Orca Personas

The Orca user personas are intended to be a tool that helps elicit use cases and user requirements. These were created very early on in the Orca development process and were created via partnership with a number of people with visual impairments. They are saved here for historical reference.

The approach is to think of "real" users with specific disabilities performing specific actions. These personas are meant to cover a range of typical users, both in the tasks they want to accomplish as well as their disabilities. The Orca user design explored four personas:

  • Lee: a programmer who uses braille
  • Pat: a manager who uses magnification and speech
  • Kim: an administrative assistant who uses speech
  • Sam: an IT staff member who uses speech and braille


Lee the Programmer

Lee is a programmer who is primarily a braille user and typically performs the tasks outlined in the following sections.

Write code in NetBeans

Lee edits a program module in NetBeans. Over the course of this editing, Lee must be able to do the following:

  • Determine proper indenting. On the braille display, Orca shows this by using blank spaces. Orca also has an option to compress horizontal spacing so as to better make use of braille real-estate. Lee sometimes uses speech as well, and uses separate commands to have Orca read the indentation level. When in focus tracking mode, Lee also has the option to turn on the automatic speaking of this information.
  • See highlighting, attributes and coloring. On the braille display, Orca shows this in status cells, where the status cells reflect the attributes of the character under the current cursor position. For braille displays without status cells, attribute information is shown using dots 7 and 8, where a "key on the braille display" is used to cycle through the various attribute types (underline, bold, etc.).
  • Navigate to and activate buttons and other controls with the braille display, especially those that cannot gain focus using native keystrokes. For example, some code completion and information windows may not have this ability. Lee uses functions to quickly move the braille display to various parts of the screen such as "top of screen" or "line 6." This is typically done under flat review mode, and Lee uses the panning and navigation keys on the braille display to do this. When Lee presses touch cursors on the braille display, they behave as if a Lee were performing a single left mouse click on the given object associated with the touch cursor.
  • Monitor an object on the screen. When Lee tells Orca to monitor an object by pressing a key in combination with cursor routing buttons on the braille display Orca will reserve an area on the braille display and will continually display all current information for this object.
  • Set a part of the screen to jump to, such as a status bar. When Lee lands on an object of interest, Lee will instruct Orca to reserve a keystroke by pressing a key and a touch cursor on the braille display to jump back to the object without moving the active focus. Since Lee is a braille user, Orca also allows Lee to jump to these objects by pressing a combination of a braille display key and touch cursor to jump to a bookmark (e.g., cursor 1 goes to bookmark 1).

Compile code in NetBeans

Lee compiles a program module and fixes errors in NetBeans. Over the course of this task, Lee must be able to do the following:

  • See all errors and warnings. For example, when Lee compiles a program module, focus will be moved to a window containing errors and warnings. Focus tracking should behave properly here, and the braille display will show the first line in the errors and warnings window. When Lee has speech enabled, Orca will speak the first line of the message window.
  • Click on an error with a touch cursor to go to the error. This acts just like performing a left mouse click on the error to take Lee to the editor window and source line for the error. Focus tracking behaves properly here, and the braille display will show the line containing the error. When reviewing the screen, Orca compresses white space on the braille display to allow Lee to review it more quickly. For example, when there are only blanks to the right and Lee presses the pan-right button on the braille display, Orca will take Lee to beginning of the next non-blank line. Orca also indicates positional information by displaying optional "beginning of line" and "end of line" characters which are standard well known characters on the braille display. Orca also optionally shows vertical screen position in status cells. Orca also optionally plays sound effects to indicate line changes.
  • Run the application being created and access it. General screen reading functionality applies here.

Compose document in StarOffice

Lee writes rough draft of an architecture document in StarOffice. Over the course of this editing, Lee must be able to do the following:

  • Detect text selection. When Lee selects text in the document, Orca uses dots 7 and 8 on the braille display to indicate the text selection. Note that this will hide any capitalization held in dot 7, but that's OK.
  • Use spellcheck to determine misspelled word and read list of possible replacements. NOTE: Lee wants to be able to see both the spellcheck dialog and the misspelled word in context. When spellcheck dialog comes up, Orca provides a well known command to say "read the word in its context". Speech will speak it. Braille will display it, and any other action snaps Lee back to the spellcheck dialog. Read documents in grade two braille. Lee uses a well known command to toggle between grade one and grade two braille.
  • Detect attributes of text. Lee does this in the same way as described in "highlighting, attributes and coloring" above.
  • Easily comprehend tabs and spacing. Less does this in the same way as described in "determine proper indenting" above.
  • Bring up a list of toolbar items to quickly access with the keyboard. For example, some applications are well-behaved and let you move to the toolbar. Others do not. Orca provides a well known command that takes Lee to toolbar navigation mode. Another well known command (e.g., escape) gets you out of this mode. NOTE: this may also be workable via review mode, but the screen reader always attempts to provide Lee with the most efficient means for accomplishing any task.
  • Review the currently visible window with the braille display without moving the active cursor (e.g., the caret or the object with focus). Lee uses Orca's flat review mode to do this, and Orca's flat review mode also allows Lee to select an object (and caret position in that object, if caret position applies).
  • Navigate and read all prompts and controls (including static text) in dialogs such as "Save as..." both in flat review mode and in logical order.
  • View labels on the same line as the control they refer to followed by the control type. NOTE: Orca automatically does this in braille when in focus tracking mode, but will not do this when in flat review mode.
  • Obtain "where am I" info. In focus tracking mode, Orca's braille display always tells Lee this (e.g., it displays "file open dialog, filename text area, role" on the braille display - see the braille specification document for more information). Updates to text areas cause automatic panning of braille so as to keep as much of text area on display as possible, with weight given to the caret.

Read and write e-mail with Evolution

Lee reads and writes e-mail with Evolution to communicate with team. Over the course of this task, Lee must be able to do the following:

  • Read all e-mail formats (e.g., plain text and html). Orca relies on Evolution to give it the proper AT-SPI object information for this.
  • Track the message list and easily be able to determine such info as time, date and message priority. Orca places all this information on one line of the braille display if at all possible.
  • Spellcheck an outgoing message as described above.
  • See autocompletion information as it is appearing. Orca displays this information to Lee on the braille display and keeps the cursor at the current caret position. When Lee has speech enabled, the speech output also speaks the autocomplete values.

Use Terminal Windows

Lee also interacts with terminal windows on a daily basis. While BrlTTY is most likely the better solution for Lee (who is primarily a braille user), Lee may also want to access a GUI terminal on occasion. Lee needs to be able to do the following:

  • Navigate the terminal window. Orca updates the braille display to track the cursor in apps such as emacs and vi. Orca also updates the braille display to track the navigation of fields in terminal apps (such as curses applications).

Use the Calendar Tool

Lee sets up appointment for team design discussion using a calendar tool. Over the course of this task, Lee needs to be able to do the following:

  • See relevant information about each time slot. Orca uses braille to show this relevant information (e.g., is that slot available and if not, what is scheduled?).
  • See the prompts for each field when filling out an appointment. Orca displays all information for the current field on the braille display if it will fit. If it will not, Orca supports panning of the braille display. Orca also makes it possible to restrict panning to the braille concept of the current element which means that the user can not pan away from the information about the current control.

Browse the web using Mozilla

Lee uses Mozilla to read JDK JavaDoc, the latest Java Tips and Tricks article, and the latest slashdot content. Lee needs to be able to do the following:

  • View all links in a list view and also be able to activate them. Orca allows Lee to arrow through the links and hit first letter (or perhaps enter key) to activate them.
  • Jump past links on the page to get directly to large blocks of text. Orca provides a well known command to do this. This is useful for reading documentation and articles where Lee is reading one page after another.
  • Select, cut, copy and paste blocks of text from a web page. Orca relies on the semantics of the application to do this.
  • View the URL of imagemap links with no useful information. Orca provides this as part of one of its navigation modes. Ideally, the browser will allow any user to navigate to any link, thus allowing Orca's focus tracking mode to handle this. If not, however, Orca's flat review mode will provide this functionality.
  • See labels properly associated with input fields on the braille display; relevant table information should be shown on the display when moving between columns and rows.
  • Move back and forth between headers (e.g., H1, H2, etc), tables, and frames. Orca relies on the built-in keyboard navigation of Mozilla to do this.
  • Distinguish links from regular text. Lee does this in the same manner as described in the "highlighting, attributes and coloring" section above.


Pat the Manager

Pat is a manager who is primarily a magnifier and speech user and typically performs the tasks outlined in the following sections:

Browse the web using Mozilla

Each morning before going to work, Pat uses Mozilla to read the daily news from CNN. To do so, Pat needs to do the following:

  • Jump past links on the page to get directly to large blocks of text. Orca provides a well known command to do this. This is useful for reading documentation and articles where Pat is reading one page after another.
  • Select, cut, copy and paste blocks of text from a web page. Orca relies on the semantics of Mozilla to do this.
  • View the URL of imagemap links with no useful information. Orca provides this as part of one of its navigation modes. Ideally, Mozilla will allow any user to navigate to any link, thus allowing Orca's focus tracking mode to handle this. If not, however, Orca's flat review mode will provide this functionality.
  • Hear and see links, menu items, and buttons as Pat navigates to them using Mozilla's built-in keyboard navigation methods.
  • Move back and forth between headers (e.g., H1, H2, etc), tables, and frames. Orca relies on the built-in keyboard navigation of Mozilla to do this.
  • Distinguish links from regular text. Pat does this in the same manner as described in the "highlighting, attributes and coloring" section above.
  • Have the document spoken starting from the current position. Orca provides a well known command to to start reading at the current position and stop when desired. Orca also automatically tracks and magnifies the text while it is being read. When reading is stopped, Orca places the caret (if possible) at the end of the last word spoken.
  • Pat uses Orca's option of using alternative voice styles to indicate various attributes of the text. Orca also provides a well known command to speak all the attributes of the text at the cursor (e.g., "bold underlined 12-point helvetica").

Read and write e-mail with Evolution

Pat is also a heavy e-mail user, especially to communicate with Pat?s staff and boss. As such, Pat needs the following:

  • See and hear the highlighted item in the message list. Orca also gives Pat the ability to hear descriptive information about the currently highlighted item. For example, Pat can determine information such as if the item is unread and/or has an attachment.
  • Hear and see links, menu items, and buttons as Pat navigates to them using Evolution's built-in keyboard navigation methods.
  • Have the document spoken starting from the current position. Orca provides a well known command to start reading at the current position and stop when desired. Orca also automatically tracks and magnifies the text while it is being read. When reading is stopped, Orca places the caret (if possible) at the end of the last word spoken.
  • Pat uses Orca's option of using alternative voice styles to indicate various attributes of the text. Orca also provides a well known command to speak all the attributes of the text at the cursor (e.g., "bold underlined 12-point helvetica").
  • Change the color of the magnified area. If the full screen is magnified, the entire screen will have the same scheme. If the lens view is on, then only the lens has that color scheme. This is important because Pat sometimes loses the location of the lens and the contrast between the magnified area and rest of the screen helps Pat find it.
  • See and hear prompts and controls in dialogs. For example, when a search dialog comes up, Pat sees the focused component in the magnified display and hears "subject: edit."
  • Use one or more well known commands to quickly change magnification level and style. Magnification styles include things such as: magnification lens that moves around display and fixed magnification window that follows mouse and focused object. For following the mouse, Orca also provides additional options such as "mouse centered", "optimal least movement", etc. Commands to turn magnification tracking on and off.
  • Use multiple zoomers to track both the "locus of focus" as well as other areas of the screen (e.g., status bar).

Compose Presentations in StarOffice

Pat periodically needs to create an "All Hands" presentation in StarOffice. To do, Pat needs the following:

  • Select from the slide templates. This might require review mode.
  • Determine the position on the slide that typed text will appear.
  • Determine if the slide is full or if part of text or an object won?t fit.
  • Cut and paste objects and text from and to a slide.
  • Move and size objects on a slide.
  • Determine bullets and indentation levels for text.
  • Pat sometimes invokes a spreadsheet while writing documents. When doing so, Pat brings up multiple zoomers that place cell location, formulas, etc., in a small area on one of the corners of the screen. Orca allows the location of the zoomers and what the zoomers track to be completely customized.

Read Help Documentation

Pat needs to be able to read the help documentation, and often needs to do the following:

  • Navigate the contents magnified and with speech. If a topic has sub-topics Orca makes it clear by speaking so when the topic is highlighted. Speech also tells Pat what level in the help tree Pat is in.
  • See and hear each content pane. Orca automatically reads each content pain when it gains focus and magnifies each word/line as it is read.

Compose Text Document in StarOffice

Pat also writes performance reviews in StarOffice. To do so, Pat often performs the following tasks:

  • Use spellcheck to determine misspelled word and read list of possible replacements. By default, Orca speaks the misspelled word followed by the default choice. NOTE: Pat often wants to be able to see the misspelled word in context. When spellcheck dialog comes up, Orca provides a well known command to say "read the word in its context". Speech will speak it and the magnifier will show it. Any other action snaps Pat back to the spellcheck dialog.
  • Pat uses Orca's option of using alternative voice styles to indicate various attributes of the text. Orca also provides a well known command to speak all the attributes of the text at the cursor (e.g., "bold underlined 12-point helvetica").
  • Hear current character, word and line. Orca provides one or more well known commands to do this. When the well known command is pressed a second time, Orca spells the word. When the well known command is pressed a third time, Orca spells the word phonetically.
  • Hear capitalization. For example, when arrowing across the name "Mike" Orca says 'cap m' 'i' 'k' 'e'. Optionally, Orca changes the pitch for the capital letter.
  • Bring up a list of toolbar items to quickly access with the keyboard. For example, some applications are well-behaved and let you move to the toolbar. Others do not. Orca provides a well known command that takes Pat to toolbar navigation mode. Another well known command (e.g., escape) gets you out of this mode. NOTE: this may also be workable via review mode, but the screen reader always attempts to provide Pat with the most efficient means for accomplishing any task.
  • Have dialog static text and focus information should automatically be read if a dialog such as "save" or "print" appears. Orca also provides commands to read this information as well as the entire dialog.
  • Detect text selection by both seeing the text in the magnifier and also hearing "selected" when navigating character-by-character or word-by-word. Orca also provides a well known command (e.g., "say selection") to read the currently selected text.

Use Address Book

Pat uses the address book often to locate contact information. To do so, Pat needs Orca to do the following:

  • Track the address list, speaking and magnifying the currently selected person.
  • Speak and magnify all controls in the "find" utility as Pat navigates them.
  • Hear details about an individual contact. When navigating the found contact, Pat needs to hear and see the label and content of each field. Orca also provides a well known command to re-read the current label and roll for the focused item.

Use the Calendar Tool

Pat sets up a staff meeting using a calendar tool. See Lee?s stuff above, but apply to speech and mag. TODO: need to flesh this out some more.


Kim the Admin

Kim is an administrative assistant who is primarily a speech user. Kim regularly performs the tasks outlined in the following sections.

Use the Address Book

Kim often uses the address book to add and find contact information for Pat. As such, Kim needs to be able to do the following tasks:

  • Track the address list, speaking the currently selected person.
  • Speak all controls in the "find" utility as Kim navigates them using the system?s built in keyboard navigation commands.
  • Hear details about an individual contact. When navigating the found contact, Kim needs to hear the label, content, and roll of each field. Orca also provides a well known command to re-read the current label and roll for the focused item.
  • Detect text selection by hearing "selected" when navigating character-by-character or word-by-word. Orca also provides a well known command (e.g., "say selection") to read the currently selected text.
  • Read the title and status bar of the current application. Orca provides this via a well known command to invoke the "Where am I" functionality of Orca.

Use the Calendar Tool

Kim often sets up calendar appointment for Pat and others. To do so, Pat needs Orca to provide the following abilities:

  • Track the date and time views of the calendar. When navigating, Kim hears, for example, the current time and if an appointment is currently set. TODO: Mike - write down your ideas for this!
  • Hear the label for each field and review the information that has been input.
  • Read the entire appointment. Orca provides this via a well known command to read an entire dialog.

Browse the web using Mozilla

Kim often orders office supplies and books travel for others on line. Kim does this in a manner similar to Pat, but using only speech instead of speech and magnification. [[[TODO: - probably need to flesh this out more.]]] In addition, since Kim often fills out forms, Orca needs to allow for the following:

  • Keystrokes to move between form fields only. Orca provides functionality to move from one form field to the next or prior skipping all other links.
  • Automatically read field labels when moving to form fields.

Read and Write e-mail with Evolution

Kim often coordinates and organizes group meetings using e-mail. As such, Kim needs to be able to do the following:

  • Hear contacts in the address book and know if they are selected.
  • Use spellcheck to determine misspelled word and read list of possible replacements. By default, Orca speaks the misspelled word followed by the default choice. NOTE: Kim often wants to be able to hear the misspelled word in context. When spellcheck dialog comes up, Orca provides a well known command to say "read the word in its context". Speech will speak it.
  • Kim uses Orca's option of using alternative voice styles to indicate various attributes of the text. Orca also provides a well known command to speak all the attributes of the text at the cursor (e.g., "bold underlined 12-point helvetica").
  • Hear current character, word and line. Orca provides a well known command to do this. When the well known command is pressed a second time, Orca spells the word. When the well known command is pressed a third time, Orca spells the word phonetically.
  • Hear capitalization. For example, when arrowing across the name "Mike" Orca says 'cap m' 'i' 'k' 'e'. Optionally, Orca changes the pitch for the capital letter.

Create Spreadsheet in StarOffice

Kim sometimes views and updates the group budget, which is maintained as a spreadsheet in StarOffice. To do so, Kim needs to be able to do the following:

  • Automatically hear cell location and content when navigating between cells. Orca speaks, for example: "B4" followed by the cell content. Orca also provides a well known command to speak this information. Orca also provides an option to automatically speak this information when Kim moves from one cell to the next.
  • Related to the above, hear row and column headers. Orca supports this via separate well known commands.
  • Automatically hear formulas if they appear in a cell. Orca speaks these after it speaks the location and content information.
  • Determine and modify size of cell.
  • Select a range of cells and know that they are selected. Orca speaks "selected" followed by the begin and end coordinates.
  • Produce and read simple charts and graphs.
  • Interact with a print dialog to print finished report.
  • Automatically hear static text and focus information when a dialog appears such as "file" or "reformat." Orca also provides commands to re-read this information as well as the entire dialog.


Sam the IT Guru

Sam is a member IT staff who is primarily a speech and braille user. Sam regularly performs the following tasks.

Use Terminal Windows

Sam regularly interacts with terminal windows. While BrlTTY is most likely the better solution, Sam may also want to access a GUI terminal to do the following:

  • Navigate the terminal window. Orca updates the braille display to track the cursor in apps such as emacs and vi. Orca also updates the braille display to track the navigation of fields in terminal apps (such as curses apps), and provides a "speak the current line" to display this information.

Use GUI-based Administration Tools

Sam interacts with GUI-based tools such as update and network configuration on a daily basis. This includes the following:

  • Automatically hear static text and focus information when a dialog appears such as "configure network." Orca also provides commands to re-read this information as well as the entire dialog.
  • In logical order, navigate and read all prompts and controls (including static text).
  • See all information for the current field on the braille display if it will fit. If it will not, Orca supports panning of the braille display. Orca also makes it possible to restrict panning to the braille concept of the current element. This will restrict panning from moving away from the braille information presented for the current control.
  • Re-read information as requested.
  • Read an entire dialog with speech.
  • Watch a particular field in a dialog box (e.g., the "% CPU utilization" field and be notified when it changes.

Projects/Orca/Specification/Personas (last edited 2013-11-22 19:22:26 by WilliamJonMcCann)