[Leasey] Leasey is Almost Four Years Old, So What's Next?
David Goldfield <david.goldfield@...>
I'm forwarding this as it may be of interest to JAWS users. For those unfamiliar with Leasey, it is an add-on to JAWS which gives the program additional functionality.
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Hi to all
Believe it or not, Leasey is approaching her fourth birthday. This time of year in that regard is something we generally do not think much about. But time has certainly flown by quickly. We devised the concept of Leasey early in 2014, spent six months licking her into shape, and she was officially ready on 8 December 2014. There was a point when we thought she would not hit the streets, but that story is for another time.
We're so glad that many people are still benefiting from, and enjoying, working with Leasey. We have a new release coming your way quite soon. It will be released on week beginning 17 December, and certainly before the 20th as that is when we close our business for the Christmas holidays this year.
So, what can you expect in this release?
Progress Bar Indicator Sounds.
It was suggested to us through our Leasey public Email list that it would be good if JAWS could play sounds to indicate the status of a progress bar. These are generally given in percentage terms to advise a user of the progress of an event which is taking place in Windows. This could be the installation of a program, but it could also be the downloading of a file from the internet, or perhaps copying a large folder from one storage location to another.
JAWS does give a good indicator as to the percentage of most progress bars. However, Leasey does have a sound scheme, (activated by pressing the Leasey Key then letter O). This has three states: Off, which means speech only. Sounds On, which is self-explanatory, and Sounds with Speech, where you hear both the sounds and the speech; a tutorial mode if you will. The Sounds Scheme allows sounds to represent specific events rather than speech output, for example when a web page loads or when text is being highlighted or selected.
We thought long and hard about the best way of implementing sounds to indicate progress events. It would have been simplicity itself to produce computer generated tones to represent percentages 1 to 100; child's play in fact. But not only can this be overwhelming for some people, but also it doesn't accurately let the user know the precise percentage point reached. For example, if we were to do that, and played a person the tone which represented 47 percent, there is no certainty that he or she could identify its true value. So here is how our first version of this feature works.
Assuming the Sounds Scheme is enabled, you will hear tones which represent 5 percent increments, with the lowest tone representing 5 percent and the highest 100 percent. These are professionally recorded sounds as we hope you would expect from our company.
During other percentage increments, you will hear a soft tick sound. While we could have just stopped at the 20 tones, we wanted users to know that progress was occurring at the other percentage points in a discrete way. For example, if a large video file is being copied from an iPhone to a computer, this can take several minutes. The tick sounds will indicate that things are progressing, but if there is a pause in the tick sounds, this should let you know that no further progress is being made.
Naturally, we want users to learn what the sounds represent, so there is a tutorial mode which plays the tones from lowest to highest, together with the soft tick.
Two further notes. There is a setting within JAWS to change the frequency of the progress indicator reports. This is honoured by the Sounds Scheme.
Secondly, in the case of downloading files using Google Chrome, there is no progress bar as such. But with Leasey, you will hear a sound to indicate that a file is downloading, and there is also a mechanism by which you can ascertain the amount of a file which has been downloaded together with the total size of the potential download.
Moving to Web Page Elements Quickly.
The next release of Leasey will also allow you to move to the first or last instance of most web page elements. JAWS already contains the ability to move to the next or previous instance of an element, but to improve productivity, it may be helpful to move to the first and last of these.
For example, when you browse to a new web page, it is likely that JAWS will attempt to set focus to the start of the non-linked text. This means that if you wish to reach the first instance of a Heading or other element, you need to press Control+Home to move to the top of the page, and then press letter H. To say again, you can very quickly move to the first Heading with a keystroke using the new version of Leasey.
In Microsoft Word, there are now keystrokes to move to the first, last, next or previous spelling or grammatical error, even if the Quick Navigation keys are not enabled. This will assist in moving through a document to check spelling.
When the keystrokes are pressed to shut down or restart the computer, a message is spoken advising this is going to take place.
In iTunes, new keystrokes have been added to skip forward and back through an item which is playing, such as a music track. These ensure that the response is far quicker and more reliable.
Hopefully, a problem has been corrected in the Skype 8 access so as to move to the history list in Text Chat when a group conversation is in progress.
Other improvements include keyboard responsiveness in many areas and copying files and folders using LeaseyTags.
We do have some more features in the works, but time is now running short and Christmas is drawing near. But Leasey users will have all of the above very soon. We hope you continue to enjoy using Leasey!