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I would like to hear your experience with Vocal Accessible devices

JuliettePoggiJuliettePoggi Member Posts: 6 Connected
edited July 2018 in News and opportunities
Hello Scope Community!

My name is Juliette and I am a Research Associate at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design.
As part of my current research project at the centre I am investigating on the future of Vocal Accessibility. I would be really interested in knowing if you use voice command to access your digital devices (for example Siri).

Here a few of the informations I would like to gather from your experience:
Do you use any vocal accessible technology?
Could you explain me why you use it or not use it?
Do you use it for any specific activity like banking, navigation or learning?

All the information collected will be exclusively used for for research purpose and consequential report. 

Many thanks in advance, 


  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @JuliettePoggi and a warm welcome to the community! I hope some of the community are able to answer your questions so you can gain the research you need. If there is anything else I can help you with then please do not hesitate to be in touch!
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  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,931 Disability Gamechanger
    I am registered sight impaired and use Apple devices but a Windows PC in and out of work. Following eye surgery 8 years ago I used Dragon Naturally speech to text for a period but I’ve generally no use for voice control bar a few limited situations. I can see why it might have some advantages for the physically disabled but the pros are largely outweighed by the significance of the cons and if anything I don’t see that changing. 

    In theory I’m an ideal candidate. I can’t use varifocals and can’t read my phone with any ease out of doors without switching to my reading glasses. In theory I could use voice control (Siri) to access travel apps or read text messages but I think there are multiple reasons why I don’t as follows:

    1) I try every Siri update but end up turning it off fairly quickly. It hasn’t really improved significantly for all the industry hype. It’s limited; requires a relatively quiet environment and uses battery power I need when on unfamiliar journeys and using my phone for navigation.

    2) Although this stuff is sold as assistive tech it’s really about Google et al getting data once you’ve crossed the threshold of your front door. More people are beginning to see that and stepping back from what is essentially a solution looking for a problem.

    3) My sight impairment can leave me vulnerable even when I think I’m not. Having a phone out and talking into it in public makes me feel more vulnerable. Indoors or in private I can sit; switch glasses and do what I need by reading and finger control. Voice control is simply unnecessary there. 
  • JuliettePoggiJuliettePoggi Member Posts: 6 Connected
    edited July 2018
    Thank you @mikehughescq for such quick reply, all this is really helpful.
    The reasons you've pointed out appear to be a common thread amongst few people with similar condition we interviewed.

    It would be great to hear more about your experience.
    We can do it here otherwise you can contact me at [removed by moderator]

    Very best and thank you again!
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,931 Disability Gamechanger
    Let me know what else you’d like to know. I’m more than happy to add detail if needed.
  • JuliettePoggiJuliettePoggi Member Posts: 6 Connected
    Hello @mikehughescq
    I hope you are having a lovely Sunday!
    As you mentioned in your reply your sight impairment can leave you vulnerable. For this reason it would be really interesting to know how you deal in specific situations, if you experienced them. 
    1) Imagine you have to reach a new place to meet someone or to do a business. How do you plan and achieve your journey?
    2) You have to use an ATM machine and/or go to your branch to solve some banking issue. What are the steps you take and where are the obstacles?
    Many thanks again, 

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,931 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi, apologies for the long delay in responding. 

    1) My starting point for planning any journey to an unfamiliar place is Google Maps app on my iPad Pro or the web version on the widescreen monitor I have to use in work. I need something large so I get a sense of scale and the surrounding area. I can also turn off lots of features so I get a relatively uncluttered map. 

    I might also use a number of other apps like those from TfGM, TheTrainline abd Manchester Metrolink to double check the journey details as using one source can lead to getting wrong information. I used to use the Citymapper app but it has now become so cluttered and confusing it’s a waste of time.

    Once I have a route and some transport options I will then plan the actual journey and, because of my visual impairment, I leave bigger connection gaps than suggested by travel companies. So, for example, if a train planner suggests I have 9 minutes to change at Birmingham New Street, I would look for the train after that so the change is maybe 39 minutes. This allows for my incoming train to be late but also allows me time to get across the station as I struggle to read and decipher signage on live displays etc. 

    On the day of any journey I have my iPhone and iPad Pro with me. I’ll use the former when I’m sat down on a bus, train or tram and will check in on things like TheTrainline for live train data when I’m travelling. I’ll use the iPhone on any legs where I need to walk and will follow the walking route having programmed it into Google Maps. This is quite slow as when you first come out of a station it’s not always obvious which way to until you start walking and see the blue dot go the wrong way. It can be 100 yards or more before that’s clear. 

    I can't walk using my reading glasses so I have to walk with my distance glasses on. This means Google Maps is blurry to me and street names not clear. Gain this slows me in itself but also slows me because I feel vulnerable looking at the phone in public. The nature of my visual impairment means I can’t glance at it. I have to stop and look. If I’m at a bust transport hub or on a busy street then I’ll also be using my symbol cane and again that complicated and slows me. If I need to read live boards or notices but there’s a crowd to get through I’ll also be using my monocular.

    Once I’m at a place I will often struggle with signage and crowds and usually have to ask for directions within unfamiliar buildings at least once.

    2) I very rarely use a bank as I bank online so for me it’s an ATM all the way. In an unfamiliar area I use a couple of apps to locate ATMs but they are not reliable and often out of date so again this slows me down and I might again need to use my monocular to get some clues. I am aware I could plug earphones into the ATM but I’ve never done this as I like to feel I am fully aware of my surroundings. 

    At the ATM itself I am vulnerable because of limited peripheral vision on one side so I tend not to join queues unless there’s no choice. Better to find a quiet one. The biggest issue then is reflections on the screen although you tend to find paving around ATMs is poorly maintained so it’s easy to stumble approaching or turning away from an ATM. There’s also the issue of folding my symbol cane before approaching or using else I make myself an obvious target.
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