In the recent brouhaha over Microsoft’s Word lawsuit, I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if Word really did disappear. That’s a longshot, but all the same… what would users of speech recognition be left with, besides WordPad? For once I’m not talking about tinkering or forcing things to work. I mean something that comes with select and say capability and vocally accessible menus — a program with a little more forethought. So…
Jarte Plus. One program. It’s a decent program, and it’s current and cheap — $19. But come on. Over the course of my experiments, I must have rejected at least 50 text editors and word processors because they just didn’t bother. Are you telling me that only one company is aware of speech recognition users enough that they KNEW that we’d be trying it out? Seriously, check the Jarte help site. There is a setting file in Jarte Plus specifically called Detect DNS. DNS does actually stand for Dragon NaturallySpeaking. (The issue mentioned in the help site doesn’t seem to apply to the Plus version, so no worries.) Carolina Road Software knew that basing something on Microsoft’s code would make it accessible to a broad variety of assistive technology, even if they weren’t users themselves. You can bet I sent a thank you note.
I really don’t understand the lack, though. Is it that people who go to school for programming aren’t taught about accessibility issues in their classes? Or is it that they think it’s too much work? Or do they not understand that it is NOT 100% the assistive technology programmer’s job, that they actually have to work together? Or is it just that they haven’t heard of SAPI or speech recognition soon enough? Or do they just figure that some other programmer will do it, and it’s not their problem? I don’t know.
There is help for the 2nd question though. On their development website, Microsoft has an overview of SAPI for speech recognition. Microsoft also has an SDK — a developer’s kit that actually has samples and instructions on how to make programs accessible to speech recognition. What a concept! There’s even a simple word processing program as an example, called Dictation Pad — the Windows equivalent of DragonPad, I guess. You use that as a springboard to your own applications, so that you know what you’re doing. Part of the work has already been done for you. So why aren’t more programmers making use of SDK? I don’t understand that either. This is why I wish that my study of C++ programming didn’t occur in such fits and starts, or I’d do it myself. But I’m nowhere near that point yet and don’t know if I ever will be. Dammit.
PS — once again, I’m not making light of the work involved in programming. I just don’t understand why programmers aren’t availing themselves of things that would help them to understand accessibility…if lack of understanding is indeed the problem.