WordQ offers help when writing documents by providing word prompts and sentence-by-sentence proofreading. When bundled with SpeakQ it also allows individual words to be spoken into your computer on the fly without the need for an additional speech recognition package.
WordQ+SpeakQ is a lightweight, discrete and effective alternative to the more bloated literacy apps available. It is suitable for users who do not feel confident about their writing and do not need the reading support features offered by the bulkier software.
How Effective is WordQ?
I have tested WordQ+SpeakQ but always appreciate feedback from real-world users.
Speech recognition software such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking requires you to say entire phrases in order for it to understand you. This can be difficult for people with a weak working memory (something that is often linked to specific learning difficulties).
WordQ+SpeakQ allows you to say individual words as and when needed into a microphone that is set to ‘always on’. It encourages you to use words which you may not be confident about spelling.
I found that this feature worked quickly and was very accurate. It uses the Windows built-in speech recognition engine which I trained using a simple training feature that comes with WordQ+SpeakQ. It took me less than 5 minutes.
Word prediction is a useful tool if you often use simple words when writing because you find ‘advanced’ words difficult to spell.
WordQ presents its predictions in a discrete box that follows as you type.
Typing a letter restricts WordQ’s suggestions to words that begin with that letter. A subsequent letter restricts the list further, allowing you to drill down to the word you want. It can help you quickly use words which otherwise you might not feel confident using.
The words that WordQ suggests can be tailored to the subject you are writing about.
The prediction box can fail to follow as you type in some applications (including web browsers). In these situations you may need to use F9 to toggle the box on and off to read or click on what is underneath.
In some lesser-used applications the prediction box does appear at all and instead seems to cause the application to misbehave.
Not everybody recommends that you proofread each sentence as you write it. Sometimes it is better to let your mind run and ensure that you get all your thoughts down.
However if you are being distracted by concerns about what you have just written then WordQ’s proofreading tools can provide a very efficient way to make corrections and improve chosen words.
WordQ will read aloud your sentences as soon as you pop the full stop on the end. This is a good way to quickly check that you have not used any incorrect words and that the grammar sounds right.
The speech will not alert you to any homophone word errors. Instead you can manually check suspicious words using the mouse.
WordQ also allows you to find alternative words with the same or similar meanings to improve the words you are using.
The list of alternative words are not always very similar in meaning so you’ll need to check your selections carefully using a dictionary.
The Good & The Bad
- Very discrete interface which can be completely hidden
- Simple, fast & effective support when writing
- Helps users feel more confident about word choice
- Free trial available for download
- Online video tutorials
- Prediction word box can get in the way
- Same features are available in larger packages that offer more functionality
- WordQ can cause some applications to function incorrectly
- Suggested words alternatives are sometimes a bit of a red herring