Talking to Computers I

‘Talking to Computers’ – Christine Barton and Conrad Hodgkinson (A presentation by Users)

Christine Barton is disabled and unable to use her hands. She is involved in a number of professional activities which require the production of quality, word processed documents. Using DragonDictate (discrete speech recognition) she is able to create and edit documents and control most functions of a personal computer through the use of voice alone. No use whatsoever is made of either keyboard or mouse. Conrad Hodgkinson is Christine’s partner and a freelance writer. He chooses to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking (continuous speech recognition) for some of his work, partly through the experience of watching and working with Christine on DragonDictate and partly because NaturallySpeaking allows him to put words on screen faster than through using the keyboard. Unlike Christine however, all editing and any kind of more complex formatting such as tables, is undertaken conventionally.

The presentation would draw on our experience to show the possibilities of voice recognition for both able-bodied and disabled users and to indicate some of the advantages, disadvantages and frustrations of using systems in their current state of development. The presentation may also help to point up priorities for future development.


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