[BCAB] Reflections on Window-Eyes so far

David Griffith d.griffith at btinternet.com
Wed Feb 26 10:14:21 GMT 2014

Yes I think the web work for GW Micro is a priority. It may be that I am
doing something wrong but it does not seem even adequate, for example I was
just now trying to transfer some money on my bank online, using WE, and the
page just froze and WE could not read anything at all. I shut down WE and
started NVDA and this was luckily able not only to read everything on the
page but complete the transaction without me having to log out and login
That's OK whilst we still have access to NVDA but if freely available WE
means the eventual demise of NVDA this may create major problems for us.

David Griffith
-----Original Message-----
From: Bcab [mailto:bcab-bounces at lists.bcab.org.uk] On Behalf Of Catherine
Sent: 26 February 2014 09:12
To: BCAB Discussion List
Subject: Re: [BCAB] Reflections on Window-Eyes so far

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
> 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
> the same extent as which I know Jaws and some of the annoyances I
> . 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.
> 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.   ...
> 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
> 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
> 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,
> 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
> using the latest version of Internet Explorer 11 on a machine with 16 Gb
> 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,
> 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
> 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
> was WE.
> Regards
> David Griffith
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