The World Usability Day is taking place this year on November 11. We are proud to be part of this initiative by providing our online text to speech listen feature for the web site. Making our online text to speech services as usable as possible has always been a strong objective since we first started developing solutions for users to have the choice of listening to web sites. According to Usability.gov’s definition of usability;

Usability measures the quality of a user’s experience when interacting with a product or system-whether a Web site, a software application, mobile technology, or any user-operated device.

Several criteria are listed to measure the degree of usability:

    • Ease of learning – How fast can a user who has never seen the user interface before learn it sufficiently well to accomplish basic tasks?
    • Efficiency of use – Once an experienced user has learned to use the system, how fast can he or she accomplish tasks?
    • Memorability – If a user has used the system before, can he or she remember enough to use it effectively the next time or does the user have to start over again learning everything?
    • Error frequency and severity – How often do users make errors while using the system, how serious are these errors, and how do users recover from these errors?
    • Subjective satisfaction – How much does the user like using the system?

Let’s look at how ReadSpeaker products face up to these different factors:

    • Ease of learning – We give a lot of importance to how quickly end users should understand what a ReadSpeaker product is about. We provide our customers with best practices on how to implement our Listen buttons so that it is immediately clear to the visitor of the web site what ReadSpeaker should deliver when it is activated. No training is needed to use ReadSpeaker which facilitates the learning process.
    • Efficiency of use – Since there is no learning/training involved to use a ReadSpeaker product, the task is accomplished immediately by clicking on our Listen button. Moreover, our products are always designed to be of “click and listen” nature. When you click on the Listen button on any given web site which uses our products, the sound starts in a fraction of time without any additional steps needed to activate the audio.
    • Memorability – Since there is an immediate association between our Listen buttons and the task that they perform, there is no need to memorize the attributes of our products to make them work.
    • Error frequency and severity – Using our services is straightforward. I would instead discuss here the potential problems encountered when a user doesn’t have Flash installed and/or Javascipt enabled when trying to listen to a web page. We always ensure that there is a direct link to a sound file so that all users can have access to the speech-enabled version of the web page.
    • Subjective satisfaction – The living proof here is the millions of hits we get each month from users that rely on our services or enjoy using them. We have thousands of customers globally – from Oman to Singapour, from Brazil to the Faroe Islands, from Switzerland to the US, that use our services recurrently to help their end users better understand what they have to say.