I have written an Outlook macro which uses the voice capabilities of RockBox
to provide an accessible, talking address book for blind users on their
The macro will copy all the contacts from an Outlook Contacts folder to a
music device. Using generated voice tags for the information means that the
address book is accessible simply by using RockBox.
The contact information is stored in a directory structure under a
"Contacts" folder in the root folder of the device. Each data item for each
contact is stored as a folder, meaning that the address book can be
navigated much like any other directory tree structure.
There is a folder for each letter of the alphabet, and contacts are stored
under the appropriate letter folder.
Under each contact folder, there is a folder for each of the elements, such
as "Work Address", "Home Phone", "EMail address" etc. The value for each of
these elements is held in a folder under each titled-folder.
Once the macro has copied over the contacts information to the device, the
folder structure can be voiced using VoiceBox in the normal way.
This means that the contacts list can be spoken by RockBox in exactly the
same way as RockBox speaks the music folders, simply by navigating the
This provides a blind user with a simple, accessible, talking address book
on a standard device - there is no need to carry another item of accessible
equipment, the talking address book resides on a device already in their
One drawback is that it is not possible to modify any of the contact
information whilst using RockBox; the modifications need to be made while
the device is attached to a PC. That said, having a simple, accessible
"read only" address book might still be worth having.
(Although I wrote the macro with the intention of using voice tags to create
an accessible contacts list, the contacts list would be perfectly usable by
a sighted user via the device display).
I'm more than happy to share this macro with others, but would prefer not
to have to send the code to each person individually, so could someone help
me by showing me where and how to put it on a server.
[Apologies if this is a repeat posting - it appears that I'd been
unsubscribed prior to sending it last time]
Other notes about the macro:
- The total size of the contacts folder on the music device obviously
depends on the number of contacts being copied, and also on the size of the
voice tags generated by VoiceBox, but in my example, I have over 600
contacts on the device and the whole folder size is just over 100Mb;
- The user simply needs to enter the drive letter for the attached music
device, and the macro will create any folders required;
- The macro will not copy contacts marked as confidential;
- after the first time it is run, the macro will only create folders for
any new or modified entries;
- Some data values are "expanded" into subfolders, meaning that RockBox
will spell-out a phone number or email address in a slower voice (still
using the standard RockBox);
- Due to the security settings of some versions of Outlook, a user will be
prompted to allow access to the email addresses from the Outlook Contacts
folder. All the user needs to do is to allow this access; no changes are
ever made to any entries in the Outlook Contacts folder. (There is a way to
get round this security prompt, but for the purposes of simple installation,
I have not used this option);
- I have tested this macro on an iPod Nano and iPod 5G, but it is safe to
say that it should work with any device that shows up as a removable device
in Windows Explorer. I am using Outlook 2002 on XP SP2, but I have not
tested the macro with other versions of Outlook.
Received on 2007-04-12