Why Local Government Websites Need Tools Like Text To Speech

Mini TownHall
For local governments, reaching the maximum number of citizens with your local government website is very important. Whether it is for an emergency announcement, or to increase civic involvement, many people count on online information. Unfortunately, there are large groups of people in any community who are unable to read online content, for a wide variety of reasons. Text to speech technology enables local governments to speech-enable their online content, allowing people who either have difficulty reading or don’t read a means to obtain vital information by listening, instead. Here are some of the key reasons that you should consider adding text to speech to your local government web offerings.

Extending the Reach of Your Content

  • For many people, reading can be a difficult or even impossible task. Providing the text to speech option will allow your local government website to reach these people, in a way that is more comfortable and viable for them.
  • Studies estimate that 15 to 20 percent of people around the world have some form of learning disability related to language. For people with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, reading can be a frustrating task. Since many people with dyslexia and other learning disabilities are successful, involved citizens, it follows that they would like to stay up to date on local government news. Text to speech offers an easy way for them to do just that.
  • Around the world, there are over 774 million people who are illiterate. In addition, there are foreign-born people who do have trouble reading the native language of the area in which they live, even if they can speak and understand it. Text to speech allows these people access to the same local government information as everyone else.
  • There are about 285 million people around the world with visual impairments. Even for people who can still see well enough to read, the task can be difficult. Text to speech provides the visually impaired a comfortable means through which to obtain local government information.
  • In addition to people with various forms of disability that inhibit reading, there are many people who don’t have time to read. By enabling your local government website with text to speech technology, you allow these people to listen to your information anywhere, at any time through mobile devices. This is a great option for multitaskers, and people who can only fit in a bit of information gathering while commuting for example.

Streamlining Civic Involvement

  • Along with extending the reach of your content, text to speech also provides some useful tools that apply especially to matters of local government. When citizens are filling out online forms, it can happen that they either skip the directions, or don’t entirely understand them. With text to speech, the citizen can listen and learn as they fill out a form, diminishing the need for confused phone calls to local government.
  • Some citizens might find online reports and related information on government matters too difficult or lengthy to digest. Text to speech provides these people with an easier option, which will increase their knowledge of your townhall, and, in some cases, their involvement in civic matters.
  • Local governments may also have a difficult time getting local online news publications and magazines off the ground. By allowing people to listen to your content, you increase the chances of those publications gaining popularity.

Overall, text to speech offers many promising benefits for your local government website. If you strive to involve your whole community in local government issues, allowing them to listen to pertinent information is a great way to achieve that goal.

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Image credit: Yago Díaz