New Speech Features in v11.50

New Verbosity schemes

Verbosity icon from the version 11 control panelIn addition to the four existing version 10 legacy verbosity schemes in SuperNova and Hal, version 11.50 includes four new speech verbosity schemes designed to meet the wide range of customer requirements:

  • "Minimum" verbosity is intended for customers wishing to supplement other access methods such as magnification or Braille. Minimum Verbosity generally only announces text that appears on screen including: the text of documents and Control labels. This scheme is useful for those requiring some speech output for proofing punctuation and grammar etc. The Minimum scheme is not intended for complete functional use of applications with speech alone as Minimum does not announce the state or types of the different Windows controls. Minimum Speech verbosity may be useful for people new to listening to synthetic speech. Announcements which are less verbose may provide clarity for those people who are making a transition from using another access method such as screen magnification. Minimum verbosity in SuperNova and Hal is very similar to the speech output of LunarPlus.
  • The "Low" verbosity scheme is intended for confident, experienced speech users. As well as reporting text, the Low scheme announces the type of the control, such as button or list box. The Low Speech verbosity scheme reports common states, such as the checked state of checkboxes and radio buttons, the positions of track bars and progress bars and whether controls are disabled.  Low also indicates cell coordinates in tables and spreadsheets.
  • "Medium" verbosity is suitable for many screen reader users.  In addition to the text, type and state information announced by the Low verbosity scheme, "Medium" verbosity announces the numeric position of items in List Views and Menus. For example, "1 of 6".  The Medium scheme will announce whether the current control has a shortcut key to activate that control, and whether links have previously been visited.
  • The "High" speech verbosity scheme builds on the Medium scheme by providing type help information directing users on how to work with specific control types. For example, the first time the user encounters a checkbox in a dialog, the screen reader will announce "use spacebar to toggle".

Tip: You can choose which verbosity scheme is used by SuperNova and Hal by selecting it from Speech > Verbosity Level. To cycle through the Verbosity levels with a hotkey, using the Dolphin Default Desktop hotkey set, press CAPSLOCK + EQUALS.

Tip: SuperNova and Hal provide sophisticated speech and Braille Verbosity settings for over 60 control types.  You can edit existing schemes or create your own scheme from Speech > Advanced... > Verbosity.

New Spelling Speed Setting

Version 11.50 offers the facility to set the speed at which text is spelled independent of the normal voice speed. Using a slower spelling speed can be useful when clarifying the spelling of an unfamiliar or misspelt word.

Screenshot of the version 11.50 Voice Preferences Dialog that contains the Spelling speed options

You can change Spelling Speed from the SuperNova, Hal or LunarPlus control panel, by opening the "Speech" menu with ALT + S, and choosing the "Voice Preferences..." dialog with P. TAB to the Spelling Speed control and use UP and DOWN arrows or PAGEUP and PAGEDOWN to change the value. Press ENTER to save your changes and close the Voice Preferences dialog.

By default, Spelling Speed is set to be approximately 75% of the default speech synthesiser speed.  This value can be any value supported by your chosen speech synthesiser. Dolphin recommends choosing a value smaller than the normal speaking speed.

Tip: To spell the word at the cursor, using the Dolphin Default Desktop hotkey set, press NUMPAD 5 twice.

New Capital Letter Announcement Options

Improve productivity while editing and proofing documents by taking even more control of the way in which capital letters are indicated.

New setting to Increase Voice Pitch for Capital letters, found from Speech > Voice Preferences. With this setting on, when a letter is spelt either by:

  • Typing with Character Echo set to include Characters.
  • Arrowing LEFT or RIGHT by character through text.
  • Pressing a hotkey to spell the current word, line, etc.

The voice pitch is increased to indicate that a letter is in upper case. By default this setting is ON.

Note: The Increase Voice Pitch for Capitals setting only takes affect while using a speech synthesiser such as Eloquence or Orpheus which supports pitch change. RealSpeak and most natural sounding synthesisers do not support pitch change.

  • New setting to announce capital letters while reading lines is found in the Speech > General Announcements menu. This feature allows the user to control whether capital letters are announced while arrowing UP or DOWN by line. By default this setting is OFF.

Tip: Hal and SuperNova allow the announcement of capitals to be set independently for: Edit Areas, Prompt Areas, Menus, ‘Read from here’ and while using the Dolphin Cursor. These settings are available from Speech > Text Style Announcements.

Change to Word Echo

Character echo icon from the version 11 control panelVersion 11.50 introduces a subtle change to the way in which word echo performs.  Previously, with character echo set to include words, if you used backspace part way through typing a word in order to make a correction, pressing SPACE or a punctuation mark at the end of the word would announce only the part of the word which had changed.
Word echo will now announce words in their entirety, irrespective of any backspacing which may have occurred while typing.

These are new features found in Dolphin's v11.50 Access Tools, read what's new in v11.50 to find out about other features of these products.