While you’re perusing across the internet consuming web page after web page and moving as fast as your fingers will type you may not stop and think about the 45 million people in the US who have literacy problems. You may not consider the 10-15% of the population with a learning disability or the 18% of the U.S. population who speak and read English as a second language. Well the folks at Browse Aloud have done that for you.
They’ve been around since 1996 helping to make the internet more accessible to those who can’t read as well as they’d like. We bumped into them at the FOSE 2012 show in Washington DC while on our Rawporter RoadTrip (www.rawporter.com). What do they do? Well they do exactly what the name suggests.
Browse Aloud is a toolbar that works with any browser and has a set of functions that read web pages to the user in whatever way they want. If the user wants to be read an entire page Browse Aloud will do that. If they only want to read a selected text or the next paragraph Browse Aloud can do that too.
More after the break
The Browse Aloud tool bar even has a dictionary tool and a translation tool.
Browse Aloud was created in Ireland but they now have offices in the United States, and they’re making an impact. On camera the Browse Aloud rep reiterated the reasons for Browse Aloud above however we also discussed those who may have vision impairments as well. Or those who’ve been sitting in front of a computer all day long and need something read out loud.
Browse Aloud’s reading voice sounds very similar to Siri. She can read in multiple languages and translate words to a native tongue making web pages, just that more understandable.
Browse Aloud was on hand at FOSE 2012 because of a change to the Section 508 web accessibility rules that states that all new technology purchased by government agencies and departments must be accessible to people with disabilities.