Promoting Inclusiveness with ReadSpeaker Voices

Numerous technological leaps are today turning what only recently seemed a futuristic possibility into a reality. Think self-driving cars and highly-skilled autonomous robots. Or home automation solutions that transform our daily lives. But what about the public sector? What are the impacts on citizens’ lives? How can innovative speech solutions in particular support accessibility in public services? Let’s look at how ReadSpeaker’s humanlike text-to-speech voices are supporting inclusivity and helping enhance accessibility.

Accessibility at the Heart of Inclusive Public Services

Over twenty years ago, ReadSpeaker was founded with a mission to support the improvement of digital accessibility of online content through text-to-speech solutions. Today, we continue to pursue this mission in an age that has seen the proliferation of a wide array of services provided on the web and through mobile devices. Regardless of the type of offering or industry – adding a voice interface enhances most solutions. In fact, voice-enabled services meet the needs of a far broader user base.

So whether it’s online banking, grocery shopping, or public services, neglecting to provide a voice channel means excluding a significant number of users.

To quote Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web:

“The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

ReadSpeaker has many years of experience in providing high-quality text-to-speech solutions and helping public entities and private companies in the improvement of digital accessibility for users with learning and/or speech disabilities, visual impairments, and low-literacy challenges across many devices and platforms. Making content and applications clearly and comprehensively speech-enabled has helped facilitate inclusivity – within private sector businesses,  non-governmental organizations, and public sector bodies.

From Compliance to Enhanced Experiences for Everyone

In fact, governments and healthcare institutions were early adopters of ReadSpeaker solutions as a direct result of their focus on inclusivity.

Our clients know that there are simple ways to ensure a more inclusive website and app user experience, and that doing so benefits the most diverse types of user-profiles – including users with disabilities. For more information, please download our free Web Accessibility Guidelines For Content Owners.

While speech-enabling a website allows people with, for example, visual impairment and reading difficulties to access its contents, all users may benefit from listening to content rather than reading it. It is perfect when multitasking, driving, or when users are screen-fatigued. And these are just a few of the numerous use cases.

It is reasonable to assert that ensuring accessibility is an established moral obligation. According to Article 9 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD): appropriate measures must be taken to guarantee access for persons with disabilities “on an equal basis with others”, not only to buildings and physical services but also to information and communication technologies, including the internet.

What’s more, Directive (EU) 2016/2102 has made it mandatory to provide people with disabilities with more user-friendly access to the websites, mobile apps, and other services provided by public sector organizations.

In parallel, one of the greatest technological leaps is happening right now: the AI revolution. So, how are advances in this domain, including Conversational AI, applied in public services set to improve our lives as citizens? And how is the public sector embracing this technology today? What are the future trends?

Focusing on the Public Sector

“Accenture analysts calculate that AI has the potential to double annual economic growth rates, and boost labor productivity by up to 40%, in developed countries by 2035.

A great deal can be gained in the public sector over the same timeframe, with AI expected to deliver an additional US $939bn in value – an increase of around 25 percent in the productivity and impact returned from taxpayer dollars – across the public sectors of 16 major developed economies.

AI can also transform services to citizens. Regular surveys of trust and confidence in government are rarely comfortable reading, but this can be vastly improved. AI could make government agencies more efficient for less money by taking over the tedious and time-consuming work that machines are already beginning to complete better than humans. Benefits would also include higher citizen satisfaction and increased quality of services on offer.”

An extract from ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, GENUINE IMPACT, a report by Accenture.

In a survey of public sector leaders, Accenture found that 83% of senior public sector leadership is ready to adopt AI-driven solutions. Numerous examples of AI deployment in public sector services are emerging across the globe.

From Compliance to Enhanced Experiences

Stay tuned for the next post in this series. We will discuss examples of solutions that local, regional, and national public bodies can deploy in a cost-effective way. Approaches that enhance resources and improve user experience. Solutions that public services with currently deployed conversational solutions can capitalize on to add voice and benefit citizens even more.

If you’re interested in voice-enabling public services to enhance accessibility and optimize resources, please contact us today. You can find out about how ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech voices can make a difference to your public-facing solutions.