for example, the bus stops. If one city like for example, Barcelona has two thousand six hundred bus stops, it's very important to locate what solution that would work very efficiently and at the same time will be good, could be implemented very efficiently by the transit operator. So our approach is we use in the NaviLens code, we add the NaviLens code on the elements like at the bus stop there, the main entrance to the metro station to different elements and thanks to the capability could detect the code very far away. We can guide the user to that element, all through that space. OK, I don't know if you are familiar with that new feature that we have launched two weeks ago for iOS users, that is called NaviLens 360 vision. The incredible thing about that is that the user only needs to see the code once and when the code is seen one time, the NaviLens app guides the user exactly to the position of the code independently, even if the user is still seeing the code or not. This is quite impressive. I can maybe do a demonstration if you want to hear how the system is working.


Hlynur: Yeah. How does that work? How does it like remember where the code is located?


Javier: Yes. Very good question. We have spent three years, the last three years to combine the algorithm that we use to detect the NaviLens code very far away, remember, depending on the size, we can detect the code farther. OK, for example, the Barcelona bus stops are using codes of 20 centimeters so that gold can be detected at twenty-five meters that way. That is impressive. So the ways we have combined that algorithm with the new tracking system, the AR kit at Apple and very soon with Android and we combine these two wars in order to position the code immediately. So doing that, we can know exactly where the NaviLens code is and combining with the tracking the information, we can inform the user where exactly the code is which is quite impressive. The only thing that the user needs is using the NaviLens app. OK, having the NaviLens app. OK, then when the user of the vicinity of a bus stop. OK, remember that GPS is not accurate enough, there is the last few meters wayfinding problem when the user is detecting the code will launch automatically the new mode that is 360 vision, this new mode will inform the user with a 3D sound with drums and a bell. The drums are 3D positioning sound, you know, to inform the user where exactly is the code and the bell is that the user is pointing to the code, OK, if I move in the position will for always that distance, OK to the element. And additionally, we are offering haptic feedback for the users when using the mobile phone, that obviously I can not so hear today, but you can try for yourself, downloading the NaviLens ap. OK, so with this, with this functionality, OK, I'm going to open the NaviLens, OK, I'm going to point to a code, OK. And please hear


Screen reader: Activating 360 vision, lock code, bus stop.


Javier: OK. And this is this moment that the code is located


Screen reader: 4 meters to your left.


Javier: And in one moment I can know exactly where they code is and when I read one meter to the code…


Screen reader: Information has been updated. Barcelona bus stop, Gran via plaza Espania. Upcoming arrivals, line H12, Besos Vernide 4 minutes. Line 91, Meso, 5 minutes.


Javier: Ok, and this is real time information. You must try it because it's super impressive.


Hlynur: Also, one neat thing about this that I learned was the information that it is reading. It's inserted not in English as it's inserted in Spanish.


Javier: Yes. Yes.


Hlynur: But because you have your phone in English, it auto translates over to English.


Javier: Yes. Very, very good point. OK, yes. The NaviLens code in this case is in Spanish but the NaviLens cloud platform translates automatically to thirty three languages and the user is being formatted in their own language. And this is a very nice feature.


Pawel: I find is especially good as a blind tourist in other countries, because until now I had the feeling that in order to make use of all the accessibility features that a certain country offers, I have to speak the language of the country. So imagine I come to Spain, I want to take my cash out at an ATM. I probably need to speak Spanish because the only language that will be supported will be Spanish. And this is a huge barrier, even if the accessibility is there. As a blind tourist who wants to travel independently, it's very difficult to make use of all the goodies that are available for everyone there because we don't speak the language. And here you've solved this problem like this. One question. How are you feeding this information in real time? I suppose the QR code contains some kind of URL right that points to the Barcelona transit system data file and this is automatically updated in the background or how is this made so smart?


Javier: Thank you so much. Two things. The translations are super important. OK, but not only for the blind users, OK for everyone, everybody. Because when you are travelling to another country and you are seeing signage that's in another language is a barrier for you. OK, so the good thing is that the numbers could translate automatically the information as well for the blind users and for everybody that because we believe in an inclusive technology that is helping that is not only helping the visually impaired but is helping everybody, OK? Oh, yes. This is a very important and everything. And then the real time information is that NaviLens is a combination between the NaviLens code that is the code that can be implemented everywhere. OK, plus a cloud system. And we combine the information the static information about the element. Imagine this is the bus stop number 12. OK, at this location and we combine with real time web service of the customer and in order that we inject that information in the same message, combining the static information plus the dynamic information in a very convenient way for the user. And the incredible thing is that we can combine any kind of information. In this use case we are telling the users the number of the next bus that comes. But we can deliver any kind of real time information, for example in a metro station, the status of the elevators, all disruption of the service of any diversional on the transit system. OK, and this becomes super powerful because we combine a static plus dynamic content.


Hlynur: That is amazing.


Pawel: Is it more difficult for me as a blind user, for example, to find the code using the camera than it would be, for instance, for Hlynur who still has residual vision because he can, for instance, zoom in the picture. I saw there are plenty of tools in the app for people who still can see something about zooming and not only zooming. Is there any kind of advantage if you have some vision left to the instance where you were blind completely, or is there no difference in the experience?


Javier: This code has been created for achieving the goal to be able to scan of code for a blind user, OK, without vision. OK, so we designed this code precisely to be able to scan the code without knowing where the code exactly is. OK, so you don't need to make a zoom in order to detect a code OK, obviously there is an option in the application for them to activate the zoom. But it's not used very much because the technology works as well as it is working because without zoom and 20 centimeters can be 12 meters far away. And if you have the last mobile phone maybe. 15 meters far away, indeed, I think that Hlynur in their headquarters in Iceland, they have implemented a very quite, bigger code, right? That it's possible to read very far away. So it is the case. You don't need to focus in order to scan the code, because at the moment that the code is being captured with the camera at any place you can read the code. And this is something that you must try in order to feel how the technology works, OK, because all the people are normally having this opinion that scanning a code is very difficult. And people think that these can be a challenge. And this is not. Hlynur, could you tell us about their experience with the code that you have in your main door?


Hlynur: Yeah, we created a code, so we had it printed on an aluminum sign and we put it on the front of the building. It's the code itself is around 70, 75 centimeters across. And without the zoom, it could be detected from my phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy, A70. So it's not the best camera. It could detect it from like 35 meters away without the one using the zoom function. I could detect the code from 80 meters away, which is ridiculous.


Pawel: Wow!


(All laughing)


Javier: It’s impressive.


Hlynur: And this is less than a meter wide.


Pawel: And you also tried it out with blind people right, completely blind people and they could also be detected from that far?


Hlynur: Yeah, just the phone because the phone is using the whole like 160 degrees of your camera vision fields. So it doesn't matter if the code is on the left side of the visual aspect of the camera or centered that uses the whole whole field of the camera. So it doesn't need to be centered like the regular QR code. So this was kind of amazing. I took a walk in the amazing weather here in the winter Iceland and tried this out and I could not believe the result I was getting.


Pawel: And it works both so well with both iOS and Android devices. Right. Or is there a difference in that? I mean, I guess it depends. If you have a cheaper Android phone, chances probably are the results will not be that good.


Javier: It is working in both platforms. For us, it is very important as well, because we are designing signage for everybody and it's very important to have that element in all kind of devices. And yes, you are right, depending on the quality of the camera, you will be able to read the code farther or closer. But the performance is very well in general. And the incredible thing about this technology is that is getting better and better with the technology. This is something that usually does not happen. When new mobile phones are going to be launched more meters will be able to read the code. OK, so it is a curious thing so yes.


Hlynur: It's advancing, but you guys don't have to do it.


Javier: Yes, yes.


Hlynur: Apple and Samsung are doing that for you.


Javier: Yes, yes, of course, in that case. We always are working very, very actively in the technology indeed. We are working on this product from 2012 and we spend five years to create the NaviLens code. And after these five years, we  are a team of 15 people and we are all in support every day working in order to improve the NaviLens app. OK, always adding a new feature, functionality, like for example the 360 vision that is amazing. OK, so yes, I know. And another details. We are benefiting from the better cameras that the market is launching. The point is this technology is growing better and better with time.


Pawel: Which is a good argument for blind people who are wondering “Why do I need a super phone with this awesome camera if I don't take any photos? I take hardly any photos in my life. I don't need it for OCR, probably because I will. OCR goes already quite well with an average camera of your every smartphone these days.” But for this the better camera you have, the further the codes can be detected from. That's cool.


Javier: Yes, but this is a good point. OK, and obviously if you have a better camera you have better results, OK, but the point is it's not necessary to have the last iPhone, the last Android, the last mobile phone, because indeed, with iPhones and Androids, from five or six or even seven is all OK. The technology works very, very well. OK, and because we are not working at the maximum resolution of the camera or working with some, but the thing is, we designed this technology starting in 2012, OK, and is working very well in all kinds of devices. Obviously, you have a better camera, you would have more distance, but it is not necessary to have the last mobile to enjoy about NaviLens. And this capability allows a new kind of solutions because we are talking about the transit system and the bus stops and metros. We have implementation in Barcelona and Madrid. And more in Spain, in several cities in the USA, in New York, and we are proud, European technology in America. And helping individual people in the States and other countries in the world. So at the beginning, it was to improve or make more accessible transit because transit is key for the mobility of the user. But the capability that the code has is opening new use cases, for example, the project that was launched in the United Kingdom with Kellogg's and the RNIB was to add the NaviLens on the Kellogg's Coco Pops cereal food package, OK. And the thing is, this is a very efficient way to make accessible the information that is on the package, easily because, again, using a NaviLens code, you can access to the information that is on the package, indexes, weight, in 33 languages as well. OK, so the technical capabilities of this new kind of code is unveiling new use cases then to make items more accessible. That is very important.


Hlynur: This is great. I have one question. I always had a weak spot for companies that are socially responsible. Of course, you have your like, those who want to implement NaviLens, they probably have to pay some kind of license fee. But you also have free packages, right?


Javier: Of course. Of course. And indeed, for us, one key thing is this technology is always free for the users,always and will be always free for the users. OK, so the users, we are implementing the technology in several other scenarios in transit system, right now with Kellogg’s with the Coco Pops and other use cases, but any user can download free NaviLens codes into the app so they can download, the uses can download the NaviLens domestic or personal codes for free and the users can use that code, in order to tack anything, anything in their home, in their houses. For example, when… we have several use cases, some users are using them to make up the food boxes, as I have before, like Tupperware or something like that. You know in order to know what exactly is inside the Tupperware, in order to tack things in folders to tack, for example small trees. You know, they do this thing  and make some annotations for them to see the status and the needs that this is small tree needs, something like that.


OK, and we recently, six months ago, we launched NaviLens friends and family. Friends and family is the ability to share the information that you're storing that personal codes for with others. Because we are always very, very focused on the user, for us is the most important. And we receive one petition from several members that live together. They were students living in Netherlands. And they asked, OK, it would be great if I can share the information that I'm writing in the Navilens codes with my colleagues, my flatmates, OK? And we launched the friends and family where any user can share their own annotation with other users in order to that, they can access to the same information in the codes. So there is an endless number of possibilities of using the NaviLens codes for different scenarios. And indeed, with the results of the 360 vision,, we have launched new packages and right now the users can do a lot more than five hundred personal NaviLens codes. So this is a very cool feature for free, of course, for the users.


Hlynur: And how about like schools and institutions, workplaces, etc.


Javier: For us the support of educational buildings, OK, for students is a key priority. So we launched a bunch of NaviLens codes with pre-recorded information with typical things inside the school or association, for example, in the. OK, you have several common places, could be female toilet, male toilet, principal's office, OK, auditorium something like that. OK, so we decided to launch a free kit with the difference with the personal codes, the personal codes are empty, OK? They user needs to record any information, but with a school kit that can be downloaded for free at, any school at the world, can download the NaviLens codes with pre-recorded information and lots of codes with these typical places inside the schools, it’s as easy as print on a piece of paper, a standard piece of paper and put on the elements in order to allow to scan these codes in a school. For example, with the Covid situation, we launched the sanitizer code. So we updated with more codes, you know, to help the schools, then to look at where they sanitizers are. OK, yes the the school kit is very good batch of free codes to improve the accessibility of the schools and any school in the world can download them for free at


Hlynur: And so for the schools, it's no coding, no programming, no excuses.


Javier: Yes. Yes. Simple, simple and quick.


Hlynur: Right. This sounds great. That sounds very great. Panel, do you have any further questions for Javier?


Pawel: I think it would be good if you shared with our listeners who as the EBU itself come from many different countries. Could you name a couple of examples of where in Europe can the blind users already enjoy your technology on the spot?


Javier: Yes, of course. So since we’re hosting this show with Hlynur. OK, so we are very proud that Hlynur can comment more about his experience. Hlynur, could you tell us about the experience you have had in your own building?


Hlynur: Yes, of course. We have been trying this out here. Also me myself am learning like what information would I need to gather on a single code? And there's also like a nice, nice option that I can put in a short text, which might say just meeting room. And I can also put like a longer version where I can place like meeting room. The light switch is to the left. On the right, you have a meeting table with ten chairs, five on each side, like I can go into details describing the room. And that had me also thinking and people here have been quite excited and happy about this add-on that we have placed here. So I definitely recommend it for other associations and companies to implement.But I was also thinking like, OK, when we can start travelling again, which might be soon, let's say you're going to a conference like an EBU conference in Austria or somewhere. And the hotel that you are will be staying at will have NaviLens codes installed. It might be in general or it might be just for the special conference. You could, like, put in details what the hotel looks like. You could insert that to the NaviLens codes and you could share that with those who are going to be attending the conference so they could get in advance in their own home in their own time, like prepare and learn about what the hotel looks like. Kind of get a visual description of the hotel from the NaviLens codes, am I right?


Javier: Of course. Very easy indeed.


Pawel: I thought more about if you could share with us in which cities specifically have you already installed a technology, for instance, at a train station or other object so that the listeners from the cities can already know and check out your product?


Javier: Ok, perfect as we are. We are in Spain. OK, we are starting working in Spain indeed, we work first with ONCE. That is the National Association for the Blind here in Spain. OK, as you know, OK. And we have so many places here in Spain, like in Barcelona, all the subway stations, all the bus stops in Alicante, Murcia. In Madrid. In one station there is a very good project with the tactile paving, that could be interesting to talk more about in another programme. OK, and it's been a lot of museums, museums with the technology that these are very useful use case as well. OK, with the technology and outside of Spain, we have in the UK there, for example, working with the RNIB, implementing in several places. OK, we are indeed in progress, but we implemented several transit organisations in the UK. Very soon we will be available. in France we have implemented the technology industry in a station very, very close to Paris. We are implementing the technology in other countries like Germany that will be very soon announced, OK? And in other countries, I'm thinking in real time in the United States is outside of Europe, OK? And and more and more more venues are implementing the technology by themselves so far with the school kids, a lot of school kids, OK. Something I think that the best in order to try this technology for the users is, since me and Juan, we are implementing them in so many places, that try the personal NaviLens codes OK, and then to see all the benefits of the technology to apply for their domestic use is my recommendation. And of course, if you come to Spain, you will find very inclusive cities with the NaviLens technology.


Hlynur: Sounds great


Pawel: Indeed. Well, congratulations on your successful implementations. And here's to hoping that more will come in the near future.


Javier: I hope so. I hope so, because we have a dream and indeed our mission, our mission and mission is to make a more inclusive world. OK, with priority for the visually impaired, for everybody, OK? And we are putting all our energy, all our passion, all our work to achieve that. And we think that in this way, that is a code that can be easily added to any signage is not excuse right now to make any space more accessible and more inclusive. And this is our dream and this is not the goal that we are looking for and working for.


Pawel: Great. Good luck.


Hlynur: Great.. Thank you very much. Thank you for joining us here on the EBU Access Cast, Javier.


Javier: Thank you so much. It's my pleasure.


Announcing voice: Demo time




Announcing voice: Let's play with our gadgets.


Tanja: In this demo I will show the new feature in NaviLens 360 vision. This new feature lets you hear the location of a QR code in the space with a 3D sound. So it works best with headphones. And for safety, the best is to use bone conduction headphones. Of course, you can listen to the phone. The sound reproduction will be better with headphones. I will enter in NaviLens application


iPhone: NaviLens: Point to the tag with the camera to read it.


Tanja: And from the home screen, I can easily find the new 360 vision feature, I will open it.


iPhone: Activating 360 vision.


Tanja: Ok, and it's immediately ready to scan, I will just tap through the screen to let you hear what are the options,


Speaker1: 360 vision, beta, help.


Tanja: But we have a hope for more information


iPhone: Scan around you for NaviLens codes.


Tanja: Scanning around you. So let us see. I have a QR code. As soon as it finds it, it will remember the position of the code. So even if you move the camera away from the QR code, the drums, the sound of the drums will indicate whether the QR code is on your left or right, while the bell will tell you where is the QR code if you are pointing it with the camera in front of you. Let's see how it works


iPhone: Scan around you for NaviLens codes. Bus stop.


Tanja: Three meters away. The bell indicates that it is in front of me, but let’s see if I move by the phone to the right.


iPhone: Two meters to your left.


Tanja: The song goes on the left ear because I'm moving away on the other side. Turning round round round.


iPhone: Two meters behind.


Tanja: So it's really behind me, there’s even a sound for that.


Tanja: Now, the sound is on the right here because the QR code is on my right.  I’m turning around,


iPhone Two meters ahead.


Tanja: And now it’s in front of me. I'm approaching the QR code.


iPhone: Alert. 23:17. NaviLens. Bus  number 12.


Tanja: Ok, let's see what are the information provided


iPhone: Bus stop number 12. Upcoming arrivals (information about which busses are next arriving). Thank you for using NaviLens new inter-digital signage for everybody. Close election, button, personal annotation.


Tanja: We can also add personal annotation on this tag, if we need, delete this tag or reload it.


iPhone: Reload, delete personal annotation, close election, button.


Tanja: If we close the tag


iPhone: NaviLens. Bus stop number 12.


Tanja: It will be saved on the home screen of NaviLens. I hope you enjoyed the demo. And if you have the opportunity to use NaviLens QR codes, try it yourself.


Mario: Ok, so thanks for listening to us, as always, we are reachable on email and on Twitter. If you have any feedback, comments, even if you want to criticize us, yes, you can. We will survive. So, yeah, you can contact us and we are looking to be back with you in the next six weeks. Take care all of you and stay safe.


Tanja, Pawel and Hlynur: Bye bye bye


Outro Jingle

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