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07 Aug 2019

Is Text To Speech (TTS) an important add on for my accessible website?


Is Text To Speech (TTS) an important add on for my accessible website?

Here at focusgov we get asked about Text To Speech software every week, which is not surprising  considering in the UK 0.5% of the population, approximately 360,000 people, require adaptive alternative communication (AAC) which includes TTS software amongst many other AAC solutions.

Text to speech software allows anyone with a disability that affects their ability to read off of a screen to hear the content instead. The truth is that websites don’t necessarily need text to speech software as these users often have their device settings set to speak text aloud, most likely in a bespoke manor that best fits their individual needs. If they don’t have a bespoke piece of software installed within their devices, their next port of call would be the standard solution within the device itself such “Speech” within Apple and Microsoft products which was once called “Microsoft Sam” who now has many more names, settings and voices. A users third option is to have an extension within the web browser such as Chrome extension Read-aloud. These of course are all reliable options and completely free to users (other than the bespoke set-up).  If you do however feel the need to have additional software for text to speech, specific for your website we fully support integrations of these services. There are a multitude of choices some costing more than others. There is Browsealoud which is well known, reliable, but has a significant annual subscription cost and then at the other end of the scale, there are a few low cost alternatives such as responsivevoice.org

So is Text To Speech an important add on to your website for accessiblity? No, not really, the most important thing is to have website developers that ensures the content of the site is coded properly, so that all of the functionality of TTS software works with the content. This is something we pride ourselves on here at focusgov; working to accessibility standards level AA of WCAG2.1 and meeting W3C standards too. If you have any further questions please get in touch. 


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