[BCAB] Reflections on Window-Eyes so far

Catherine Turner catherineturner2007 at googlemail.com
Wed Feb 26 09:11:48 GMT 2014

Thanks for the post, it's useful as I'm going to try WE soon.  The
good news is I heard someone from GW Micro say on a podcast they are
doing a lot of work on how WE behaves on the web.


On 2/26/14, David Griffith <d.griffith at btinternet.com> wrote:
> For the last week I have been trying to learn how to use Window-Eyes.
> Although a long term Jaws User the case for transferring, in the long term,
> from Window-Eyes to Jaws is overwhelming now. The economics of maintaining
> Jaws updates ceases to be viable against the current Microsoft/GW Micro
> partnership.
> Here are some initial reflections. In no sense have I learnt Window-Eyes to
> the same extent as which I know Jaws and some of the annoyances I encounter
> . are surmountable with  greater knowledge of the product. I mention some
> of
> them here in case others  have the same issues.
> 1. Installation.
> I had a difficult installation process. I inadvertently used Quick Install
> for Window-Eyes. Analysing this retrospectively this happened because  I
> instinctively, from habit, used the Jaws command insert  B to read a
> dialogue box during the install. Instead of reading the dialogue box this
> sent  a bypass command  to Window Eyes at the critical stage and I
> obviously
> executed a quick install by mistake. I therefore had Jaws 14 and Window
> Eyes
> starting simultaneously and my system was virtually unusable. Now I know
> that in this situation you simply use control backslash to bring up the
> Window Eyes control panel. Pressing alt F4 will then close Window-Eyes. Now
> you can close Jaws with the normal insert-/F4 command. Press Command D to
> go
> to the desktop and press control alt and W to restart Window-Eyes on its
> own. In theory you should not have to go to the desktop with window D but
> in
> practice I found this the most reliable area for a Window-Eyes start-up.
> Now in the control panel there is a Windows-Help like navigable set of
> options where you can set the start up options to what you desire.
> 2. Voices install. For me the addition of Eloquence was essential for
> Window-Eyes usage. This may relate to my hearing impairment. The good news
> is that these only cost £25  from Computer room services.  The bad news is
> that I found the installation of voices confusing and I hope in future
> incarnations GW-Micro simplify and smooth this process. There are 5 steps
> as
> far as I can see.
> 1. Register your copy of Office Window-Eyes. GW Micro will eventually send
> you an email confirming this registration and eligibility for upgrade ,
> though in my case this took several days.
> 2. Buy the voices from Computer Room Services. I did not find the Voices
> from an initial search of the site but Steve Knutt can send you a link to
> the necessary section
> 3. You will, after about 24 hours ,get an email from GW-Micro telling you
> that you now have a proper serial number  and can authorise  Window Eyes.
> You follow a link to download  an authorisation file which will then
> authorise your Window Eyes for upgrade.
> 4. What you do next was not clear from the GW Micro communications which
> gave no instructions on what to do after running the authorisation.   ... I
> investigated and went to Window-Eyes Control Centre and  selected the Get
> more voices option from the help menu again. This took me to a web site
> where I had to download and then run yet another authorisation  file, this
> time for speech synthetis. After running this there was again no
> instruction
> on what to do. Running the Get more Voices option from the control panel
> yet
> again took you to a page where the only option was to download vocaliser
> voices.
> 5. What I eventually discovered is that Eloquence, and some other voices,
> are already installed in Window-Eyes office and that you do not need to
> download the voices but simply enable them in the speech synthetis section
> of the WE control  panel. This could have been made a lot clearer in the
> GW-Micro transaction. For example all they need to do is put a note to this
> effect on their Get More Voices Download page to avoid future confusion.
> General comments    Window Eyes Interface.
> This email would get too long if I commented on all areas of Window Eyes so
> I will comment on the three most striking initial areas .
> Cursor / Screen reading Management..
> On first usage the Cursoring options in Window Eyes are more logical and
> effective than Jaws. The use of the WE Cursor is far more intuitively set
> out than the Jaws Cursor options.  I am particularly impressed by ability
> to
> search the screen for text whilst in the WE Cursor mode. As far as I am
> aware Jaws does not have this handy feature but please let me know if I am
> wrong. In any case well done to GW Micro for designing well a part of this
> screen reading tool kit which I think many Jaws users are inhibited from
> using because it is more complicated on that application.
> Office functions.
> So far Window-Eyes appears a perfectly viable alternative to Jaws in terms
> of Office support. There are a few glitches. On Outlook 2010 there is a
> conflict between the read to end command and the reply  to all command, but
> there are workaround for that. I can see a future  where Window-Eyes could
> be my standard screen reading tool for Office usage and I have no current
> major anxieties on that score.
> The Web.
> This is the major fly in the ointment so far for my Window Eyes usage. I am
> using the latest version of Internet Explorer 11 on a machine with 16 Gb of
> ram, virgin broadband and reasonable processor strength. The WE virtual
> buffer crawls. Pages which load almost instantly with Jaws or NVDA
> unfortunately  hang in suspense for several seconds whilst Window-Eyes
> tries
> to catch up.  Google searches become frustratingly slow affairs with the
> web
> page not responding and often crashing. As far as I can see the actual
> toolkit of web commands that Window Eyes provides would be adequate, though
> be aware that it is not an good idea to use the insert key layout offered
> by
> WE for Jaws users transitioning to the product as this will cripple the
> functionality of at least one crucial web command in WE, insert tab for
> page
> navigation.
> Unfortunately  I am inhibited from exploring WE on the web more as it seems
> to crash Internet Explorer 11 frequently. Already 2 automated reports have
> gone from my system to GW Micro so presumably they are aware of this
> problem.
> I would have serious issues on relying on Window Eyes on the web With the
> current problem of poor responsiveness . It may be that this is a problem
> restricted to my machine but it does seem odd that none of these problems
> occur if I load  either NVDA or Jaws
> As long as NVDA provide an alternative web browsing option to Window Eyes
> the problem is not so acute. I do have anxieties in the longer term as to
> the future of NVDA though with the Microsoft/Window Eyes partnership. I
> heard an interview with the developers in which they said that if a free
> reading option was developed by Microsoft which  provided comprehensive
> support they would withdraw development.
> So in summary GW Micro, well done for Office usage but a lot of work to do
> on the web I think. I would be very concerned if the only option on the web
> was WE.
> Regards
> David Griffith
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