Developer View contd..

The Client Side contd...

Three different muscle groups-- eyes, forearm, fingers-- would be normally be brought into play to perform the earlier e-mail example. So what, you say, people move muscles all day and nobody writes Congress about that. However, each change of muscle group takes time, approximately one tenth second, and requires a shift of attention. To the extent that a voice macro can be made to reduce the number of muscle group changes, that is the extent to which concentration stays more appropriately focused, productivity goes up and the work context seems more natural and consistent.

This e-mail task is not a change of state in the larger context of the user's intent to get work done. But the user has to lead the desktop through several of the computer's own state changes before the user can get get the job done. We have all blithely accepted these roamings around the Windows pane as the price of being computer literate. Mouse clicks are good for you, say the GUI hypsters. The new macro facilities of speech recognition change all of this.

In working with these packages, it is clear that regardless of options and features, the developer still needs to think carefully about the user interface, sometimes called the LUI or language user interface. Each of the major vendor's products has quite different ease of use for the same task which might be "macro-ized", notwithstanding the improvement given by voice.

A strategy for discovering this difference of ease is to count the muscle group events needed by each package for a common set of operations or macro. An operation with one eye movement, a forearm movement, a finger movement and two voice syllables would count as five events. What we have found was that although these packages all have the ease intrinsic to voice control, some have more ease than others. The lesson for the developer is to always watch for opportunities to refine the muscle event counts (or some similar kind of measurement of your choosing) for the application in question. And to carefully compare each product to find the most productive one for that specific application. All of this is different from testing the "accuracy" of the product's recognition capability.

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