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Speech Enabling Social Networks

ian Stewart, UK Sales Manager, BrowseAloud - PSFBuzz North East - Effective Social Networking and Web 2.0 Strategies for Local Authorities - a Public Sector Forums Conference, 7 July 2009, Newcastle.

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Speech Enabling Social Networks

  1. 1. Browsealoud: Making ALL websites talk! 7th July 2009 Ian Stuart
  2. 2. Agenda • Introduction to Texthelp Systems • What is BrowseAloud? • Why BrowseAloud? • Features & Benefits of BrowseAloud • Demonstration of Social Networking websites • Questions & Answers
  3. 3. Texthelp Systems Ltd.  Head office in Northern Ireland (59), US office in Boston (25)  Developing software helping users improve their reading and writing skills for over 12 years  Worldwide Leaders in literacy and assistive technology solutions: 3 Products - Read & Write BrowseAloud Lexiflow  ISO / Investors in People Accreditation  Microsoft GOLD Certified Partners  Adobe Trusted Partner
  4. 4. Browsealoud • Browsealoud is designed to assist the “print disabled community”, where literacy difficulties prevent and discourage on-line inclusion. • Browsealoud is not designed to replace traditional screen readers used by the blind…. Jaws • Browsealoud is only as good as the organisation has followed W3C Guidelines. E.g.
  5. 5. Digital Inclusion In the UK: • Over 2 million people are blind or partially sighted • Over 8 million people have literacy problems/ learning difficulties • Over 10 million people are registered with a disability So e Guid line fo UK Go rnm nt W b ite , TheCa ine Offic urc : e s r ve e es s b t e Source: Guidelines for UK Government Websites , The Cabinet Office
  6. 6. Assistive Technology • In the UK : – Significant group with poor literacy skills or learning difficulties – Of that, significant group are not aware of assistive technology – Those who need it most cannot afford it!!
  7. 7. Why Browsealoud? Legislation & Guidelines • Disability Discrimination Act. • W3C Guidelines • To meet PAS 78:2006 • Equality Duty (Dec 2006) • Browsealoud business model allows the users to get the technology for FREE
  8. 8. Browsealoud will assist… • Dyslexia and other literacy and learning difficulties • Limited English Proficiency • English is not a native language • Mild Visual Impairments
  9. 9. Dyslexia • Dyslexia comes from the Greek language meaning 'difficulty with words • People with dyslexia and related reading disorders find it difficult, time consuming and intimidating to read online content • The Trades Union Council state that, "dyslexia, often known as the ‘hidden disability’, affects up to 2.9 million workers in the UK” • The Dyslexia Institute estimates that Dyslexia costs the UK economy £1 billion per annum.
  10. 10. Literacy Levels • Over 7 million people in UK have literacy problems • Literacy levels are lower in populations with poorer socio-economic backgrounds. • Nearly 4 out of 10 adults in some parts of the UK cannot read or write properly or do simple sums (Source: National Needs and Impact Survey of Literacy, Numeracy and ICT Skills, DfES, October 2003)
  11. 11. English as a Second Language • 3 million people in the UK were born in countries where English is not the national language • Digital Inclusion Strategy states “there is a need for exploring the role and potential of ICT learning in support of teaching English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)” • People who speak English as a second language are better able to understand English when it is spoken rather than reading it themselves
  12. 12. Mild Visual Impairments • 80% of people with sight problems in the UK are 65 or over. Their eyesight is effected by conditions such as macular degeneration or cataracts • “LONDON (Reuters) - Retired people are starting to prefer browsing the Internet to more traditional pastimes such as gardening, travel and DIY…. Their top Internet activity was e-mailing and looking for information .* • Research shows older generation are in danger of becoming “digitally excluded”* (So e RNIB) urc : *Silve s rsRe rsFe 2 0 r urfe ute b 07
  13. 13. Browsealoud • Increases digital inclusion, accessibility, assistive learning and usability of your website to visitors with reading or literacy difficulties….. • With Browsealoud your website content is delivered on an additional two levels – Audio …. “Positioned” Sound – Visual ….. “Positioned” Highlighting • To have Browsealoud on your website. 1. Subscribe to service. 2. Put download link on your homepage. 3. ALL pages hosted by your URL – Works with Static and Dynamic – Works with Social Networking Websites
  14. 14. Browsealoud – Customer Side  No software installation  Subscription Service  Placement of download link and Information/logo on your website  All Technology is Client side  Zero effort for the Webmaster  No Bandwidth Impact  No Security Impact  Pronunciation Extranet  Intranet / Extranet can also be speech enabled  MP3 facility  Quarterly Download Statistics  Free Technical Support
  15. 15. Browsealoud – User Side  Technology is free to ALL website visitors  Not every user is the same  Customizable voices  Customizable settings (Speed, Pitch Continuous Reading)  Customizable Colour Highlighting  Magnification  MP3  Dictionary  Identification of Links  Online Video Tour  Technical Support  Once only download, building a community of websites
  16. 16. Features and Benefits - Listening • Individuals with dyslexia may be the least literate in the classroom or workplace, but they could be the most literary – accessing literature is a problem – listening is a solution. • Listening is often seen as ‘Cheating’ – “There is nothing inferior about receiving information or a story aurally rather than reading the words on the page.” (Cogan & Flecker)
  17. 17. Features & Benefits - Colour Highlighting Feature • Dual Colour Highlighting. • Sentence Highlighting • Synchronised word highlighting with speech • Users can select colours to suit requirements. Benefit • Dual Colour Highlighting while speech enabling content is a proven means of improving comprehension, studies show an increase in reading grades.
  18. 18. Colour Highlighting - Website Browsealoud performs the task of phonological processing, decoding the words and allowing the reader to concentrate on assimilating words and meaning. •Text-to-Speech •Highlights words as they are read
  19. 19. Colour Highlighting – PDF Browsealoud will read by word, sentence, paragraph or continually. The speed can also be adjusted. The reader can focus on the task with less danger of distraction. Browsealoud appeals to multi-sensory learning. The user can hear and see the text as they follow it.
  20. 20. Features and Benefits - Pronunciations Feature • W b a te c n d finethes e ificp nunc tio fo s le e m s rs a e pc ro ia ns r ing w rd . o s E.g OU . Benefit • Theo a a n ha full c ntro o r thew y theinfo a n rg nis tio s o l ve a rm tio o thes iss o n. n ite p ke
  21. 21. Features & Benefits – Dictionary, MP3 and Magnification • Assistive Learning – through ‘Talking Dictionary – helping those with English as a second language & Learning and Literacy difficulties • Conversion to MP3 – PDF & HTML text saved to a sound file - saving time & money. Learning on the move can be helpful in sequencing text. The listener can visualise parts of the text when they are in a relaxed environment. • Magnification of text – especially useful for those with mild visual impairments
  22. 22. What can Browsealoud read? • HTML • Accessible Java and Flash • Alt Tags behind pictures • Hyperlinks • http”s” secure sites • Intranets and Extranets • PDF documents • Social Networking – Facebook, Twitter etc
  23. 23. BrowseAloud on global scale
  24. 24. Summary • Browsealoud can work on any URL – Including Social Networking • Zero effort for Webmasters – So long as website has been designed with accessibility in mind. • Free technology to ANY website visitor • Increases Website Access to an Additional 20% of Population • Demonstrates Corporate and Social Responsibility • Increases your Website Interaction with Public • All client side technology • Community of Websites
  25. 25. Thank You Demonstration