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Keep Calm and Dictate On...

Do you sometimes feel like your accuracy degrades as your day wears on?

I was at a client site recently and reminded of how important our state of mind is for consistent accuracy. I was observing a user who successfully uses VoiceOver on a daily basis, a VoiceOver pro. As I was observing, there was no question that their accuracy was just about 100%. However, there was an issue occurring under certain circumstances (which is why I was onsite) and there were some complaints that accuracy wasn’t always as expected.

Stressed Speech recognition PuppyWhen things worked as expected, accuracy was great. Once the issue happened, the user instantly became frustrated and accuracy went down. And I mean instantly. Commands and phrases that were understood perfectly case after case were no longer understood by VoiceOver. I asked the user to take a breath and pointed out their frustration could be affecting accuracy. Sure enough, one deep breath later and accuracy was back to 100%.

When we become stressed out, several things about our voice change. We clench our jaws, slump over, start to talk louder, enunciate words differently than usual, speak faster, the pitch of our voice changes...whatever happens to you when you start to become stressed, however slight, can affect your accuracy. This is because the speech recognition software has learned how to recognize your speech from the pitch and volume of your voice and the style in which you dictate.

When you are stressed, you do not sound like that person. Think about all of those times where you didn't realize you were angry or fustrated and a spouse or coworker called you out for something that you said when you didn't intend it to be flip or deragatory. It's the same thing. We subconsciously change the way that we speak when we are upset, frustrated, stressed, or tired, but instead of calling you out, the software gives you other signals.

It doesn’t have to be something specific to cause your stress and it isn’t just stress that changes our voices. Calm Speech recognition PuppyAs our day wears on we are affected by the things around us, sometimes we just get tired. These different emotions cause our voice to change, however slight. Usually a simple deep breath or walk to the water cooler for a drink is enough to get you back on track.

So the next time you find your accuracy slipping below your normal rate, remember to keep calm and dictate on...