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Using ReadSpeaker to Speech-Enable OSU Web Pages

ReadSpeaker Enterprise is a product that speech-enables web pages. If you click the Listen link at the top of this page you can see it in action.

To deploy ReadSpeaker, a web developer includes some JavaScript and standard HTML, including a link, in a web page. When the link is clicked, a small area expands to provide playback controls, and the page is read aloud in a high-quality synthetic voice. Text is highlighted as it is read. The user can either follow along as the page is read or she can download an MP3 of the page contents.

Ohio State University has purchased a license to ReadSpeaker for use on web pages within OSU and its sub-domains. The license period lasts through March 2014.

Where Can I Use ReadSpeaker?

Developers at OSU can implement ReadSpeaker on any HTML web page at OSU so long as:

  • the base URL ends in osu.edu or ohio-state.edu
  • the page is served via HTTP

Our current license does not extend to secure (HTTPS) web pages. The Steering Committee may explore licensing for secure sites.

Benefits and Uses of ReadSpeaker

Though ReadSpeaker can enhance the accessibility of web pages, it is important to stress that ReadSpeaker is not an alternative to coding web pages with accessibility in mind, using standards-based web development practices. ReadSpeaker is not a blindness product. Severely visually impaired users will continue to access your pages using screen readers that are installed on their own computers. ReadSpeaker does not interfere with screen reader performance.

Nevertheless, ReadSpeaker:

  • Helps comprehension for students, staff, faculty, and visitors with any sort of reading disability (e.g., dyslexia).
  • Provides an extra “learning modality” for students with various cognitive disabilities (ADHD, etc.).
  • May help students, staff, faculty, and visitors with mild to moderate vision disabilities.
  • Assists language acquisition for non-native speakers of English.
  • Can be used by all students to review publicly served content or as a general study aid.
  • Helps build overall awareness of disability access and usability.

User Features

ReadSpeaker has features that will enhance the usability of web pages for many users:

  • Under “Settings,” a user can enable or disable the highlighting of text and choose whether ReadSpeaker highlights individual words or only sentences.
  • Under “Settings,” a user can set ReadSpeaker to read very slowly, at a normal speed, or quickly.
  • Select-and-read: If a user selects a portion of text with the mouse, she will get a pop-up Listen button which when clicked will read aloud only the selected text. If she wants, she can then click the download button on the ReadSpeaker control area to download an MP3 of only the portion of text she selected.

Browser Support

Listen link will work in all modern browsers that support Flash and JavaScript. Browsers that do not support Flash, such as iPhone's Safari and some other mobile phone browsers, will not be able to play back pages with the highlighting effect. However, clicking the Listen link in these browsers will display a link to download an MP3 of the page.

Technical Support

As part of our contract with ReadSpeaker, OSU developers are offered email and phone technical support.

  • Email Support: support@readspeaker.com. In your email, include our customer ID number (5204) and the URL of the page you have questions about.
  • Phone Support: +46 18 60 44 41. Note that international charges apply.

ReadSpeaker Pilot