to Talksina for her generous help providing this special
tutorial and translating the program into Italian. You
can contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
or visist her homepage: http://www.audiomontaggi.net.
1. Very first approach between vEmotion and a VIP (visually
As vEmotion's interface is not standardly screen-reader
compliant (no MSAA support is implemented), some tricks
must be used for a visually impaired person, to figure
some functions out.
Note: some tricks are "screen reader specific",
so if the functions do not correspond with the used screen
reader application, check the screen reader's manual to
look for the correct command.
The first thing appearing, starting vEmotion for the very
first time, is an Internet Explorer Window; close it with
alt+f4, if you do not wish to read the welcome page (where
new features of the current installed version are written).
After that, an alert window appears, warning to "customized
audio source" if you wish to use other VoIP clients
not explicitly listed on vEmotion's official feature list.
Press space bar on the "Do not show this message"
checkbox, to activate it, then press Enter, or tab till
OK and press Enter. Then, the voice synthesizer should
say, "vEmotion desktop" at this point (it must
be done just once, the VERY first time vEmotion runs,
after installation!) toolbar buttons must be labeled,
as they are not labeled properly. Most popular screen
readers have the "automatic graphic labeler"
in them. In JAWS for Windows, the function is accessed
by pressing ctrl+insert+g The synth, then, says "starting
automatic graphic labeler", and after a while (30-60
seconds) it'll say, "automatic graphic labeling finished,
8 graphics were labeled" (or 10 graphics were labeled),
depending on vEmotion settings. For Window-Eyes or virgo4
or hal, check the products' help for further information.
1.2. General vEmotion window structure As said before,
due to missing MSAA (Microsoft active accessibility)
support, vEmotion has not a standard dialog structure,
that means, screen reader do not "see" it
as a normal Windows dialog box, even if graphically
the look is very similar. The window is divided into
4 tabs (let's call them Pages, as "tab" is
the Tab key and the terms could confuse people who are
not expert and read here). The pages are the following:
Emotions, Music, TTS, Records. To switch from a page
to another, just press ctrl+tab to go forwards, and
ctrl+shift+tab to go backwards, as in standard windows.
Of course the synthesizer will not pronounce in which
page we are, but it can be easily understandable, by
paying attention to the element the focus is on (the
tts can be recognized because the first control is an
edit box). Every page, has a list of general and specific
control, except for Emotions, that has just the general
controls (that's why if Emotions is focused, the tab
key does not work).
General controls are:
add files, add a directory, remove list items, move
up, move down, adjust volumes, mute microphone, enable
recording. To switch between general and specific controls
(including the current file list in case of emotions/music/records
and the edit box in case of tts), the key combination
to press is shift+tab. In standard Windows, shift+tab
is used to focus the previous control in a dialog box,
but in this software, controls can be only navigated
forwards, with tab. This is valid both for general,
and page-specific controls.
1.2. Adjusting settings, for an easier way to work
Go to recorder menu (alt+r). If you wish to enable recording,
leave "enable recording" option checked ,
without pressing Enter on it. then, from Recorder menu,
press enter on Settings, and tab till "real-time
memoire when begin a call" and press space bar.
Tab again, till "save record without prompting
for user input" and press space to check it. Press
enter again, to save options. Note: these options could
be needed for job or learning purpose (if the voice
recording calls contain some notes or important explanations
about something really useful), but if you use voice
clients just to chat with eprsonal contacts, those dialog
boxes are quite annoying for screen reader users, and
are not so necessary).
Note: closing VEmotion window with alt+f4, another alert
appears, warning that the service continues running
and can be accessed in the taskbar, "near the clock",
with a "do not show this message again" checkbox,
that oc course must be activated with space bar, and
then pressing OK.
Saying "near the clock", graphically refers
to the System tray: with Jaws for Windows, it can be
accessed by pressing the Insert+F11 key combination,
and the "VEmotion with call recording" title
must be searched for, then Enter, then Show VEmotion
(for other screen readers, check the specific product
manual to see how to access the system tray).
2. Add audio files to voice emotion list.
By default, "emotions" tab should be the one
which is visible, and which has focus on it. Apparently,
the voice synthesizer says nothing, it just says "VEmotion
desktop", arrow keys and tab seem not to work correctly
as the voice does not talk. To add files, there are
3 ways: or pressing alt+l to access List menu, then
choosing add files or add directory, or pressing shift+tab
once, the first button is Add files. The third way is,
from the "silent VEmotion desktop", to press
shift+tab twice. The list area, where already existing
emotions are listed, will appear. Take mouse cursor
to any list item (in Jaws for windows, the command is
"route Jaws to PC cursor", accessed via Insert
key together with the minus key of numeric keypad)
then press the right mouse button key (in Jaws for Windows,
it's the Star key, direct at left of the minus), and
choose Add files or Add directory, from the context
menu that appears. You will get a windows standard window
for you to select some files or a directory. After you
close the window by pressing Enter on the "Ok"
button, all selected files or all files (*.wav, *.mp3,
*.vea) under the selected folder will be added to the
voice emotion list.
3. Add files to background music list.
From Emotions, press ctrl+tab to go to Music then, the
procedure is identical to the Add files/directory in
emotions page (read previous paragraph).
4. Send voice emotions to your friends.
Anytime you are in a IM voice conversation, you can
send voice emotions to all your friends who are talking
with you. Switch to the Voice Emotions page by pressing
ctrl+tab till you reach your emotion files list (or
just press shift+tab twice if you just opened the VEmotion
and didn't switch to other pages), then use arrow keys
up or down, till you reach the voice emotion item you
want to send. After you reach it, point the mouse cursor
simulator on it (for JAWS for Windows users, route Jaws
cursor to PC, by pressing insert + numeric keypad minus),
then press the right mouse button simulator (in Jaws
for Windows it's the star key, on numeric keypad). From
the context menu that appears, select "Send"
command. Then the voice emotion is sent to your friends
and also played for you. You can also send a voice emotion
just simply going with arrow keys on the desired item,
then pressing Enter key on it. This is the simplest,
and most suggested way to do it without getting lost.
Important: You should be in a voice conversation with
your friends to be able to send voice emotions to them.
Otherwise, an alert appears, warning about "no
voice conversation calls", and this alert can be
switched off by checking the appropriate checkbox and
If the Send command is given and no voice conversation
is in act, the sound can always be listened, but of
course it's just your own computer playing, not others'
5. Share background music with your friends.
The procedure is the same of previous paragraph. To
switch between Emotions and Music page, just press (from
6. Using Text-to-speech (TTS) in a conversation
To switch from Emotions to TTS (text to speech) press
ctrl+tab twice. An edit box will appear, where text
can be written. The controls in this page, are: the
edit box the Speak button (speaks the current text,
and the caller can hear it) Preview button: it speaks,
but during a conversation the caller cannot hear it
Save to file: converts written text to audio (wav) file
stop speaking: the title comments itself! Interrupts
speech. then, there is a slider (it can be managed via
up and down arrows) it's the voice rate, which can be
increased and decreased. Parse XML checkbox: it's for
power users. XML is a markup language, which allows
to do specific action for specific purposes. That is,
for example, changing the synthesizer's pitch, volume
and voice during the speech. (of course the VEmotion's
synthesizer, not the screen reader's one!) Then, the
following combo box, is to change voice bit rate (it's
recommended to use it only knowing what to do, because
it may worsen the TTS voice quality) The other combo
box, is used to select different voices if installed;
to hear if we like that voice, it's necessary to press
tab key 4 times to reach Preview and press enter. Even
in tts control, shift+tab takes to general controls
(add files, add directory...) that, in this case, are
not necessary at all. So take your fingers away from
shift key! Then, after the Voice control, there is another
edit box, but it's a reading-only text, which displays
the short explanation of what TTS is, and below, the
already sopken text history. A rapid way to write and
make it speak, is to type text in the edit box, and
press Enter on it. (attention, it does not support multi-line
text). VEmotion is compatible with SAPI5 tts voices:
Microsoft's default "Microsoft Sam" is sapi5,
as Microsoft Mary & Mike (they can be found on Microsoft's
web site, Sam should be installed in most recent Windows
versions). The quality is not very good, but better
synths can be used, such as Loquendo, RealSpeak, AT&T
Natural Voice, Cepstral...but they are not free. It
does not support Sapi4.
7. Record a voice conversation/call.
Actually, call recording is completely automatically
done for you. When you are on a call, with vEmotion
running and recording enabled, voice streams into an
audio file. The call is being recorded. As you finish
the call, vEmotion will prompt a window for you to fill
some contents for the call record (if "save without
prompting for user input" control is not checked,
but for blind users it's recommended to check it, if
not necessary to cathegorize recordings).
In case the Save records without prompting is not checked,
you can choose to save the recording or discard it.
When you begin a call, depending on settings, vEmotion
will show a window titled "Real Time Memoire"
for you. During the voice conversation, you can write
some memo/comments about what you are talking about.
Memo/comments you entered here will be saved in a VEA
file together with the call record.
8. Real-time memoire/comments.
While a call is going on, you are able to type some
memo/comments for the call in real time. Just access
Recorder menu, with alt+r, then arrow down till "Real-time
Memoire". In following window, you can write what
you want to say about the call.
When the call is finished, comments you entered here
will automatically go to the comment area of the above
window named "Image one". Depending on settings,
the above "Real-time Memoire" window may be
displayed for you automatically when a call begin.
9. Adjust local volume.
Local volume is with which voice emotions or background
music are played for yourself. Change of it does not
affect other call/conference participants' hearing.
If you want to change volume of voice emotions, navigate
with ctrl+tab to the Emotions page, then press button
"adjust volumes" on the toolbar (shift+tab
from Emotions page, then tab till you reach adjust volumes,
and press enter).
An apparently silent dialog box (screen reader just
says Dialog) will pop up. The structure is, local volume
(our own computer's volume) to the left, and remote
volume (the volume our call partners will hear our music
with), to the right.
To manage local volume, press up arrow to increase,
and down arrow to decrease. Text is displayed, but the
synthesizer does not follow automatically (Braille display
users have no problems, as text is shown on the Braille
cells in real time)
For non-expert users, it's suggested to play a music
on VEmotion (read above paragraphs about music to see
how), as for local volume the screen reader may not
be needed: going up and down with up and down arrow
keys, it's easy to hear when volume is good for our
own ears. For expert users, to check if volume is OK,
music is not needed; just activate the mouse pointer
simulator (in Jaws for Windows, the Jaws cursor, route
Jaws to PC, that is insert + numeric keypad minus),
after having pressed up or down arrow to increase/decrease
the volume. Attention: to increase/decrease volume the
mouse pointer simulator must be switched off (in Jaws
just press numeric keypad plus to switch back to PC
cursor), for other screen reading products see the specific
manuals. In this case, the simulator is just needed
to read the text. Attention: the simulator will make
our synth read both local and remote value. For example,
60 50. The 60 (at the left) is the local, and 50 (at
the right) is the remote. Do not confuse the 2 values.
After finishing with volume managing, press Enter, or
escape, to go back to VEmotion main window.
10. Adjusting remote volume
To reach remote volume, go from the current page (music,
emotions, tts or records) to the general controls, by
pressing shift+tab then press tab till Adjust volumes
button, and press enter When the volume dialog appears
(read previous paragraph for information) press tab
to go to remote volume (it's silent, but there are no
other controls, to get confused) Arrow keys, up and
down, respectively increase and decrease the volume
value. This volume cannot be checked without the screen
reader's help, as just remote user (our caller) can
hear the volume change So, the mouse pointer simulator
(see previous paragraph) is needed. The remote value
is the one on the right. Remember to use the mouse pointer
simulator just to read, and to switch it off when you
are increasing/decreasing with arrow keys.