Voice interfacing opens doors to the information network.

Ok, so I know you have called your bank or some other business and have dealt with voice interfacing on the phone.  So many companies use this to give you information, weather it be your bank account balance, movie times, and a ton of other things that you can access via your computer.  This makes it possible for those who either do not have access to a computer or the internet, or who cannot use a keyboard or mouse due to a mobility impairment.  Many times, such interfaces are great!  But I have had some instances where I feel like yelling at the synthesized voice because it does not understand me, or it misunderstands me.  You have to speak very clearly and slowly, and you cannot be in a situation where there is a lot of background noise to confuse the interface.  Also, various accents and voice types are not easily interpreted by the machine.  If you want to try one out that works very well, try google’s free directory assistance, 800-goog411, which is 800-466-4411.  Just be sure you speak clearly.  There are also software voice browsers that work along with your pc, you speak into them and the information comes up on your screen.  Technologies such as dragon naturally speaking have come a very long way!


Follow this link to the W3C voice browser activity to read up on how and why this is becoming so important.


As web developers, it is important to know how to author a page so that it is voice browser accessible.  It seems that if accessibility guidelines are followed, a site should be voice browser accessible as well.


So not only are voice interfacing systems helpful for those with motor disabilities, they can increase our access as a society to information when we are not near our computers.

Learn from my trial!!

I haven’t blogged here for quite some time, over a month now!  A few weeks ago, my computer crashed completely!  Nothing related to microsoft would open or function at all.  I could not run repairs, uninstalls or updates.  I ended up having to reformat my whole system and reload every program I had.  If you have done this before, you know what a horrible process it is, even if you have everything backed up.


If you haven’t already, back up everything!  There are a lot of ways that this can be done.  You can buy an external storage drive, which is a good way to go and you can get them for a reasonable price.  There are also on-line services where you can back up your files.  One that is fairly familiar is Carbonite.  You can try it out before paying and then if you like it, the monthly cost is reasonable.  One other is Mozy, which has been advertised a lot lately on tv and radeo.


Whatever avenue you take, don’t wait!  Fortunately, my important stuff was on an external drive, so I didn’t lose actual files.  The hardest part was going and finding all of the programs to reinstall.  So far, things are running smoothly now, but it is never failsafe, so have backups!!!