Re: A question on Screen Reader Speed Standards

Thanks, folks, all of this is very helpful. It sounds like we'll definitely
just want to come up with a really simple scale (e.g., 0-100, 0-1), and then
test it everywhere to make sure it's "close enough."

Andreas Stefik, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 7:34 AM, qubit <lauraeaves@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>  Jaws 11 uses 2 numbers -- the first is some inexplicable number that is
> probably the one used by the synth.  The other is percent -- of what I'm not
> sure -- perhaps the the percent of distance between the lowest and highest
> speed setting for that synth.  Mine currently says "112, 65%".  Depending on
> what I'm reading I can push it up to 75 or even 80 or more for familiar
> text, but I usually leave it at 65.
> Now really, does anyone listen to speeds over 80 for general reading? I
> have heard claims. If they can, perhaps my hearing aids are getting in the
> way, or perhaps they are not comprehending what they are reading...*smile*
> I aim for full or near full comprehension.
> Happy listening.
> --le
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Chris Hofstader <cdh@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> *To:* programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> *Sent:* Thursday, December 10, 2009 7:12 AM
> *Subject:* Re: A question on Screen Reader Speed Standards
> JAWS uses the actual speech rate setting as provided by the synthesizer.
>  So, for Eloquence, it's a value that is only meaningful to it and your
> ears.  Other synths use WPM or some other fairly arbitrary system like
> Eloquence.
> I can't recall which year it was but we did a JAWS release that used a new
> Eloquence wpm feature.  The setting was miserably flawed and the EtI guys
> pulled it out and we all returned to their internal scale.
> WPM is really hard to get right for a variety of reasons, especially when a
> screen reader sometimes sends as little as a single syllable and other times
> a line of text or a full sentence.  If the synth was used to read longer
> pieces with a more predictable pattern, wpm would probably be a bit easier
> but as screen reader users need to hear every different  typeof chunk of
> information, prediction becomes very hard.
> I've noticed that the "Alex" voice on Macintosh does some fairly clever
> word prediction to create an illusion of being faster than it really is.
>  It's a nice voice but when it gets the word prediction wrong it can be very
> confusing as one doesn't know if he misspelled, mistyped or simply used the
> wrong word.  It doesn't make these mistakes often but I wish I could turn
> the feature off while I'm editing and back on for reading long documents.
> cdh
>  On Dec 9, 2009, at 4:37 PM, The Elf wrote:
>  Andreas,
> I have no clue what jaws rates its speech rate on, especially since it
> changes as you use the radio button to change it, flipping between two
> slightly different numbers that make no sense to me what so ever.
> my thoughts, yes make it a standardized method, and use the more universal
> WPM rating, at least that one makes sense!
> good luck,
> elf
> proprietor, The Grab Bag,
> for blind computer users and programmers
> Owner: Alacorn Computer Enterprises
> "own the might and majesty of a Alacorn!"
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Andreas Stefik <stefika@xxxxxxxxx>
> *To:* programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> *Sent:* Wednesday, December 09, 2009 9:26 AM
> *Subject:* A question on Screen Reader Speed Standards
> Hi folks,
> I'm working right now on trying to build up our cross platform speech
> engines for the Sappy project and am trying, specifically, to get NetBeans
> to store custom preferences related to screen reader speed. On Mac, we
> basically just pass a flag to the TTS engine with a number, which, I
> suspect, is words per minute, although I'm not completely sure. On PC,
> things appear to be quite different and I'm not sure about all of the open
> source, and other, solutions out there (insert your favorite technology
> here).
> My question is, what would people suggest for standardizing the numbers for
> speed of reading we use for screen readers across all platforms? For
> example, does each screen reader everywhere measure speed in a different
> way? Should just put everything in words per minute and not worry about it,
> translating any screen reader that doesn't comply through some kind of
> calculation (if possible?)? Should we just standardize through some
> arbitrary metric, like 0 is the slowest and 1 is the fastest, then test
> everywhere to make sure those settings are "reasonable" and that the user's
> system preferences are not disturbed?
> To be clear, remember that our tool has to, ultimately, be compatible with
> every kind of screen reader, and should still work for the blind even if no
> screen reader is present (or if the screen reader doesn't work well at all).
> That's why I am asking,
> Thoughts are welcome,
> Stefik

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