Here’s the LL announcement about the roll out of voice again, this time with 143 comments attached.

There are at least 3 deaf/hearing impaired responses (not happy) some ‘english as a second language’ responses (not happy either), and loads and loads of people just screaming things like “SL isn’t at all stable and this has aggravated those existing technical problems” (really, really not happy).

One of the re-occurring logic-pretzels in these discussion/forum threads, about deafness and the voice feature, is the response to the issue of deaf people’s alienation/marginalisation in relation to the voice feature, with the line ‘Hey, don’t worry, it’s a choice, you don’t have to use it!’ which, er…does not really makes sense to me, as an argument.

Like I’ve said before, my feeling at this point is that it will take the introduction of voice technology in combination with the social/communal uptake of voice as the ‘default’ or ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ or ‘efficient’ or ‘transparent’ mode of communication in particular contexts (meetings, seminars) to disable users.

Ha – of course, it the thing keeps crashing every 30 seconds, that’ll be annoying too…

Meanwhile, I’ve been making shirts. Seems this one is saying ‘No Ears’ – Hmmm. back to the drawing board…

ear shirt

Oh another argument that doesn’t always quite make sense is that the voice feature is ‘good’ for people with mobility issues/arthritis/rsi… This might be true for lots of people but for a colleague of mine who relies on voice-recognition software rather than a mouse/keyboard to use a computer (she uses ‘Dragon’), things are not so straightforward. We talked about it a while ago and what she found (this was before the voice rollout) is that when using SL, the textbox/chat worked fine with her voice-recognition/input software. The usability problems arose when she tried to navigate either the interface, or the world itself, or move her avatar anywhere. Chatting was not the problem.