I was outside today and my hands were frozen. I know you’re wondering: “aren’t you from the Maritimes?” Yes, I am. And yes, I have walked out in a blizzardy snowstorm only wearing a sweat shirt (and never got sick!). Kind of like this one:
My mother just called me and said they were having a storm, and here I am in Mississauga, and the gorgeous sun has decided to make an appearance. Meanwhile, that is my father’s truck buried under the snow:
I should have a tolerance for cold, but something changed in the last year and I don’t anymore.
I felt like my fingers were cracking they were so cold (I know, I know, I should really stop forgetting my gloves). So here I was, punching the letters on my touchscreen because the phone could not read the temperature of my fingers. Side note: This really makes me wonder why we buy these thousand dollar phones and we cannot even use them. Imagine the implications of this if we are frozen cold in the middle of nowhere. But I digress.
Flustered, I decided I would use the talk-to-text feature on my phone. Well, what an experience. It was kind of like this:
Talk about garbled! It would have made more sense to initiate a phone call. Before I found this, I thought it was possibly because of the rate at which I speak, almost like an auctioneer at times.
The idea of the talk-to-text feature is pretty cool on the iphone, but it has never been a success for me. When I do use it, it looks promising, like this:
Yes, it looks like it is working. Hopeful, I wait the next few seconds to see what comes from it. Then it does this:
The spinning blue thing just never goes away. And if it does, there is no text. The wait is almost like waiting for your page to load in the dialup era.
Needless to say, whether I get some garbled sentence like Ellen’s experience, or I get nothing, I end up having to type anyway. Yes, it might be silly for me to complain about this feature, but you must think about those who depend on this feature to communicate! How frustrating that would be!
What if you had a strong accent?
The idea of voice-command is really cool, you have to admit. Could you imagine having voice-command for the Keurig machine? I could stop pleading with the cat to make a tea and yell to the kitchen: “Keurig, make me a tea!”
What about elevators? Sure we have come a long way with the elevator. We now have Braille and have added the beep for floor indication, but this accessibility feature is still lacking inclusion. Curiosity bit me then and I Googled “voice recognition in an elevator” and this video popped up:
This video is mostly comedic, but it is arguably insightful. Having an elevator solely relying on voice-command is not very well thought out: what about the population that is unable to speak? What about the population that is unable to speak the hosted language of the elevator? There is no touch command, such as the button. Accessibility is about increasing access, not improving one area at the expense of another. However, I think it would be useful to have voice command on an elevator. Not only would it be great to command technology with our voice to take us where we want to go, it will increase access for all of us. Exhibit A: We won’t have to reach over people to select the floor, nor would we have to shimmy everything we are precariously holding to the other hand to reach a button. It would cut out the need for elevator music (do elevators still have that?) and prevent any of that awkward unnecessary elevator chitchat with strangers that live in the same building. I understand that technology is always developing and there are upgrades for apps and programs to make things more accessible. However, we must keep in mind that we want to make things not only accessible, but easily accessible. Let’s do it right.