Adding richness and depth to a visitor’s experience helps any company’s or organization’s online presence. With so many innovations adopted in the last few years, many companies are scrambling to make their website and message stand out from their competition. One way that companies and organizations are making their online presence something different is by adding text to speech to their websites. The user can choose to hear the text instead or in addition of reading it. The speech comes across just like video and audio streams do currently. Speech-enabled websites offer a new opportunity to expand the audience of people who come to your website. If you have quality content to share, you want as many people as possible to have that opportunity. Speech-enabled websites are…
- a good way to connect with people who have learning disabilities that make reading difficult.
- a useful option to extend your website content to those who have basic literacy levels.
- a good bridge of your content for the foreign born who speak your language, but have more problems reading it.
- a great option for people who multitask or who access content via mobile devices.
- an enhancement for the visually impaired.
Most people think of speech-enabled software as something you install on your desktop. It is available in that form. But, technology and demand has driven the need for server-side installations. Today, the most progressive form is speech as a service (SaaS). Instead of worrying about delivering and installing software to a desktop, the website calls the software as a service.
Who is a speech-enabled website for?
There is a common misconception that speech-enabled websites are exclusively for those who have trouble seeing the screen due to being visually impaired. However, they are only one user group amongst others who would benefit from having this option available such as:
- 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.
- Those 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 great way to engage them.
- Those who have literacy problems – 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.
- Those 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.
- Those 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 hear the content instead of reading it allows them to do something else while listening.
- Those who access content on mobile devices – Reading a great deal of content with a small mobile device is not always easy. Having text-to-speech software doing the work is much easier. It allows them to get the information they want without a great deal of scrolling and aggravation.
If you want to expand your website audience, you need to add key enhancements to attract visitors and keep them coming back. Speech-enabled sites have an advantage to this.
Why Should I Speech-Enable My Website?
The reason you should speech-enable your website depends on your target audience and what you want to do. For example, a government agency can use this technology to make information available to everyone in the community, regardless of their level of literacy or disability. A business can use the technology to market to a larger audience such as the user groups described above.
- Accessibility – Your website text content will be more accessible to people who want to get information. It won’t matter whether a person is multi-tasking and wants to listen, or someone is having trouble with the written language. The information will be available to them with the click of a button.
- Distribute information to a wider audience – The beauty of text-to-speech technology is that there are fewer barriers between you and your audience. You can connect with those who have trouble with the written word and those who want to listen instead of reading the text.
- Provide text to speech instantly on your most up to date information – Another benefit is having all of your latest content available for text-to-speech as soon as you post it. You are not recording an audio file of the content. The software as a service is parsing the text and creating an audio stream from it.
This technology works for corporations and non-profits alike. It offers users the ability to get the information in a way that does not require them reading text-heavy information.
When should I consider adding text to speech to my website(s)?
Here are a few reasons for timing when you should add speech-enabling technology:
- Doing a website redesign is the perfect time to add text to speech to your online content. As you unveil your new design, you can also showcase its audio version.
- Starting a marketing campaign gives you a great chance to add the technology. As you gain new visitors, they can experience the audio version of your content. Many companies are overlooking people who have challenges using a standard website. You can capture that audience by giving them an alternative audio access to the information they need.