Monthly Archives: July 2010

Suggestion for Dragon: Easier Correction

In the last couple of months I’ve had a couple occasions to suggest to the folks at Nuance, the company that makes the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech engine, that their “Resume With” command is under advertised. The command is very useful, but I keep meeting people who don’t know about it.

“Resume With” lets you change text on the fly. For instance, if you say “The black cat jumped over the brown dog”, then — once you see it on the screen — change your mind about the last bit and say “Resume With over the moon”, the phrase will change to “The black cat jumped over the moon.”

This is a particularly useful command for doing something people do a lot — change text as they dictate.

Now I have a suggestion that I think would make the command both better and more often used. Split “Resume With” into two commands: “Try Again” and “Change To”. The two commands would have the same result as “Resume With”, but “Try Again” would tell the computer that the recognition engine got it wrong the first time and you are correcting the error. “Change To” would tell the computer that you are simply changing text.

This would be a less painful way to correct text than the traditional correction box. Users are tempted to change text rather correct it because it’s easier. This would make it equally easy to correct and change using what is arguably the fastest and easiest way to make a change.

Easy correcting is important because NaturallySpeaking learns from correcting and because it’s annoying when the computer gets things wrong. Correcting improves recognition. Minimizing the interruption reduces frustration and lets users concentrate on their work rather than spending time telling Dragon how to do its job. From my observations, many users are tempted to change text rather than correct it when the computer gets something wrong simply because it’s easier.

It would be great to have these commands both in Dragon NaturallySpeaking on the desktop and in Dragon Dictation, the iPhone application. This would enable truly hands-free dictation in Dragon Dictation.