Figure 1 - Text-to-Speech Results
Microsoft Windows 8: Visual Cues for Audio
The feature that produces visual cues in lieu of audio on Microsoft Windows 8 was tested using three (3) triggers for sound notifications. The three triggers that were used were the critical error, the new hardware connection notification, and the generic system notification sounds. Each trigger was tested five (5) times and assigned tertiary values of the Hildreth Accessibility Feature Experience Matrix. In addition to the testing of these triggers, the feature was given a single value for its responsiveness to being invoked. The Microsoft Windows 8 operating system received a 2.9 as an overall score. This feature was a difficult to find. Searching the Windows Help Files was required to activate it. Once it was up and running the feature produced flawless results.
Figure 2 - Visual Cues for Audio Results
Apple Mac OSX Mavericks 10.9: Visual Cues of Audio
The feature that produces visual cues in lieu of audio on OS X MAVERICKS was tested using the same three (3) triggers for sound notifications as used for Microsoft Windows. Each trigger was tested five (5) times and assigned tertiary values of the HAFEM. In addition to the testing of these triggers, the feature was given a single value for its responsiveness to being invoked. The OS X MAVERICKS operating system received a 2.6 as an overall score on the HAFEM scale. This feature was fairly easy to set up. However, there was no way to specify which OS actions would trigger a response. Therefore, the add hardware trigger never produced a result.
Microsoft Windows 8: Speech-to-Text
The accessibility feature of Microsoft Windows 8 that allows the user to have their speech translated into text was tested by voicing five (5) different paragraphs of text. Each paragraph was spoken into the flagship word processor of Microsoft, Microsoft Word, five (5) times. The tertiary value for each trial was recorded in the HAFEM and summarized with a mean average. A single value was recorded for the feature's response to being initiated. The speech-to-text Microsoft Windows 8 accessibility feature scored a 2.4 on the HAFEM scale. This feature was easy to set up. A 6 minute video allowed the ability to both navigate and dictate nearly flawlessly into MS Word. The web browsers proved a little difficult to run by voice command. All OS features were very easy to access.
Figure 3 - Speech-to-Text Results
Apple Mac OSX Mavericks 10.9: Speech-to-Text
The accessibility feature of OS X MAVERICKS that allows the user to have their speech translated into text was also tested by voicing five (5) different paragraphs of text. The performance of the OS X MAVERICKS feature was very modest. With each paragraph dictated to the feature five (5) times, each series of trials were averaged to bring the operating system to a total score of 1.7 on the Hildreth Accessibility Feature Experience Matrix. This feature was very difficult to set up. The training included with the feature took over 30 minutes, and did not produce user proficiency. Accessing OS features were somewhat successful, and the performance of the hardware was great. However, dictation results produced no perfect paragraphs, and a majority were completely incoherent.
By designing the HAFEM and recording our test results, we feel that we have given considerable evidence for a fair comparison of the speech-to-text, text-to-speech and visual cues for sound features of MS Windows 8 and OS X MAVERICKS. This comparison shows that MS Windows 8 has the higher average of HAFEM scores, and we feel that this system offers the most user-friendly experience. However, it is important to note that the OS X MAVERICKS HAFEM average of scores was very close in comparison. We feel that additional face to face training with OS X MAVERICKS has the possibility of increasing the usability of its features.
Both platforms scored very close to one another with their respective text-to-speech options. Microsoft Windows 8 out-performed OS X MAVERICKS in both remaining categories. It was observed throughout the testing that having multiple application windows running in the background had no substantial bearing on the performance of the tested features. OS X MAVERICKS had limited capabilities with Video Cues for Audio, but performed well when the feature was triggered. Additionally, person to person training or instruction would probably be needed to become proficient with the Speech-to-Text feature in OS X MAVERICKS.
Possibilities for future research include: Testing in multiple languages. The testing did not account for how each platform handled various languages. Testing of third party accessibility hardware platforms. A comparison of the remaining accessibility features included in both operating systems.
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APPENDIX A-1: Testing Materials
Test Paragraph 1
This is a very simple paragraph. Words in this paragraph are not difficult to read or say. The intent of this paragraph is to be a very simple test. Joseph B Hildreth
Test Paragraph 2
These criteria reflect what management thinks is relevant in his/her decision. These might include criteria such as price, product model, and efficiency of the existing system, current hardware, software, applications, technology, client/end T user knowledge, and equipment. (Jones)
Test Paragraph 3
Paragraphs are the building blocks of papers. Many students define paragraphs in terms of length: a paragraph is a group of at least five sentences, a paragraph is half a page long, etc. In reality, though, the unity and coherence of ideas among sentences is what constitutes a paragraph. A paragraph is defined as "a group of sentences or a single sentence that forms a unit" (by BRENT) (Mirzoev, 2014)
Test Paragraph 4
The growth of investment arbitration over the last two decades has been monumental on a number of levels. Under public international law, individuals traditionally lacked standing to bring international claims against foreign States. Through investment treaties, private investors may now not only have recourse to arbitration directly against States, but are also protected by substantive rights expressed in such treaties. Moreover, should the ICSID Convention2 be chosen to resolve an investment treaty dispute, this dispute resolution mechanism provides one of the most de-localized international arbitration systems ever to be implemented. (Kaplan, 2013)
Test Paragraph 5
A significant activity of the SSR is the functional overview. A functional overview of the system will give a brief description of the system requirements in terms of performance requirements, interface requirements with other systems and internal requirements of the System. The supporting documentation of SSR must clearly and specifically define "what is happening here" so that we can state in unambiguous terms, exactly what the constraints and parameters are for the specifications.
Performance Requirements include: Number of cores, throughput, response time, execution time, storage, memory allocation, load, redundancy, fail-over, and OS version.
Interface Requirements with other systems include: delivery method, communication links, speed, portability and compatibility.
Internal Requirements of the System include: data types handled, input, processes, hand-off between processes, storage, and output. There should be traceability from start state to end state. (Harvey Hyman, 2014)
1 Some examples of Microsoft materials documenting the use of accessibility features include: Making your PC easier to use (Microsoft, 2014) and Accessibility in Windows 8 Fact-sheet (Microsoft, 2012).