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Better accessibility/automation for Webex Meetings

I would like to see better accessibility / automation options for Webex Meetings. In particular, I want some way for external programs to query the current state of the microphone and camera and to turn them on or off.

The accessibility use case is as follows: Someone with poor vision may have trouble seeing the on-screen mic and camera controls. Having this information available to external programs would allow the creation of assistive devices tailored to the individual: Perhaps turning on a light or or enabling a haptic feedback device to vibrate when the mic or camera are on.

To go along with this, some way is also needed for external programs to turn the mic/camera on and off. A person with limited mobility may have trouble moving the mouse over the control or pressing a multi-key sequence such as ctrl-M to change the state. A possible assistive device could be a large, easy-to-press arcade-style button, or integration with a puff switch controller.

(As an aside, ctrl-M toggles the state of the mic, which isn't terribly useful if you can't determine which state it's in to begin with! There needs to be a way to set the mic/camera specifically to either on or off, not just to "the other one".)

Certainly other functions could be implemented as well. Ideally there would be automation controls for everything a typical user could do with the keyboard and mouse. I envision something like a REST interface implemented by the Meetings client on a local interface.

When I suggested this to Cisco WebEx Support they rejected it on security grounds. I can certainly see that enabling control by external programs presents a security risk. This could be mitigated by having a user setting to enable automation and by requiring an API key. Not enabled? No automation. Wrong key in the request? No automation. This would preserve the security of the application for the vast majority of users, while still accomodating the few who need custom assistive devices.

  • Steven King
  • Jul 29 2021
  • Already exists
  • Steven King commented
    7 Oct, 2021 02:33pm

    This request is marked "Already exists". Does that mean that this is a duplicate request, or that the functionality already exists in the product. If the latter, please tell me how I can do it, because I sure as heck don't see a way to.

  • Steven King commented
    29 Jul, 2021 07:01pm

    I realize that I wasn't clear in the description. The request is for use in desktop clients, not mobile or web clients.