CHLFC Profile picture
7 Jan, 30 tweets, 7 min read
Apple Voice Control a thread…

Apple ecosystems face various performance and reliability issues: AirPlay reliability when connecting multiple HomePods, a HomeKit bug that can kill iOS devices, and more…
However, what no one, (apart from disabled users), ever talks about is how buggy and unreliable dictation is in the company’s flagship accessibility app, Voice Control
It’s maddeningly and frustratingly poor and in 2.5 years since launch Apple has done nothing to improve it. As a tool to help disabled people post to social media, study and work it’s next to useless. A $3 trillion company could and should do better. Here are the problems…
1) Voice Control isn’t taking into account the grammar of many sentences e.g. dictating the word “will”often leads, incorrectly, to capitalisation of “Will” as in the man’s name. This is annoying and not productive. It’s intermittent but happens especially if you pause dictation
When dictating the command  “open quotes” a space isn’t automatically inputted after the last word dictated so dictated text appears like this THE QUICK BROWN FOX” JUMPED OVER THE FENCE”. It’s incorrect formatting with the quotation mark hard butted to the last word dictated…
…and requires going back and editing and inserting a space after the last word dictated (FOX) and the open quote mark. This should happen automatically when dictating. It does in other speech recognition apps
3) It’s a similar situation with dictating emoji. No space is inputted after last dictated word so dictated text appears as…”the quick brown fox jumped over the fence👍“  In macOS when dictating a space isn’t inputed after the last word dictated (fence)…
…looks very unnatural and requires going back and entering a space manually. It should happen automatically. Very unproductive. You may recall dictating an emoji was highlighted on the stage at WWDC 2019 to warm applause but it hasn’t been implemented properly by Apple
4) Voice Control dictation won’t work in the WhatsApp text box in the app downloaded from the App Store on macOS. Why does Apple allow apps in the App Store that don’t support basic accessibility requirements such as a messaging app not supporting Voice Control dictation?
This sort of thing should be a minimum requirement for the App Store. Is accessibility part of Apple’s now infamous App Store policies? If not, it is time it was as disabled people’s access and life chances in education and work are too important to ignore
5) Dictating text into WhatsApp Web text box in Safari on a Mac sometime leads to the web page freezing and only shutting Safari down and relaunching will fix the issue. You lose all the text you were dictating, which is very inconvenient. Often happens if you pause dictating
6) Voice Control dictation doesn’t work with third party browsers e.g Firefox for Mac. Why? Can’t dictate into any text boxes in @Firefox for Mac, including WhatsApp Web. I realise this maybe a Mozilla issue but can Apple bring its considerable influence to bear on this?
It’s a lottery which text boxes will work with speech recognition apps. Some of the biggest platforms in the world, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp included, who talk big about their accessibility credentials have text boxes that aren’t accessible to speech recognition apps.
Not being able to dictate in a number of text boxes on very high profile platforms is the digital equivalent of a restaurant, shop or public building refusing to provide a ramp for a wheelchair user. Unacceptable and in a number of countries illegal these days.
I find speech recognition apps blame the platforms and the platforms blame the speech recognition apps but it is the disabled user that is denied access and therefore silenced
7) “Delete That” command redundantly takes over the command for “Delete Character.” You can only delete a whole word once with the “delete that” command. After deleting a whole word once if you say “delete that” for a second time it only deletes the last letter of the last word
This isn’t helpful to the user as often if there is a recognition error it maybe two or three words so why can’t you say “delete that” two or three times and have whole words deleted? Deleting only the last letter of a word is useless to the user. Serves no purpose
Much more useful is the ability to delete whole words several times as you say the “delete that” command.  I realise there is the option to delete whole phrases but sometimes “delete that” is even easier. We just need the ability to use “delete that” more than once
8) Voice Control often doesn’t recognise foreign names. It would be great if VC offered a custom contact pronunciation feature which would get round this problem. Google offers this on the Pixel. I’m sure something similar could be applied to VC on both a Mac and iPhone
The frustrating thing is that the names are in the OS in my Contacts but dictation doesn't recognise them and this solution would get round that problem
More broadly, the Dragon speech recognition app offers users the ability to train words so the same dictation fails don’t keep happening repeatedly. I feel this is what is needed in Voice Control. It’s an application that should improve with use and learn from mistakes.
Repeating the same dictation errors over and over is extremely tedious. Very dumb, and un-Apple in my opinion
Overall, Voice Control is a great app, help with navigation, and custom commands are powerful features but the user experience is compromised by the severe limitations of long form dictation
Disabled people need and want more than the ability to dictate a short “Happy birthday ❤️“ iMessage with a cute emoji
These bugs and shortcomings may sound niche, affecting a small number of users, but disabled users deserve the right to communicate effectively with friends and family on social media, and to excel in education and employment with the help of good quality speech recognition
Would also argue there’s a powerful mainstream appetite for accurate speech recognition on the Mac from people with dyslexia, RSI, and professionals like doctors, lawyers. Make dictation great for disabled users and you make it great for everyone. A powerful selling point
It’s an interesting time for speech recognition more broadly. Microsoft has bought Nuance and Dragon, and is putting its new acquisition to work immediately with its new Voice Access app currently undergoing user testing in the Windows Insider programme.
Google has also significantly improved speech recognition on the new Pixel 6 phones with the Tensor chip Hopefully, it will bring the same tech to its Pixelbooks
I hope 2022 will be year Apple finally shows Voice Control dictation on the Mac some love ❤️ It is long overdue
P.S. it’s regrettable I have reported many of these bugs and feature improvement suggestions mentioned in this thread many times over the last couple of years and nothing has been done by Apple #a11y #Apple #VoiceControl #voicefirst #dictation #speechrecognitoon #Disability

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