Ok, so I know you have called your bank or some other business and have dealt with voice interfacing on the phone.  So many companies use this to give you information, weather it be your bank account balance, movie times, and a ton of other things that you can access via your computer.  This makes it possible for those who either do not have access to a computer or the internet, or who cannot use a keyboard or mouse due to a mobility impairment.  Many times, such interfaces are great!  But I have had some instances where I feel like yelling at the synthesized voice because it does not understand me, or it misunderstands me.  You have to speak very clearly and slowly, and you cannot be in a situation where there is a lot of background noise to confuse the interface.  Also, various accents and voice types are not easily interpreted by the machine.  If you want to try one out that works very well, try google’s free directory assistance, 800-goog411, which is 800-466-4411.  Just be sure you speak clearly.  There are also software voice browsers that work along with your pc, you speak into them and the information comes up on your screen.  Technologies such as dragon naturally speaking have come a very long way!

Follow this link to the W3C voice browser activity to read up on how and why this is becoming so important.

As web developers, it is important to know how to author a page so that it is voice browser accessible.  It seems that if accessibility guidelines are followed, a site should be voice browser accessible as well.

So not only are voice interfacing systems helpful for those with motor disabilities, they can increase our access as a society to information when we are not near our computers.