7 The Emacspeak Audio Desktop.

This chapter describes the Emacspeak audio desktop and gives tips and tricks for making use of many of Emacs’ powerful features.

The desktop is the work area where you organize the tools of your trade and the information objects relevant to your current activities. In the conventional world of visual GUI (Graphical User Interface)-based computing, these tools and information objects manifest themselves as a collection of icons organized in a two-dimensional work-area — this organization is designed to place frequently used objects within easy reach.

Notice that organizing one’s work area in terms of visual icons arranged in a two-dimensional area where such an organization is optimized for the available “conversational gestures” of pointing and clicking is an artifact of visual interaction.

In the spirit of a truly speech-enabled application, Emacspeak does not simply provide you spoken access to a particular presentation of your work environment that was initially designed with the “sign language” of visual interaction in mind. Instead, Emacspeak enables you to work with documents and other information objects in a manner that is optimized to aural, eyes-free interaction. A necessary consequence of this setup is that users accustomed to the purely visual manifestation of today’s electronic desktop do not immediately perceive the Emacspeak environment as an electronic desktop. This section of the manual hopes to introduce you to a work-style that encourages a different perspective on how one interacts with the computer in performing day-to-day computing tasks.

The end result in my case has been a marked increase in personal productivity.