Voice Finger: Improve Windows Speech Recognition grid and key commands

If you’re using Windows 7 or Windows Vista speech recognition, you might find the following program indispensable: Voice Finger. It was developed by speech recognition user Robson Cozendey in response to the limited range of the Mouse Grid and multiple syllables required for keypress commands. Instead of a broad 9 square grid that must be progressively narrowed, Voice Finger uses a 44×44 grid that appears to cover the entire screen, so as to reach the click target immediately. You can reduce the syllables of keypress commands by saying A, B, C and so forth, rather than using the “press” command. You can likely do other things, but since I’m using XP I couldn’t install the program to review it fully. I can, however, say that I would prefer Voice Finger to Dragon’s Mouse Grid any day.

I do want to say, though, that this program is an example of what assistive tech users need: empathy. Cozendey wrote this program entirely by voice, knowing what it’s like not to have a mouse or keyboard at the ready. All I can do is contrast this with the Nuance employee who seriously said how hard it was to test an issue without a mouse connected, or the proposed solution to Dragon’s occasionally clicking the wrong number flag in multiple Firefox choices: just use the mouse. We’re going to need programmers with disabilities to design, to consult, if we want programs that truly meet our needs without cutting corners. People who use assistive technology every day are going to have a more intimate knowledge of it, and an attention to details and inconveniences that programmers without disabilities might overlook because they don’t need to use such and such a feature.

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3 Responses to Voice Finger: Improve Windows Speech Recognition grid and key commands

  1. G F Mueden says:

    It would help if once in a while you told us of the limitations under which you work. It would help answer the question “Would this be helpful for … ? An alternative would be for you to say for whom it would be helpful and list the disabilities it overcomes — or doesn’t. It is not always clear.
    Whatever, for goodness sakes, keep it up. ===gm===

  2. hand2mouth says:

    Understandable. That’s always difficult for me to answer, because the sheer range and combination of disabilities is so broad, but I can see why you would be asking that. So, for example, Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Windows Speech Recognition would assist people who have no use of or limited use of their hands (or hand). Therefore, an add-on like Voice Finger or Vocola would help provide even more hands-free control of their computer. However, speech recognition is also used by people with dyslexia or other learning disabilities that make writing difficult. So the concern there would be more dictation than command, and so some of the command utilities or tweaks I review wouldn’t apply in that case. But in that case, the users would likely realize they didn’t need the commands and bypass the suggestions. Dyslexia also raises Dragon’s possible incompatibility with screen readers, etc.

    With speech recognition, I concentrate more on total hands free control — both dictation and command — because that’s what I need Dragon for. That kind of disability is what I experience, being one-handed and having lost some function in that hand. I’m perhaps a bit too cautious about mentioning other disabilities because I haven’t experienced them, and so I’m uncertain sometimes whether something will work or not. I appreciate the feedback; I’m always looking for ways to improve what I do here. And if I review something and you think it might work for another disability (or not work), by all means feel free to comment on it. Anything that makes the post more helpful.

  3. Lia Rae says:

    This was awesome! Thank you for writing it

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