Home > Development > User Interface Design for Voice Command Accessibility

User Interface Design for Voice Command Accessibility

Now that I’ve been playing around with voice dictation and voice commands for a few weeks (whether it is the built-in Windows, Vista+ feature or via third party such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking) I find that you must give a different prefix to commands depending upon what sort of application it is – rich or lightweight that he is say a native Windows application or something in a Web browser to select whether it is Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox or whatever.  Let me explain:

For humble experienced users such as myself this complex change or the way that I issue the command can be rather frustrating because I must remember what type of application when using pen also the way I speak to the computer accordingly.

 

…they should not really care whether the thing that is in front of them is a rich application or something that is in a web browser…

 

If I’m just performing dictation (for example dictating my name, address, or the name of the document)  into some form of text box or moving the selection of a listbox up-and-down then it doesn’t really matter whether I’m using Windows file Explorer, Microsoft Internet Internet Explorer, Firefox or Opera I can dictate to all of these types of applications without changing the way I do it, which is good.

 

Local Rich Applications

However, if I wish to click a button, click menu items, toolbar buttons or select a hyperlink (whether it is something on a webpage or a link in a local rich applications legacy pre-HTML help file) in the process of something like this:

(Speak – you dont actually say the word speak) xxxxx” where xxxx is selecting items in the Start Menu, menu items, folders, toolbar buttons, text fields and labels. e.g. “my computer”,  “pictures”, “tools”, “options”, “bold”, “ok”, “cancel” .

In other words, you just say the name of the control itself (which generally matches the tooltip)

Web Applications

However for any web page regardless of browser, it seems this is the following approach.  Users must use:

click OK

click Cancel

click Mozilla

click first name / click textbox…[1,2,3,4] ( as in the case of Dragon)

Sadly, if the webpage doesn’t use your one of the mill Web controls, then you are out of luck and controlling these types of controls requires much more dexterity.

Summary

This sort of thing is rather confusing, and will no doubt likely confuse users because at the end of the day when sitting in front of a computer, they should not really care whether the thing that is in front of them is a rich application or something that is in a web browserthey both are running on the same monitor, how they are presented to the user is irrelevant and is perhaps arrogant to force the user to adapt to the underlying technology involved when presenting the information to the user.

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