I hadn’t been writing about speech recognition lately because my assistive technology budget, as well as my spare time, had to address mobility and ways to rest my voice. However, as I’ve said, gift cards are wonderful things. They paid partially for Dragon 11 Premium. It was a good use of cards; the improvements make it mostly more efficient in general, but I can see it being more so for people who find creating your own commands too daunting.
Note: I’m going to mention the positives first. There are bugs/negatives, which I will mention briefly, but I want to address them separately so that I can post fixes. Otherwise this would be a very long post.
For word processing, Dragon 11 extends its link numbering system to words. If you say, for example, “Correct <word>” and there are multiple instances of the word, green number flags will appear, and you say the number of the one you want. If Dragon misunderstands your command, you can get rid of the flags by saying “cancel.” As always, the full range of Quick Formatting commands only applies to Microsoft Word (“Italicize <word>”, etc.)
I haven’t spent much time trying to use Dragon with OpenOffice since I don’t use OpenOffice, but from what I got, only dictation is fully accessible. If you want to access the menus, you have to say the keyboard shortcut. Dragon’s compatibility with Jarte remains good with both menus and dictation, and I’m pleased that the numbering applies to word selection if not formatting. And Jarte Plus users can create buttons that execute various commands when spoken.
Bug: In some instances, “backspace” doesn’t work properly and leaves characters behind.
It took a few years, but Nuance has made navigation a hell of a lot easier, which means that navigating not-quite-accessible programs is likewise easier. You can not only “Go <direction> <number>,” but also “Tab <number>” and “Backtab <number>” and “Backspace <number>.” This makes faster access to buttons and fields for Firefox users, especially tabfocus users. There is also a “List all windows” command, whereby you choose the number of the window you want instead of “Switch to <potentially long window name>.” You can still use the latter, though, as well as “Press Alt Tab” and “Press Alt Escape.” Between those two, many of my Vocola navigation commands became redundant. You can also “Show Task Manager” and “Show Control Panel.” (More redundant Vocola commands.)
The most notable change to the mouse movement commands in Dragon 11 is that they are no longer continuous. That is, in previous versions you could say “Mouse move lower right… Down,” for example, and the mouse cursor would change direction quickly. However, in version 11, you have to say “Mouse move <direction>” each time you want to change direction. This might affect drawing or gaming, for example, depending.
Another change to the mouse commands is that Nuance did notice the missing code for the middle click command. Rather than add the code, they got rid of the command altogether. However, if you want to auto scroll, you can do that in applicable programs by saying “Start/stop scrolling up/down” and “Scroll faster/slower.” Be aware, however, that a default speed is set.
Browsing and Firefox
Dragon 11 makes a very welcome change to its Web search commands. Now, when you want to say “search <website> for <word>”, you have the option of displaying the correction window before the command is executed in order to make sure Dragon understood you. If the registered word is incorrect, you can correct it, and Dragon will search for the proper term.
To fully access Firefox, you will still need to make use of add-ons or about:config settings. It is still advisable to use the dictation box or word processor copying and pasting for long text fields.
I haven’t mentioned everything here, but I tried to hit the high points. The following posts will be fixes for some things I mentioned here. All in all, Dragon 11 is a worthy program.