Any blind or partially sighted users out there?

Hi - I am a blind tandem cyclist and long term podcast addict. I have just ordered a smart bike and really hope to be able to use trainer road. I use apple devices with current iOS versions, using ‘voice over’ to read screens and touch gestures to navigate and activate links/buttons. I contacted support some time ago and whilst they could give me no specific insight into the app’s voice over compatibility they did offer me a 30 day trial. When my bike arrives I will be taking up this offer but I am keen to take advantage of anyone else’s experiences. I would als share anything that I learn here too!
Thanks in advance for any help - Martin

7 Likes

Welcome! Unfortunately I am not an apple user, but I do wonder if someone who is could test the voiceover for you, before your bike arrives?

To be honest I have doubts that a voiceover app will be much use. While a lot of the workouts have instructions, these are more coaching tips and don’t always or consistantly relate to the upcoming intervals. Even as a sighted user, you have to rely a bit on your memory and a graph showing the workout.

You will know this way better than me, but I would think it would be more useful to you if the TR app would announce each upcoming interval a few seconds before it starts, for example: “next up, 120% ftp for 2 minutes”. Currently there is no text in the app that does that unfortunately. I don’t think it would be too hard to implement using the workout creator though…

1 Like

I believe our Mac/PC app works very well with voice over today. That was one of the goals for our redesign.

I’m not positive If our current iOS app works well but we have a new one coming out soon that should work well with a screen reader.

Please let us know how iOS works for you.

9 Likes

Hello Nate, Thanks for taking the time to respond personally.

As I mentioned in my initial post, the voiceover functionality allows touch gestures to navigate and action objects on the ios device.

Commanding Siri to “turn on/off voiceover” will toggle the functionality. Within Voiceover in accessibility in the device’s settings menu there is a very brief tutorial of the touch gestures that can get a blind user started.

In terms of my personal use, there are widely varying experiences from app to app.

An example of very bad would be Garmin Connect. This app uses developers’ labels for links and button objects on the screen, or simply leaves a button unlabelled. Therefore, when navigating from object to object, voiceover will spew forth a long string of characters and development abbreviations that bare little or no relevance to the function of that button. Additionally, the screens are often designed in such a way that objects appear to be “layered” in such a way that one can only navigate and access the objects on the top level screen and the embedded objects cannot be accessed at all. (I have to ask my wife to activate these buttons by turning off voiceover and once she’s pressed them, turning it back on.

Strava does a better job, although the screens are densely packed with objects and often the titles of data fields will be ordered on screen before any of the associated data fields. This means I have to recall the order of the titles when listening to a sequence of numbers. Familiarity overcomes this problem soon enough, but its less than optimal for a blind user. (it may also be the best that can be done using the tools available though)

My idea of a “good” app would be something like the BBC Weather app, or BBC Sounds. Here, the objects are all labelled with a title that succinctly describes that objects function. All the visible objects are navigable by touch, with none of them being hidden by “embedding.”

I hope this gives an idea of my use of Voiceover on IOS. To experience the “joy” of Garmin Connect and the likes, you need only turn on Voiceover and perform a three-fingered triple tap on the screen to activate the screen curtain and you will have a blank screen on your device and will be able to play at navigating around the app. The three fingered triple tap will toggle screen curtain back off and requesting Siri to turn Voiceover off will return the device to normal use. (if you have a play, beware the three fingered double tap as this toggles the voice itself off and on without turning the voiceover functionality itself off.)

Can I just say that it comes as no surprise that the TR CEO has taken the time to reply. It is clear from listening to the podcast that you are a committed and passionate business owner. I hope that I come across as well as you when I talk to the customers of my small manufacturing business here in the Uk.

As soon as my Wattbike Atom arrives, I will be opening my trial account and will be happy to feed back my experiences to the team. Insofar as I can, I would also be happy to work with any accessibility development you undertake.
Kind regards
Martin

10 Likes

Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this with the forum. One of my colleagues is partially sighted and when he started working with us I couldn’t believe how badly IT systems and offices in general are set out for partially sighted and blind people. I hadn’t even considered how a partially sighted or blind cyclist would interact with TR, so thanks for the insight. Good luck with getting everything to work!

4 Likes

I have to admit, I would love the app to talk to me and to respond to voice questions like “how long left?”. I had some mad late night thoughts about how it would all work. I don’t see why you couldn’t have an audio version of the workout, where intervals get announced beforehand and then maybe a sound every minute as some sort of time tracker. Pretty sure a script could take this information from the current workouts and create some sort of file for the voice software, though I have to admit I have no clue how voiceover software works! There are other things too, for example there is a coloured line to show how close you are to target power, and maybe that could be represented by beeps with different pitches. (As a side note, that line is green and red on the android app at last, which isn’t great for colourblind people).

It would be nice if I wouldn’t have to look at the screen. I think that would also really be useful for outdoor workouts, you wouldn’t need to look down.

In terms of interaction with the app, there isn’t too much I believe. You can change the intensity, and you can scroll forward and backward in time. The workout starts automatically when you start pedelling, and stops when you stop. You can disable that, but it’s the default. You then get options to save or discard after it finishes. There is probably more, but that seems to be the core functionality to me.

Thanks for the kind words!

I’ve seen some reviews from us that we’ve done a good job for visually impaired people since our last desktop update.

When you get that atom let us know how your experience is.

2 Likes

Happy New Year Trainer Road. I’m five weeks in to Sweet Spot Base One and here are a couple of videos describing my experience of the app. I’m enjoying using it, but as you will see the app design is not without challenges for the visually impaired. Here’s hoping they are issues you may be able to overcome in the future. Thanks, Martin.

5 Likes

Hello Nate, my daughter kindly shot a couple of vids of my experience of using the app so far.
As you’ll see it is reasonably user friendly once I have arrived at the required workout, but navigation around the app is pretty much impossible. Ican’tt access certain areas of the screen, namely the back arrow at the top left, the menu button that allows me to browse plans etc and I am unable to actually load a session without the help of a third party.

I do appreciate that I am a tiny fraction of your user base, but I really do hope that it won’t be a massive task for the development team to correct the issue soon.

I would be more than happy to liaise with any member of the team who might seek to better understand the accessibility issues I have and I would be happy too to act as a guinea pig should you want a blind person’s perspective on any future developments.

Wishing you a happy new year. I thoroughly enjoyed the latest podcast and agree that Amber is a great addition to the crew. I bought Roar as a gift for both my daughter and a friend who is a competitive female runner and the reviews are super positive.

All the best to you and the team.

Martin

3 Likes

Thanks for this! We have a new app coming out in the next few months and I think it will support visually impaired people better. When that app comes out, do you mind doing this again? I can send the video to a product manager and then we can get it working better.

5 Likes

Nate your awesome. I’m also legally blind. I can see good enough to do most thing just not drive. So I can use they normal app but larger text is always better:) and also sometimes different color options could help

2 Likes

I find this very interesting and hope that the new app works better for this user community. Just wanted to add that I went to my local polar bear ride and got blasted by a tandem bike with a blind rider training for the Para Olympics. He dropped me like a bag of rocks in the crosswind on the tandem. I’ll pass on this form post to him and see if he has been training with TR. He must be doing some indoor training.

2 Likes

Hello Nate, it’s great to hear that development is underway. Of course I would be happy to help in any way that I can. Feel free to share my email address or mobile number (cell number!) with the product manager and I will react as they need.

Just three more rides to finish Sweet Spot Base MV1 and loving the feeling of getting stronger even though my legs feel tired right now!

Look forward to hearing from you or your colleagues soon.

Best wishes

Martin

3 Likes

Hello Nate,
This request also came up in our local ‘Smart-Trainers’ facebook group (ISRAEL) and I was wondering if there is any update?
I think TrainerRoad’s clear, clean and simple UI is a great platform for partially sighted users and if only there was a voice over reading out loud the instructions , the target watts and perhaps the status per each interval - this could be a great solution for an ERG based workout.
Thanks in advance for your input,

Shay

Our new mobile app is being designed for screen readers. It’s in the “speed improvement” stage of release with a few bugs outstanding so it’s getting closer.

We’ll need feedback though after we launch about how we can make it better.

2 Likes

Hi Nate
I will be more than happy to offer any user feedback that may be appropriate.
In addition I will also be happy to offer you my specific feedback on any structure testing that you would like to carry out with a blind user. Unfortunately I am still only an iOS user
Cheers

Martin

1 Like

Thanks. @Pete can we include @MEN705 in the early beta testing?

3 Likes

@MEN705 I’m going to add you to the list for early beta testing, and as soon as we have something to send out you will be one of the first to know. Thanks for helping us out!

1 Like

Jumping in late here, but my name is Ashley. I’m a blind triathlete and would love the opportunity to test TR app accessibility as there isn’t anything to my knowledge that is accessible to those of us with no vision. Thanks!

2 Likes

yes, I have very poor eyesight