Apr 19 2010

Windows 7 Voice Recognition – Still Lacks Decent GUI

syk5xyjx_thumb Windows 7 Voice Recognition – Still Lacks Decent GUIIn January 2009, I wrote a review of what was going on with Windows 7 and their voice recognition.

At the time, Windows 7 was still in beta and was going to be released for some time [October 2009] actually. I was testing the functions and the recognition of the voice recognition in Windows 7 and I was leaving a lot of doors open for Microsoft to make some improvements; that’s where I messed up…

I was incorrect to think Microsoft was going to make any changes to their voice recognition in just a few months, because in 8 months, from January to October- nothing happened.

While my opinion is still the same, the problem is that the user interface and the GUI for the voice recognition in Microsoft Windows 7 is bad; it’s real bad.

I’m not impressed with the user interface.

Let’s start out with the startup options; there’s the voice recognition bar, but it’s more in the way than helpful. So the first thing I do is minimize it; to get it out of the way and do some work. But you can’t make it do this by default… Really Microsoft You couldn’t have added that option?

I’ve got a screenshot of the menu so we can see what they’ve got, and what their missing.

11guatzj_thumb Windows 7 Voice Recognition – Still Lacks Decent GUI

I should be able to assign hotkeys to all these functions [just about], but unlike other Microsoft functions, the voice recognition in Windows 7 has no hotkeys/shortcuts.

It’d be nice for a setup [hotkey configuration] for start listening and correction menu…

I understand the concept of utilizing the voice to control the computer, but there should still be an option to utilize hot keys on the keyboard.

There’s not a user dictionary?

I can’t see, there’s no option, for all the words in the dictionary. There’s a custom dictionary, but it’s only for words that you add manually- really? I can add words and come back later, but it’s an iffy process on the word/training management.

And why did Microsoft limit the abilities/integration of the voice recognition to only Microsoft products? You can use the voice recognition with any application, but it only integrates natively with Microsoft products like Office, Internet Explorer, notepad, WordPad… It’s sad.

Microsoft has the chance to put voice recognition in the Operating System and they limit it to only their products…

sbres123170211301_thumb Windows 7 Voice Recognition – Still Lacks Decent GUIThe lackadaisical solution is that if you don’t integrate with them you’ve to dictate in to a generic text box and then click ‘insert’. And this would be ok if there was a confirmation key.

The Microsoft documentation has no listings of how to turn the voice recognition on or off using the keyboard. And there’s no quick way to simply hit a confirm key.

The interface could be SO MUCH better…

So, while the voice recognition of Windows 7 has made some initial improvements, the voice recognition and the GUI for the voice recognition hasn’t changed, and this is really hurting the adoption of voice recognition in the latest version.

I’m not going to argue the accuracy of voice recognition on Windows 7; they’ve really improved on the voice recognition engine, but it’s interface is still lacking basic functions that should’ve already been there by now.

On a performance level, Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Windows 7 voice recognition has just about the same reaction time. Whether you’re talking Nuance or Microsoft the data has to be processed. So from the time you speak and the time the words appear on the screen; it’s about a second […] this is all my testing and experience.

And if you want a bottom line opinion, Microsoft voice recognition engine is really good, but if you’re using it outside of a Microsoft product [like OpenOffice, Firefox], it’s irritating and awkward. If you can’t handle the irritating ’inserts‘ you might want to purchase a low cost solution.



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