Phil/Bradley: BUG: A Plea to Fix "Read Aloud"

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Posts 1633
PL | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Jan 6 2022 2:44 PM

Hi Phil / Bradley / Faithlife,

I have written several pleas for FL to please take the Read Aloud feature more seriously. So far I have not seen much response from FL.

For those of us whose eyes are either aging, or simply getting dry and strained from too much reading (because we own too many Logos books), it is crucial to have a fully working, fully tested, reliable Read Aloud function.

Right now I've been trying to read through various commentaries on Numbers, and have been trying to utilize Read Aloud to help save my eyes. Here are the annoyances / quirks I've encountered:

(Reading location: https://ref.ly/logosres/bst04nu?ref=Page.p+14 -- using Full Screen F11 mode, and using Ctrl-R to start and stop Read Aloud. Running Logos 9 on Windows 10 Home.)

1. Because 1x is too slow and dragging, I had to endure the robotic 1.4x with no options / slider to choose something in between (e.g. 1.25x or 1.3x).

2. Once Ctrl-R starts reading, it almost always stops after a certain amount of time (or maybe certain amount of text), at a random spot.

3. If it does read to the end of the current page, it keeps on reading the next page but the screen does not follow. I had to use my mouse wheel to go to the next page.

4. When I do that (going to the next page), Read Aloud insists on jumping to a different location, sometimes before the page turn, sometimes after, and continue reading from that random location.

(When I'm not in Full Screen mode, I've also observed #4. If I use the mouse wheel to try to advance the text to skip over a section I don't need to read or hear, Logos would insist on going to a different location, usually jumping to a previous heading or subheading, and start reading again from there. The Read Aloud feature seems to be constantly fighting with the user instead of assisting the user.)

May I request that when you produce Logos books, especially in the Reader or Research Editions, that you please add "Read Aloud" testing to the list of quality checks?

I sincerely hope that you could do something to significantly correct, improve, and enhance this crucial feature. So far, because of the unpredictable manner Read Aloud behaves, I have to say this severely diminishes the value of Logos books I have purchased. I sometimes use the following (imperfect) workarounds:

a) Use the Read Aloud on my iPhone / iPad instead (they are not perfect and have issues of their own);

b) Copy and paste certain chunks of text from Logos into Word and use Word's read aloud feature (it is actually very good, especially with a very accurate Karaoke-style word-by-word highlight, which is very easy to follow, compared to Logos' sporadic and erratic occasional highlight spark ring);

c) Purchase the Kindle ebook and have Alexa read it to me -- by far Alexa's read aloud is the most smooth, human-like, natural-sounding and enjoyable.

Please, please, please, do something to improve Read Aloud, one that doesn't jump or stop randomly, for the sake of our eyes. Without that, it's pointless for us to purchase more books from Logos.

Thanks,

PL

Posts 1517
Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 3:40 PM

Thank you for taking the time to post this. I've been wanting to post about the read aloud feature but there's so much wrong with it I usually just throw up my hands and suffer through it.

PL:
1. Because 1x is too slow and dragging, I had to endure the robotic 1.4x with no options / slider to choose something in between (e.g. 1.25x or 1.3x).

Yes! Please give us something between 1.0 and 1.4.

PL:
2. Once Ctrl-R starts reading, it almost always stops after a certain amount of time (or maybe certain amount of text), at a random spot.

To fix this I usually end up having to restart Logos or sometimes even restart Windows.

PL:

3. If it does read to the end of the current page, it keeps on reading the next page but the screen does not follow. I had to use my mouse wheel to go to the next page.

4. When I do that (going to the next page), Read Aloud insists on jumping to a different location, sometimes before the page turn, sometimes after, and continue reading from that random location.

(When I'm not in Full Screen mode, I've also observed #4. If I use the mouse wheel to try to advance the text to skip over a section I don't need to read or hear, Logos would insist on going to a different location, usually jumping to a previous heading or subheading, and start reading again from there. The Read Aloud feature seems to be constantly fighting with the user instead of assisting the user.)

These are the most frustrating/annoying aspects of the read aloud feature. Especially #4. I have all the problems listed above even when not in Full Screen mode (which I almost never use). 

If I want to go back just one line, Read Aloud will jump back to some random spot a paragraph or more in the previous section, sometimes in the middle of a sentence.

PL:
May I request that when you produce Logos books, especially in the Reader or Research Editions, that you please add "Read Aloud" testing to the list of quality checks?

This may also help them catch a lot of the typos in Logos resources. The read aloud feature is usually how I discover all the typos and report them. lol

Also, one enhancement I would suggest is to allow Logos to read the front/back matter in bibles and not just jump to Gen 1:1 when I want to read a preface of a bible. I have to export this material to Word to have it read aloud, and yes I agree, Word does a much better job.

Posts 3898
LogosEmployee
Philana R. Crouch | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 3:43 PM

PL,

I'm having trouble reproducing a few things:

PL:

3. If it does read to the end of the current page, it keeps on reading the next page but the screen does not follow. I had to use my mouse wheel to go to the next page.

For me, it does go to the next page. It would be helpful to get a screenshot of your layout so I can see how it looks. Also do you have any scaling turned on?

PL:
2. Once Ctrl-R starts reading, it almost always stops after a certain amount of time (or maybe certain amount of text), at a random spot.

Can you clarify this? Do you have an example of where you have started and stopped? What type of time frame are we talking about?

Posts 709
Kathleen Marie | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 5:04 PM

Philana R. Crouch:

PL,

I'm having trouble reproducing a few things:

Also do you have any scaling turned on?

I must use scaling. The read aloud is not good enough that I do not need to read along in the text and I cannot see the text unless I scale it.

I am not sure what is bugs and what the software was never programmed to do. I will start taking screenshots.

I am another customer that must choose the software with the best read aloud function. Today, I am very hampered by my deteriorating eyesight. I have resorted to doing things in other software today, specifically for the read aloud features. Glasses help me a bit, but if I wear them for more than a few seconds to set something up, I throw up. I cannot wear glasses to read a book. I am fighting not to throw up right now, so this thread is timely for me. I have realized today, that I am crossing another line that requires some new methods of managing my eyesight. The old workarounds are not working anymore.

Posts 1517
Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 5:17 PM

Philana R. Crouch:
For me, it does go to the next page. It would be helpful to get a screenshot of your layout so I can see how it looks. Also do you have any scaling turned on?

I've had this issue since I started using Logos (Logos 6) when I didn't need to change the scaling. I had Logos program and content scaling at 100% until Logos 8 was released. At least for me this isn't a new problem. I've also had the problem on two different laptops.

Posts 709
Kathleen Marie | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 5:29 PM

If Logos invests in making the software work well, a training video will be great advertising. There are youtube providers that do reviews on products for the vision-impaired. I really think that this is something that Logos can make their money back.

I try not to ask for things that don't benefit Christians and mankind in general. But read-aloud software is changing the lives of people that were previously unable to do some things without help or unable to do them at all.

Just please pray about the role that Logos is supposed to play, or not play, for the disabled.

Posts 709
Kathleen Marie | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 5:33 PM

I bet this man would do a review for you. I buy things that this man recommends, and I know others do as well.

https://www.youtube.com/c/theblindlife

Posts 1633
PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 5:36 PM

I am so glad to know that I'm not the only who's been suffering thru these issues with Read Aloud all these years. And I'm thankful that someone from FL finally responds.

To answer your question, Philana, my Content Scaling is set at 110% and Program Scaling is at 90%. (I forgot why/when I set them like that; I think it was based on someone's suggestion on the forum.)

I will try to find some time in the next few days to take a video or two to document the issues, and try to upload to the forum. (Sermon prep takes priority at this point.)

Thanks all.

PL

Posts 709
Kathleen Marie | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 6 2022 9:00 PM

I think the page jumps at new page numbers and headings and sometimes at a new paragraph.

I think the read aloud is smoother in books with shorter pages and more breaks. I think we only need to shrink the font on books with the longest pages and paragraphs.

Page numbers are a different color than the text, so I can see them. If I pause the reading, and grab the yellow page number, I can pull it to the top of the page and the audio plays from there. If I just grab a random spot and pull it to the top of the page, that just makes it start over again from the beginning of the page that it was already on.

I do NOT like read alouds that scroll continuously and highlight the word being read. I get as sick to my stomach from that as wearing glasses. Infrequent jumps are the most comfortable to read when they work. I love read alouds that flip the page automatically.

I want to bring up Bookshare again. I can download a word file and create a personal book, but my machines are often not compatible or powerful enough to make personal books.

https://www.bookshare.org/cms/

I know that ereader software can be made compatible to download and read bookshare books.  These ereaders are not dedicated to Bookshare, but just have the option.

https://www.bookshare.org/cms/reading-tool-wizard/read-android

My student free membership was just expiring, and I am not enrolled in an accreditted school right now. I gave them my student information to my non-accreditted online school and it looks like they contacted the school and approved my student status for another year! Yes! I am so thankful and grateful!

Print disabled non-students that provide sufficient paperwork to prove their disability can borrow books, but must pay a yearly fee.

https://www.bookshare.org/cms/bookshare-me

When I have a machine powerful enough to compile my textbooks, I like to import them into Logos, as many of them are full of scripture references. But also, I have purchased many of the secular reference sets in Logos, like the Britannica Great Books set.

I don't know if it would be possible, but ... it would be amazing if those of us that have proven our disability to Bookshare could integrate our textbooks into Logos. Right now, the mobile apps are okay, but there is nothing decent that has been recently updated for Windows. If disabled people, or even just students could use Logos, that would bring a lot of attention to Logos. I think it would bring more profit than loss. All the restriction of access could be handled by Bookshare. The mobile ereaders make me log in at bookshare and confirm that I am currently subscribed, but then the app downloads a compatible file into the app.

Posts 3898
LogosEmployee
Philana R. Crouch | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 7 2022 9:05 AM

PL:
I will try to find some time in the next few days to take a video or two to document the issues, and try to upload to the forum. (Sermon prep takes priority at this point.)

Thank you so much. I completely understand that sermon prep takes priority. I had left it playing for a while without it stopping, so I wanted to try to get an idea of how long to leave it running. 

Posts 1633
PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 12 2022 7:51 AM

Click here to play this video

Posts 1633
PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 12 2022 8:03 AM

Philana,

I have recorded a 7-minute (800MB) video with my iPhone (*.MOV) and tried to upload it to this forum. Apparently the upload was not successful.

I can't find your email contact. Can I email it to you via Gmail / Google Drive?

The video shows:

- In Full Screen Mode, the page does not turn when Read Aloud reads past the end of the page and onto the next page.

- When I then use the mouse wheel to advance the page, Read Aloud insists on jumping to a different location and restart reading.

- Examples of the "sparkling circle" place marker appearing randomly in the middle of a paragraph, and not appearing at the start of some sections where it's supposed to.

- Examples of the word "The" at the beginning of a section title being singled out and read separately from the rest of the title (happens a lot in multiple books and is a minor but constant annoyance).

- The (almost) incomprehensibility of 1.4x speed (the first step up from 1x speed)... [incidentally, I noticed that the audiobook player already has a slider to adjust reading speed].

I was not able to capture Read Aloud stopping after reading a certain amount of text. I'll make a video next time I catch that happening again.

Thanks, please let me know how I can pass that video onto you.

PL

Posts 1633
PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 13 2022 9:42 AM

Hi Philana,

I emailed the information and the video to you yesterday. Hope I got your email address correct. Please acknowledge receipt if you got it.

Thanks,

PL

Posts 1633
PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 15 2022 2:52 PM

Hi Philana,

Just wanted to know if you saw this posting, and whether you've received my emailed video of the Read Aloud pain points?

Thanks,

PL

Posts 3033
LogosEmployee
Andrew Batishko | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 26 2022 8:08 AM

Sorry for the delay. Philana isn't available at the moment to respond, but I sent her an email so she can follow up when she can.

Andrew Batishko | Faithlife software developer

Posts 1633
PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 26 2022 9:17 AM

Thanks for the check-in and update, Andrew. Much appreciated.

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