Text-to-speech technology offers several benefits for content owners and publishers as well as their content consumers. Content consumers can be website visitors, mobile application users, online learners, and more. Text to speech allows content owners to respond to the different needs and desires of each user in terms of how they interact with the content.
Benefits for Content Consumers
While text to speech has benefits for all users, some of the specific groups that see a better user experience are:
- People with learning disabilities – Some people have difficulty reading large amounts of text due to dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Offering them an easier option for experiencing website content is a great way to engage them.
- People who have literacy difficulties – Some people have basic literary levels. They often get frustrated trying to browse the internet because so much of it is in text form. By offering them an option to hear the text instead of reading it, they can get valuable information in a way that is more comfortable for them.
- People who speak the language but do not read it – Having a speech option for the foreign born will open up your audience to this under-served population. Many people who come to a new country learn to speak and understand the native language effectively, but may still have difficulty reading in a second language. Though they may be able to read content with a basic understanding, text to speech technology allows them to take in the information in a way they are more comfortable with, making your content easier to comprehend and retain.
- People who multitask – A busy life often means that people do not have time to do all the reading they would like to do online. Having a chance to listen to the content instead of reading it allows them to do something else at the same time. With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, it also provides an option for content consumption on the go, taking content away from the computer screen and into any environment that’s convenient for the consumer.
- People with visual impairment – Text to speech can be a very useful tool for the mild or moderately visually impaired. Even for people with the visual capability to read, the process can often cause too much strain to be of any use or enjoyment. With text to speech, people with visual impairment can take in all manner of content in comfort instead of strain.
- People who access content on mobile devices – Reading a great deal of content on a small screen is not always easy. Having text-to-speech software doing the work is much easier. It allows people to get the information they want without a great deal of scrolling and aggravation.
- People with different learning styles – Some people are auditory learners, some are visual learners, and some are kinesthetic learners – most learn best through a combination of the three. Universal Design for Learning is a plan for teaching which, through the use of technology and adaptable lesson plans, aims to help the maximum number of learners comprehend and retain information by appealing to all learning styles.
Benefits for Content Owners and Publishers
- Increase the accessibility of your online content for those with visual impairments or reading difficulties.
- Reach a larger percentage of the online population, including those whose native language is different from the language of your website or mobile app.
- Present your online content in a way that increases comprehension.
- Make it easier for people to access your online content on mobile devices.
- Provide seniors with a more comfortable way to access your online content.
- Diminish the digital divide, increase citizen engagement, and strengthen your corporate social responsibility by ensuring that your information is available in both written and audio format.
- Take your content mobile and give your mobile users the ability to listen to your news while on the go.
- Instantly speech-enable your live coverage services so that readers can listen to your updated content while doing something else at the same time.
- Automatically redistribute your online text content in audio format thereby providing another distribution channel for your content.
Benefits for Educational Institutions, Online Course Publishers, Learning Management Platform Providers, etc.
- Present your educational content in a way that increases student comprehension.
- Increase the accessibility of your online courses and textbooks.
- Meet the needs of and reach a larger percentage of your students, such as those with visual impairments or reading difficulties and foreign students.
- Make it easier for students to access course materials on mobile devices.
- Let your users listen to math courses and online math content.
Text-to-speech technology also enables bimodal content presentation where the information is presented in both audio and visual formats at the same time. Specific benefits of bimodal content presentation include:
- Improved word recognition skills and vocabulary
- Improved reading comprehension, fluency, accuracy, and concentration
- Improved information recall and learning/memory enhancement
- Increased motivation and more positive attitude with regard to reading
- Increased reading self-confidence and perceived performance